GSA drops most drones from multiple award schedules

To crack down on security risks from unmanned aerial systems, the General Services Administration said its multiple awards schedules will only offer small drones approved by the Defense Innovation Unit’s Blue sUAS Program.

To crack down on security risks from unmanned aerial systems, the General Services Administration on Jan. 12 said it would remove nearly all drones from its multiple award schedule contracts. 

Going forward, the MAS program will only offer small UAS approved by the Defense Innovation Unit’s Blue sUAS Program, which provides secure small drones to the U.S. government from Altavian, Parrot, Skydio, Teal and Vantage Robotics. All other drones will be removed from GSA contracts.

The drones pose a “unique set of challenges and security risks,” according to GSA, including surveillance, data theft and possible disruption to federal information networks. 

Unsecured drones can become potential cyber targets for collecting information, delivering malicious content or facilitating a kinetic attack, according to the Defense Department’s recently released Counter-Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Strategy.

Additionally, since many small drones are made in China, buying them may violate existing procurement law, including the Trade Agreements Act and Section 889 of the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, GSA said on its Interact blog. It did leave open the possibility that affected contractors may be able to  add their drones back to MAS contracts if GSA can identify and deploy an appropriate risk mitigation strategy.

Small, affordable drones have been used by federal, state and local governments for environmental monitoring, bridge inspections, search and rescue, weather prediction and public safety.

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