Drones/Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) have long operated on a limited basis in the national airspace primarily supporting public uses like military and border-security operations; but more recently they have expanded into the commercial arena to fulfil a myriad of uses. The increase of buying and usage of drones/UAS devices, referred to herein as “drones,” poses a unique set of challenges and security risks such as: surveillance, theft, disruption and/or use of selective federal information or federal information networks. Also, since China is the dominant manufacturer of drones, there is an increased risk of non-compliance with existing procurement law, including the Trade Agreements Act (TAA) and Section 889 of the NDAA for FY19.
GSA has recently determined that, due to the significant risk associated with offering drones under GSA’s Multiple Award Schedules (MAS) program, it will remove all drones as defined by 49 USC Ch. 448 from MAS contracts, except those drones approved by the Department of Defense (DoD) Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) through its Blue sUAS Program. DIU’s Blue sUAS Program, is a program that provides secure, trusted, small drone capability to the U.S. government and matures the market for American-made small drones.
All drones other than those currently approved through DIU’s Blue sUAS Program will be removed from MAS contracts. Additionally, a solicitation refresh in the coming months will clarify that no drones, other than Blue sUAS approved drones, will be awarded to MAS contracts at this time. A 30 day Advance Notification will be posted to GSA Interact prior to the solicitation refresh.
GSA values its partnership with its contractors and is committed to exploring how drones can be securely offered under MAS. Should GSA identify and implement an appropriate risk mitigation strategy, affected contractors may have the opportunity to add drones back to MAS contracts.