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Secrecy News – Army's use of unmanned aerial systems within the United States

Secrecy News, February 14, 2012: “Legal restrictions on the use of unmanned aircraft systems in domestic operations are numerous,” the manual states. The question arises particularly in the context of Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA), refering to military assistance to government agencies in disaster response and other domestic emergencies. “Use of DOD intelligence capabilities for DSCA missions–such as incident awareness and assessment, damage assessment, and search and rescue–requires prior Secretary of Defense approval, together with approval of both the mission and use of the exact DOD intelligence community capabilities. Certain missions require not only approval of the Secretary of Defense, but also coordination, certification, and possibly, prior approval by the Attorney General of the United States…[…from 2003 to 2010, small, unmanned aircraft systems flew approximately 250,000 hours]”

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