The U.S. Government's policy around UAS is ever changing.

UAS Policy Guidance


DIU wants to help commercial companies understand the policies that impact them. The following are links and information designed to help companies seeking to provide UAS to the DoD.

Fiscal Year 2020 NDAA Sec 848

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2020 was passed on 20 December, 2019 and Section 848 remains in effect. The bill can be found in its entirety at


These definitions are extracted with permission from the Procedures for the Operation or Procurement of Unmanned Aircraft Systems to Implement Section 848 of the NDAA for Fiscal Year 2020, published 2 September, 2021.

Covered UAS: Any UAS and any related equipment that:

  1. Are manufactured in a covered foreign country or by an entity domiciled in a covered foreign country; 

  2. Contain critical components, as defined in this document, manufactured in a covered foreign country or by an entity domiciled in a covered foreign country; 

  3. Use a ground control system or operating software developed in a covered foreign country or by an entity domiciled in a covered foreign country; or 

  4. Use network connectivity or data storage located in or administered by an entity domiciled in a covered foreign country

The term "covered foreign country" means the People's Republic of China.

The term "place of manufacture" has the definition provided in FAR 52.225-18, as the "place where an end product is assembled out of components, or otherwise made or processed from raw materials into the finished product that is to be provided to the Government.” If a product is disassembled and reassembled, the place of reassembly is not the place of manufacture. 

The following are included in the definition of "critical components":

  1. Flight controller: The combination of embedded software on computing hardware, that issues commands to actuators based on the difference between the desired and actual position of a UAS. 

  2. Radio: A device that enables communication by packaging, transmitting, and/or receiving modulated signals into or from electromagnetic waves in the radio frequency (RF) spectrum. 

  3. Data transmission device: Electronic hardware that actively transfers electronic information from one digital system to another. 

  4. Camera: A device that converts focused light onto a photosensitive sensor for the purpose of recording or transmitting visual images in the form of photographs, film, or video signals. 

  5. Gimbal: A mechanism, typically consisting of electromechanical actuators and a mechanical frame , which rotates about one or more axes to stabilize and properly orient cameras or other sensors. 

  6. Ground control system: An electronic mechanism that enables a human operator to transmit data in order to influence the actions of an aerial vehicle remotely. 

  7. Operating software: A program that directs a computer's basic functions, such as scheduling tasks, executing applications, and controlling peripherals. 

  8. Network connectivity: The hardware and software required for communication between computers over the internet or other distributed and separately administered systems, for example, through the use of routers, switches, and gateways. 

  9. Data storage: The collective methods and technologies that capture and retain digital information on electromagnetic, optical, or silicon-based storage media. 


If you have questions about Blue UAS and some of the policies impacting commercial drone use in the USG and DoD, please reach out to the DIU Blue UAS team at