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senate Bill S. 2511

Should the Federal Government Have an Inter-Agency Underwater Drone Strategy?

Argument in favor

Drones have many applications for underwater research, and the NOAA should be taking the lead role in coordinating their use and management. It should also be responsible for coordinating cooperation on this technology between the military, public, private, academic, and federal spheres.

David 's Opinion
···
12/10/2018
Having NOAA in charge of this effort makes lots of sense, and this bill seems to move things in a positive direction. What is missing is a requirement that the research NOAA conducts with underwater drones needs to include monitoring and researching those very UMS impacts on the ocean/marine environments they are in.
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Melvin 's Opinion
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12/10/2018
They should also re do the tax bill and pay for the drones. These idiots will come up with all kinds of things to pay for, yet the money they would’ve brought in they gave away. How can any representative with any faith in the constitution continue to vote against the constituents best interest. Vote them out
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Michael 's Opinion
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12/10/2018
At this point let's just make cyborg dolphins and train them to hunt submarines. Nothing matters anymore and the military industrial complex will continue to suck the life from this country.
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Argument opposed

Drones’ impact on marine wildlife is still largely unknown. Without fully understanding these risks, no one — including the U.S. government — should be using drones in the ocean.

Linda's Opinion
···
12/10/2018
Until any adverse facts are known, tred lightly. Drones have the potential to be very useful, so let’s research that before implementing their overall use.
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Naftoli's Opinion
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12/10/2018
More regulations? Government is already too big.
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kbauer8588's Opinion
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12/10/2018
We have enough regulations. It ain't broke, so there's no need to fix it.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house Passed December 10th, 2018
    Passed by Voice Vote
      house Committees
      Water, Oceans, and Wildlife
      Committee on Armed Services
      Committee on Natural Resources
      Committee on Science, Space, and Technology
  • The senate Passed August 23rd, 2018
    Passed by Voice Vote
      senate Committees
      Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
    IntroducedMarch 7th, 2018

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What is Senate Bill S. 2511?

This bill — the Commercial Engagement Through Ocean Technology Act of 2018 (CENOTE) Act of 2018 — would generally codify existing practices concerning the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s acquisition and use of unmanned maritime systems (UMS), also known as drones.

The bill would require the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere to carry out a program to coordinate the NOAA’s assessment and acquisition of UMS. It’d also require that the NOAA: 1) regularly assess publicly and commercially available UMS; 2) make the data it collects using UMS publicly available; 3) centralize its acquisition of UMS; and 4) coordinate its efforts with the U.S. Navy.

To facilitate its coordination with the Navy, the NOAA would be required to convene a coordinating committee comprising of representatives from the Navy, NOAA’s Offices of Atmospheric Research (OAR), NOAA’s Office of Marine and Aviation Operations (OMAO), NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration, NOAA’s Office of the Integrated Ocean Observing System, and other NOAA offices involved with UMS usage. The coordinating committee would be responsible for:

  • Ensuring NOAA is informed and aligned with the Navy’s strategic, research, and operational priorities;

  • Making Naval UMS testing and training facilities available to NOAA;

  • Mutual provisions for best practices for UMS operations and training centers as well as UMS testing, research, and acquisitions;

  • The consideration of shared UMS or provision of decommissioned UMS; and

  • Collaboration and knowledge-sharing on topics relevant to UMS (e.g. oceanic mapping, bathymetry, and ocean exploration).

The bill would also grant the Coordinating Committee and the Navy the authority to partner with over federal agencies, private industries, and academic institutions interested in the research, development, workforce-training, commercialization, and acquisition of UMS.

Within a year of this bill’s passage and every four years thereafter, NOAA would be required to submit a report to Congress detailing its current UMS inventory, data collected by UMS, and the resulting benefits.

Impact

Ocean research; UMS; drones; NOAA; U.S. Navy; UMS research; UMS commercialization; climate research; oceanic mapping; ocean exploration; and the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 2511

$5.00 Million
The CBO estimates that implementing this bill would cost $5 million over the 2019-2023 period to cover additional NOAA employees to research the purpose of new unmanned vehicles.

More Information

In-DepthSen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) introduced this bill to advance the NOAA’s use of unmanned maritime systems, encourage private sector research and development, and ensure that maritime data is readily available and reliable:

“Unmanned systems are allowing us to explore the ocean in unprecedented ways. Expanding NOAA’s mission to include the use of this unobtrusive technology would only help to advance our knowledge of what is happening above and below the surface of the water. This legislation also enables the agency to tap into our universities and the private sector to get the brightest minds working together.”

Rep. Steve Palazzo (R-MS), a sponsor of the House version of this bill, adds that by giving the NOAA authority to expand its use of UMS, this bill allows the NOAA to tap into public-private partnerships:

“By enabling NOAA to further advance its use of unmanned maritime systems, we will be able to tap into a wealth of resources between public-private partnerships. This bill creates a framework that brings together defense, non-defense, and private sector partners in order to collect a wide-range of ocean data. I believe uniting these industries to expand unmanned maritime systems usage will fuel [the economy]."

The Consortium for Ocean Leadership supports this bill. Its President and CEO, Retired Rear Admiral Jon White, calls public-private partnerships that advance ocean science beneficial for the entire U.S.:

“Thanks to Senator Wicker and Senator Schatz for introducing this bipartisan bill that addresses key gaps in the establishment of public-private partnerships among defense and non-defense agencies, industry, and academia. Partnerships like these advance the ocean science and technology enterprise, benefitting the entire nation. CENOTE’s bipartisan development is a testament to the widespread prioritization of investing limited national resources efficiently and effectively in the comprehensive application of new maritime technologies. CENOTE is a win for defense, commerce, fisheries, environmental monitoring and research, and disaster planning and recovery, and I encourage Congress to act on it.”

Mike Clancy, Required Technical Director of Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography, explains that understanding the ocean is needed for long-range climate science:

“We are tied into the ocean. We need the oceans to be healthy. You need to understand the oceans so it's important to be able to understand that science. It's important to be able to predict those kinds of variations in the ocean so we can predict long-range what our climate weather will be like and this legislation will advance the technology, it will help us understand all those things.”

This bill passed the Senate with an amendment on a unanimous vote with the support of one cosponsor.


Of NoteUMS’ applications include maintaining and improving national security, coastal and oceanic environmental monitoring, and resource acquisition. They also have applications for oil and energy exploration, infrastructure surveys, search and recovery missions, and military uses. Eventually, as they become more sophisticated, UMSes could potentially gain the ability to work both underwater and in the air to take samples from both air and sea.

Underwater drones offer some significant advantages over remove underwater vehicles (ROVs), particularly in the realm of mobility. Since they, unlike ROVs, don’t have wires, drones are more versatile, able to explore tighter spaces, and more readily able to follow divers.

Some researchers have expressed concern about whether drones disturb wildlife. On land, there are documented cases of drones disturbing animals and causing them to behave in ways they normally wouldn’t — a recent case being that of a brown bear cub and its mother, who were spooked by a drone filming them, causing the mother and cub to take a dangerous mountain passage that the mother wouldn’t have otherwise traversed. There’s less information, however, on how drones underwater affect marine wildlife.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / Matus Duda)

AKA

CENOTE Act of 2018

Official Title

A bill to require the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere to carry out a program on coordinating the assessment and acquisition by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of unmanned maritime systems, to make available to the public data collected by the Administration using such systems, and for other purposes.

    Having NOAA in charge of this effort makes lots of sense, and this bill seems to move things in a positive direction. What is missing is a requirement that the research NOAA conducts with underwater drones needs to include monitoring and researching those very UMS impacts on the ocean/marine environments they are in.
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    Not until our border wall is complete.
    Like (17)
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    They should also re do the tax bill and pay for the drones. These idiots will come up with all kinds of things to pay for, yet the money they would’ve brought in they gave away. How can any representative with any faith in the constitution continue to vote against the constituents best interest. Vote them out
    Like (10)
    Follow
    Share
    Until any adverse facts are known, tred lightly. Drones have the potential to be very useful, so let’s research that before implementing their overall use.
    Like (9)
    Follow
    Share
    At this point let's just make cyborg dolphins and train them to hunt submarines. Nothing matters anymore and the military industrial complex will continue to suck the life from this country.
    Like (8)
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    Share
    More regulations? Government is already too big.
    Like (7)
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    NOAA USE OF DRONES FOR UNDERWATER RESEARCH I’m in full agreement that Drones have many applications for underwater research, and the NOAA should be taking the lead role in coordinating their use and management. It should also be responsible for coordinating cooperation on this technology between the military, public, private, academic, and federal spheres. SneakyPete....... 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻. 12*9*18.....
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    Why..what's the point?
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    We have enough regulations. It ain't broke, so there's no need to fix it.
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    My concern is the commercial applications we don't need to be bringing up any more oil from the oceans and polluting them further. If this were being used for purely scientific reasons I would be for it. But using it for military purposes and to locate more oil deposits is a big No-No for me. We need to be moving to renewable energy sources and we need to be doing it fast.
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    Yes. Only if the most expensive things are changed. Take the money for that stupid wall that will only waste all that money and won’t work anyway. Then redo the tax plan to have the 10,000 or so rich pay their fair share. Only idiots would think giving s tax break to the rich would help the poor.
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    No new legislation while trump’s under investigation unless it’s essential. I’m not thinking drones are essential right at this moment.
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    Vote no! We do not need Government involved in this. We don’t need to spend more money on this. Fully fund the wall!!!
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    Just no
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    We need nearly every feature of this bill, but only if it includes provision for research into the effects on the ocean and undersea wildlife. This would be a good reason for involvement of the scientists of the EPA, had the EPA not been gutted.
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    Sounds like a waste of money.
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    I would definitely want to see how drones are influencing wildlife and seek to minimize danger and minimize harm to ocean creatures. I think there should be regulations and congressional oversight so I guess this bill will help to formulate that.
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    We need to further science in understanding the damage we're doing to the oceans, and this could help.
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    I would not expect the federal government to take an expansive role in regulating unmanned underwater vessels. In truth, I do not understand why the federal government needs to exert control of unmanned underwater vehicles, with the exception of areas adjacent to sensitive assets, including military installations, ports and utility facilities. I understand that there are federal agencies, research institutions, engineering entities and resources extraction activities that already deploy and operate unmanned underwater vehicles to support various activities essential for the collection of data required to do their work. As I see it, let’s focus the federal government efforts on other more pressing items that are legitimately federal responsibility. Thank you.
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    NOAA will do well with this and screw the wall bull shit that’s is a waist of money
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