WASHINGTON — The Association for Uncrewed Vehicle Systems International said it created a program to evaluate the security of commercial drones, modeled on a similar process developed by the Defense Innovation Unit for the military.

AUVSI, a non-profit focused on advancing uncrewed systems and robotics, unveiled the Green UAS program Feb. 23. The effort is focused on rapidly vetting commercial drones against cybersecurity standards required by the Fiscal 2020 National Defense Authorization Act. The U.S. government is increasingly focused on the security of commercial drone technology and on curtailing the possibility that data collected by these systems could be shared with U.S. adversaries.

“AUVSI’s Green UAS is a solution to existing cybersecurity and supply chain verification challenges and will serve the UAS community, end-users, and federal partners,” Michael Robbins, chief advocacy officer at AUVSI, said in a statement. “This falls squarely in line with our mission to help drive a safe and secure UAS market demand and provide a more competitive marketplace for all.”

Green UAS builds on a DIU program called Blue UAS, which established a streamlined process for the Department of Defense to certify U.S.-made drones for military use. Without Blue UAS, begun in 2020, military organizations looking to buy commercially available uncrewed aircraft would need to work with an existing DoD program or get a waiver.

Blue UAS has since become the government standard for vetting drones against rigorous federal cybersecurity and supply chain requirements. That success, however, has generated a level of demand from beyond DoD that DIU doesn’t have the funding to address.

Green UAS is meant to help meet that demand.

“Green UAS is the next evolution of drone security certification for customers who are increasingly relying on commercial, off-the-shelf drones to conduct diverse operations,” AUVSI said in a statement. “These users include federal government agencies, local law enforcement, first responders and state departments of transportation; and industrial enterprise users such as energy and utilities, telecoms, manufacturing, food and agriculture, and logistics and mapping/surveying companies.”

While Green UAS-vetted drones will meet the same cybersecurity requirements as Blue UAS systems, companies that want to work with DoD will need to receive additional authorities that aren’t required by other federal agencies.

David Michelson, DIU’s Blue UAS program manager, said the organization will work with AUVSI to ensure that companies with a Green UAS certification can “convert” to Blue UAS as needed.

Courtney Albon is C4ISRNET’s space and emerging technology reporter. She has covered the U.S. military since 2012, with a focus on the Air Force and Space Force. She has reported on some of the Defense Department’s most significant acquisition, budget and policy challenges.

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