Stefanik, Panetta, Ernst, Gallagher Demand Oversight of U.S. Components in Communist Chinese Drones

Washington, D.C.  Today, Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), and Chairman of the Select Committee on China Mike Gallagher (R-WI) sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin demanding oversight into the DoD’s role in allowing U.S. companies to export critical components to Communist Chinese drone manufacturer DJI.

“As a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, I will hold the Biden Administration accountable for their failure to stop U.S. technology from being exported to DJI, a Communist Chinese drone company,” said Congresswoman Elise Stefanik. “DJI supplies our adversaries around the world including Iranian-backed Hamas and Russia with drones to carry out vicious attacks against our allies. These export licenses should not have been approved and American technology should not be advancing DJI drones. It is time to end Communist China’s weaponization of American ingenuity.”

“As conflicts around the world expand, Congress must ensure that American technology does not fall into the hands of untrustworthy companies, like Da Jiang Innovations, to be used against our allies,” said Congressman Panetta. “It is our responsibility, as Members of Congress, to provide proper oversight over the transfer of this technology and if need be, take corrective action.  We cannot allow American innovation and ingenuity to be used to undermine, threaten, or attack the United States or our allies.”  

“As we work to keep China out of our skies, we must prevent U.S. parts from equipping CCP spyware,” Senator Ernst said. “The Chinese Communist Party will stop at nothing to infiltrate our sovereign nation, and American-made technology should not be allowed to enhance the capabilities of our adversaries to undermine our own national security, commit brutal humanitarian oppression, or assist Iran-backed Hamas or Russia. Action must be taken to counter the full risk Chinese-controlled drones pose to U.S. security interests.”

“From facilitating terrorist attacks in the Middle East to intelligence threats to the American homeland, drones made by the Chinese-owned company DJI pose an unacceptable risk to our national security,” said Chairman Gallagher. “Despite these clear threats, which landed DJI drones on multiple government blacklists, DJI has leveraged bureaucratic get-out-of-jail-free cards to rip off American technology while undermining our national security. This needs to stop.”

In 2020, DJI was placed on the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security’s Entity List for its facilitation of widespread human rights abuses in Communist China. The Entity List is intended to prohibit American companies from exporting technology that will enable U.S. adversaries to advance their ability to undermine U.S. national security. However, America’s adversaries are using DJI drones that contain American cutting-edge technology to harm U.S. national security interests and the security of U.S. partners.

The letter also requests that DoD’s aviation, electronics, and unmanned aerial vehicle technical experts and engineers who reviewed these transfer requests to DJI meet with Members of Congress or their staff to explain their national security review processes and their final recommendations.

The lawmakers were joined by Reps. Wittman (R-VA), Guest (R-MS), Issa (R-CA), Yakym (R-IN), Gooden (R-TX), Moylan (R-Guam), Jackson (R-TX), Mills (R-FL) and Senators Blackburn (R-TN), Rubio (R-FL), and Young (R-IN).