Skip to main content

Justice, Fairness, Inclusion, and Performance.

FAA Seal

Federal Aviation Administration; Assessment of Compliance with and Effectiveness of Registration for Small Unmanned Aircraft

The advent of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) presents important economic and social opportunities for the United States. A major contributor to the proliferation of UAS users in recent years is technological advancement in the ability to produce small unmanned aircraft (sUAS), those UAS weighing less than 55 pounds. Manufacturers can produce sUAS at lower costs, making them more affordable for consumers than ever. As the number of sUAS increases over time, so do reports, including several highly publicized incidents, of potentially unsafe UAS encounters with manned aircraft and people on the ground. Because UAS operate in the national airspace system (NAS), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has primary oversight responsibility for safe operations.

Section 371 of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act of 2018 directs the Secretary of Transportation to enter into an agreement with the National Academy of Public Administration (the Academy) to conduct an assessment of the compliance with and effectiveness of the FAA’s registration program for small unmanned aircraft. The assessment will specifically focus on the interim final rule on “Registration and Marking Requirements for Small Unmanned Aircraft” issued on December 16, 2015 (80 Fed. Reg. 78593).

Click the button below to view the View Report.

View Report

Project Description

As directed in the Reauthorization Act, the Academy will support the FAA with detailed examination of compliance with and the effectiveness of the interim final rule. This analysis, among other aspects, will include:

  • Whether the types and quality of information currently collected by the FAA under the registration program for small unmanned aircraft are well suited for monitoring performance.
  • The regulatory environment and organizational aspects of FAA’s program, and metrics to measure compliance with the interim final rule.
  • Examining how noncompliance is determined, including reporting processes to the FAA from state and local law enforcement.


Pursuant to the Federal Advisory Committee Act, Title 5, Appendix 2, § 15, NAPA is required to provide public notice of the names and brief biographies of appointed panel members, and provide a reasonable opportunity for the public to comment on such appointments. If you have any questions or comments regarding our prospective study panels, please contact Brenna Isman, director of Academy Studies, at (202) 204-3625 or

Panel Bios:

Janet Weiss (Chair), Mary C. Bromage Collegiate Professor of Business and Professor of Public Policy, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan. Former Visiting Scholar, Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Affairs, George Washington University; Visiting Professor, McCourt School of Public Policy, Georgetown University; Former positions with University of Michigan: Vice Provost for Academic Affairs; Dean, Rackham Graduate School. Former Fellow, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford, CA; Former positions with School of Organization and Management and Institution for Social and Policy Studies, Yale University: Assistant Professor; Associate Professor.

Anthony Scardino, Managing Principal, Grant Thornton. Former Deputy Under Secretary (Acting) and Chief Financial Officer, United States Patent and Trademark Office, U.S. Department of Commerce. Former Chief Financial Officer, United States Patent and Trademark Office, U.S. Department of Commerce; Associate Chief Financial Officer for Budget, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Cornelius Kerwin, Former President, American University. Former Provost, American University. Former positions with School of Public Affairs, American University: Dean; Acting Dean; Professor: Assistant Professor; Associate Professor.

Brodi Fontenot, CEO, Fontenot Strategic Consulting LLC. Former Assistant Secretary for Management and Chief Financial Officer, U.S. Department of Treasury; Assistant Secretary for Administration and Senior Sustainability Officer, U.S. Department of Transportation; Deputy Assistant Secretary for Management and Budget, U.S. Department of Transportation; Budget Analyst for Transportation, Veterans’ Affairs, and Commerce and Housing Credit, United States Senate, Committee on the Budget; Analyst/Senior Analyst, U.S. Government Accountability Office.

Jamie Winders, Chair and O'Hanley Faculty Scholar and Professor, Department of Geography, The Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and Director of the Autonomous Systems Policy Institute, Syracuse University