Soon, the US might not be the only country filling the sky with drones. The Pentagon has listed 66 countries to which it would be comfortable selling drones, military officials tell Reuters. But the sales haven't begun yet, because Congress and the State Department still have to sign off. Indeed, the list has existed since last year, the official said, but it's been held up by efforts to streamline the US' weapons export rules.
It's a problem that's eating at companies like Northrop Grumman, which is eager for a bigger market for its Global Hawk surveillance drones. "I wish we were further along in getting that done," Northrop's CEO says. "It's slow, it's painful, but we're doing the right things to move in that direction." Right now the State and Commerce departments each keep export control lists. The Obama administration wants to consolidate them and put one agency in charge, but is facing Republican opposition.