Both of the below headlines attribute the closing of airspace to the FAA. If you have occasion to visit the chatrooms and websites, the invective directed at the aviation safety organization is intense and misdirected. YES, the FAA issues the order designating airspace as prohibited, but NO, the decision as to when, where and how much is NOT made by the FAA.
The FAA does issue notices which preclude flight through specific areas above ground which is protected. P-56, which was recently amended, covers critical portions of Washington, DC. While the statutory (49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40103, 40113, 40120) and regulatory (14 CFR part 73) authorities are the FAA’s, but the exercise of the power to establish level of threat and what is needed for an adequate aerial umbrella is held by others. The antecedent of P-56 dates back to an Executive Order in the 1930s. Its basis and citation are as follows E.O. 10854, 24 FR 9565, 3 CFR, 1959-1963 Comp., p. 389.
As Part 73 makes clear, the request may only come from “agency, organization, or military command whose activity within a restricted area necessitated the area being so designated.” (14 CFR §73.15(a)(1))
The vitriol spewing from some of drone nation at the FAA is misdirected. The No Fly Zones were designated by DHS, DOE or DOD. What should be protected is not within the competence of the FAA.