This is the current information and interim guidance on air traffic policies and prescribes procedures for the planning, coordination, and services involving the operation of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in the NAS.
It is in effect from March 28th 2011 until March 27th 2012.
Notwithstanding all the discussion of NPRMs, ARCs and Congess, this is The Official FAA policy for (s)UAS operations in the USA until further notice.
Complete document available HERE
"Types and Authority
Current FAA policy for UAS operations is that no person may operate a UAS in the NAS without specific authority.
(a) FAA policy restricts COAs to public operations as defined in title 14, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 1, Definitions & Abbreviations.
(b) For UAS operating as public aircraft, the authority is the COA.
(a) Civil applicants must apply for a Special Airworthiness Certificate–Experimental Category.
(b) For UAS operating as civil aircraft, the authority is special airworthiness certificates.
(a) Hobbyists should follow the guidance contained in Advisory Circular (AC) 91-57.(b) For model aircraft, the authority is AC 91-57."