Sunday, May 16, 2010

Homeland Security: Drones to help track US border in summer

An unarmed surveillance drone will soon be monitoring the borderland for criminals and illegal activity. The Federal Aviation Administration announced Friday that it authorized a drone to fly back and forth between Fort Huachuca, an Army installation near Sierra Vista, Ariz., and Big Bend National Park beginning June 1, said Vincent Perez, spokesman for U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas. It is the first of two drones the Department of Homeland Security wants to assign to the Texas border region. The drone is certified to fly over the area starting June 1, but its missions might not begin until after that, pending operator training, Perez said. It will provide an extra layer of protection for the U.S., he said. According to a 2008 Department of Homeland Security report, the department has been testing the use of drones for border surveillance since June 2004. The Department of Homeland Security inspector general noted that based on limited tests, the drones were less effective than manned aircraft in assisting with the apprehension of undocumented immigrants. In most cases where the drones were used to help law enforcement officers, the officers had already detected the undocumented immigrants by other means, the report said...more

No comments: