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Expensive UAVs Generate Buzz but Few Results

I’ve been writing about the use of Predator UAVs and their exorbitant cost for some time. It would seem there are many far better (and far cheaper) ways to patrol U.S. borders and other areas from above.

The Center for Investigative Reporting has taken note and recently cited one of my posts in their article, “At U.S. border, expensive drones generate lots of buzz, few results.” This is an important piece and well-worth reading.

An aerial drone, zooming somewhere out of sight high above the cooling scrubland, first spotted the group of nearly two dozen migrants.

Snaking through the Sonoran Desert on a warm, moonless night last month, the would-be immigrants traversed the rugged foothills southwest of Tucson, a few miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border.

It had been a relatively quiet shift in that area for U.S. Border Patrol agents, who paused to chat in their passing green-and-white SUVs as dusk crept closer. But just after 10 p.m. agents perked up, their radios crackling with activity.

A fixed-wing Cessna took over from the Predator B unmanned plane and from overhead the pilot helped direct agents toward the migrants, who wove around ocotillo and brush.

A helicopter swooped in, its spotlight beaming over the hillside and rotors slicing the desert solitude as agents dropped down a ridge to chase the scattering group.

All told, a dozen men and women in olive uniforms converged. They rounded up eight of the migrants, walked them toward their gathered trucks and lined them up in a shallow drainage ditch along a washboard dirt road. A few of the migrants asked about the “camera in the sky” that had caught them.

Read the full article on CIR.

David Olive focuses his blogging primarily on the “business of homeland security” — the interaction of the private sector with the Department of Homeland Security and other national security agencies. Read More