Past Features

February 26, 2015

CNN Takes Aim at Border Patrol Drone
(A Little Late)

Predator drone costs $18 million while type of drone used by ABP costs about $4,000.
CNN -- February 25, 2015  
Drones cost $28,000 for one arrest'  
   Sierra Vista, Arizona -- They are sleek, mostly silent converted weapons of war: Drones used by the Border Patrol to scan the skies in the empty deserts of the Southwest to spot illegal immigrants and then, if things work out, have agents arrest them. That's the idea, and the agents who use them say the drones give them a vantage point they never had before.
    CNN was inside the control room in Fort Huachuca, Arizona, during a recent mission, when a control team inside a virtual cockpit operated the drones.
   Flying at 18,000 feet, the drones view the landscape below, lock onto potential suspects crossing the Arizona desert, and agents on the ground move into make the arrests. But it's outrageously expensive: $28,000 for a single arrest.
    That figure comes from doing the math, derived from the most recent Inspector General report on the use of drones for the Department of Homeland Security.
    The report found that operating nine drones in 2013 cost taxpayers $62.5 million. Those same nine drones are credited with apprehending just 2,272 suspects, or less than 2% of the total arrests by Customs and Border Protection in the area the drones operate.
    In its first eight years of operations, the CBT drone program has cost $360 million.

Glenn Spencer -- American Border Patrol    
ABP Was First -- and Still Best?
Twelve years ago American Border Patrol pioneered the use of drones for border security. -- One week after our Border Hawk was on Lester Holt Live (May 15, 2003). -- DHS Secretary Ridge said: "We are very seriously looking at UAV for both border application and land and sea.” -- Working with a small Arizona company, our idea was to have small UAVs that flew only when ground sensors sent an alarm. -- Now, twelve years later, the DHS drone concept has been discredited, while our system for using drones has grown into full bloom. -- For the $360 million wasted on the Predator drone, our system could have secured the entire Arizona-Mexico border --- forever.