CBP Drones not Meeting Expectations–DHS IG

FierceHomelandSecurity is reporting that the Department Inspector General (IG) has found that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency’s eight year effort to use Unmanned Air Systems (UAS) commonly called drones, has failed to live up to expectations and should not be expanded finding that money proposed for expansion of the program “could be put to better use by investing in alternatives such as manned aircraft and ground surveillance.”

“Although CBP anticipated increased apprehensions of illegal border crossers, a reduction in border surveillance costs, and improvement in the U.S. Border Patrol’s efficiency, we found little or no evidence that CBP met those program expectations,” the report said.

The Coast Guard has been cooperating with CBP in evaluating use of land based UAS. According to the IG, CBP has failed to establish evaluation criteria, the drones are flying only 22% of anticipated flight hours, the cost per flight hour has been significantly underestimated, and the program has not demonstrated any improvement in capability.

5 thoughts on “CBP Drones not Meeting Expectations–DHS IG

  1. Pretty surprising to hear that an investment in manned aircraft is preferred over that of unmanned aircraft…kind of contrary to popular belief, you’d think the drones would be better at this kind of thing…although I never was a fan of the drones anyway.

    • The CBP fixed wing fleet does include some aircraft that are much cheaper to operate than those in the CG fleet such as the C-12. https://chuckhillscgblog.net/2013/03/24/uavmaritime-patrol-aircraft-alternative/
      UAVs have tended to crash more frequently than manned aircraft, and until the “sense and avoid” issues have been resolved their operations in US airspace will be limited.
      It appears operations over ocean areas are less restricted, but right now no one wants to see a headline about a family of four on vacation in their Cessna being wiped out in a mid-air with a USCG drone.

      • Why doesn’t the Coast Guard have any of those? They would seem like a good value for USCG. It looks like all the other branches of the military operate some variant of the C-12, so the logistics shouldn’t be too hard to come by or too expensive. Training should be manageable too for the same reason.

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