A thought provoking article from the US Naval Institute looking at ways small unmanned air systems (sUAS) have been used, or might be used, in support of Coast Guard missions in inland areas.
The Coast Guard apparently includes systems as large as ScanEagle in the sUAS category. The USNI post notes,
“Individual Coast Guard units are currently prohibited from procuring and operating their own sUAS until the Coast Guard can establish a program to provide the appropriate systems and training to operators.”
The discussion here is not about systems as large as ScanEagle, but rather small, off the shelf systems, costing less than $5,000. The costs of these systems is so low, and the potential impact so great, perhaps the Coast Guard should have a program to procure a small number of these systems for units that can make a case for them, as prototypes for future deployment. Ground rules might specify a one year trial period and periodic feedback.
Marines are already starting to deploy these at the squad level. Presumably there must be a contract for them. Maybe they are already on GSA schedule.