Counterterrorism

Topics: Unmanned aerial vehicle, United States Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Pages: 7 (2527 words) Published: May 12, 2010
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|Unmanned Ariel Vehicles and the Future of Homeland Security | | |

|Neil Shelto Student ID 3142417 | |4/19/2009 |

Unmanned Ariel Vehicles and the Future of Homeland Security

Ever since the devastating attacks on September 11, 2001, the United States as been determined to maintain and protect its borders from the threat of terrorist organizations using them to gain entrance into the United States. The problem is that the United States is an extremely large country and has numerous miles of borders with Canada, Mexico, and bodies of water, so what could be used to help federal and local law enforcement agencies protect these borders? Unmanned Ariel Vehicles (UAV) could be that answer. UAVs have already seen huge successes on the War on Terror in both the deserts of Iraq and the mountainous regions of Afghanistan. Can they see the same kind of success in the protection of the United States’ borders? UAVs potential use can be measured by the successes that similar aircraft have had in Iraq and Afghanistan, the technical specifications, and the limited use UAVs have already had on the borders. With the economy in a flux, UAVs could provide a cheaper and more efficient way to watch over our vast borders by eliminating or limiting the need for expensive manned aircraft. For the United States to protect American citizens against terrorist infiltration by illegally crossing our borders, the United States Government has tasked the Department of Homeland Defense (DHS) to defeat all illegal immigration into the U.S. Whether it is by land, sea, or air, this is an extremely daunting task for the any government agency to undertake. The problem with this mission is that the DHS has limited manpower, even with 170,000 employees. The DHS must watch, patrol and protect 730 million people that travel on commercial aircraft, and the more than 700 million pieces of baggage that are being screened for explosives each year. That's not even mentioning the 11.2 million trucks and 2.2 million rail cars that cross into the US each year, or the 7,500 foreign flagships that make 51,000 calls in U.S. ports annually. Pretty tough to take care of that, and provide adequate patrol of the combined 6,000 miles of border between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, or the additional thousands of miles up and down the East and West Coasts (Military.com).

For the purpose of this research paper, the focus will be on the security and protection of the borders; land, sea, and air, of the United States. Border Security has long been recognized as a priority by the Congress. The northern border separating the mainland United States and Canada is 4,121 miles long and consists of 430 official and unofficial ports of entry. The expansive nature and the possibility of entry through unpopulated regions make the border difficult to patrol. In July 2003, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Robert Bonner announced that an additional 375 border patrol agents would be reassigned to the northern border. This increase brought the number of border patrol agents to one thousand. Commissioner Bonner also noted that CBP’s border agents had, “the front line responsibility for detecting terrorists and terrorist weapons.” (Bolkcom) The southern border separating the United States and Mexico is 2,062 miles long and consists of thirty ports of entry and “innumerable unofficial crossings.” Unlike the northern border, however, over 10,000 border patrol agents are typically stationed on the southern border. Despite this larger presence, illegal border crossings and significant drug smuggling activities occur frequently...
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