Oct 27, 2011

Border Politics: Homeland Security adding 3 drone aircraft despite lack of pilots

Ah, the insanity of pork barrel politics!

latimes.com: "The Homeland Security Department is adding three surveillance drone aircraft to a domestic fleet chiefly used to patrol the border with Mexico even though officials acknowledge they don't have enough pilots to operate the seven Predators they already possess. The new drones are being purchased after lobbying by members of the so-called drone caucus in Congress, many from districts in Southern California, a major hub of the unmanned aircraft industry.

"We didn't ask for them," said a Homeland Security official who spoke on condition of anonymity to speak frankly. Officials said the Customs and Border Protection Office of Air and Marine, which operates the drones, has enough pilots to fly the current fleet only five days a week. Congress approved $32 million to buy the new drones last August. But the authorization did not include money to train or hire new pilots or crews, or to buy spare parts, officials said." read more

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