Skip to comments.Arizona delegation seeks drones for border patrol
Posted on 05/08/2003 8:28:40 AM PDT by madfly
Republican members of Arizona's congressional delegation have put their letter-writing hats on the past few days.
U.S. Sen. John McCain and U.S. Reps. Jim Kolbe, John Shadegg, Jeff Flake, J.D. Hayworth, Rick Renzi and Trent Franks penned a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge asking for unmanned aerial vehicles to be used to help patrol the Mexican border.
The May 7 letter asks Ridge to develop a UAV patrol program in southern Arizona. The congressional members endorse Fort Huachuca as a good location for unmanned drone operations, training and research.
"Southern Arizona provides an excellent location for researching aerial threats, examining the use of technologies and addressing potential safety and privacy concerns," the Republican members said in the correspondence.
Several members of the state delegation have been pushing hard for more federal resources along the border. U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl recently met with Attorney General John Ashcroft regarding border matters. Kyl, McCain, Shadegg and others would also like to see more technology used to help stem the tide of illegal border crossings.
On Tuesday, Franks wrote his own letter touting Luke Air Force Base as the training home for the new Joint Strike Fighter. Franks is urging House Armed Services chairman Duncan Hunter, R-Calif. to get on the Luke bandwagon.
The $200 billion JSF is the next generation jet fighter and Franks believes Luke and the Goldwater Range are well suited for training operations.
Franks' House district includes Luke. The Lockheed Martin-made JSF will be deployed in 2008.
The Pentagon embarks on another round of base closings in 2005. Attracting UAV or Joint Strike Fighter operations would help Arizona facilities stay off the closure lists.
Fort Huachuca is the Army's premiere site for testing and training UAVs. We see them in the skies here all the time already - the facilities are already in place. Given the local expertise in UAVs among former military and current UAV contractors, the county is putting together a private UAV facility where non-military contracts and operations can occur.
So, this is the perfect place to start this, headquarter this, etc.
This was backed up by Col. Ben Anderson's recent testimony.
March 10, 2003
In southeastern Arizona, where the main concentration of illegal alien and drug traffic exists, (upwards of 1.5 million illegal aliens per year successfully cross into the United States through Cochise County alone), the stationing structure already exists for rapid deployment. Ft. Huachuca provides a perfect location for border operations of any needed military units.
Military engineer units from the active and reserve components can rapidly emplace requisite fencing in areas where needed. Units (active and reserve) can be rotated to maintain the operational tempo of other Department of Defense missions. The task is simple and requires very limited training, if any at all. Standard "rules of engagement" suffice.
Concurrently, INS and Border Patrol forces can take on their mandated task of searching out illegal aliens within the county and repatriating them to their country of origin.
Finally, the military would be genuinely welcomed by the local citizenry who are frustrated at the unsatisfactory state and national response to the problem.
It is a wining situation for the military, for the local citizenry, the state and the nation.
May 8, 2003
Navy/industry UAV demonstration kicks off annual conference
The second demonstration of multiple unmanned aerial vehicle systems is set to be held July 14 at NAVAIR's Webster Field Annex.
The event is sponsored by the Program Executive Office for Strike Weapons and Unmanned Aviation, in conjunction with the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. It serves as a kick-off to AUVSI's annual conference, Unmanned Systems 2003, set to begin the next day at the Baltimore Convention Center.
The day-long demonstration highlights UAV technology and capabilities. It offers a unique opportunity to display and demonstrate full-scale UAV systems and hardware. A 17-feet by 23-feet outdoor video screen will allow the attendees to see the same imagery as the UAV operators while the vehicle is in flight. Invited speakers include Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Sen. John Warner (D-Va.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
There will be 16 slots available for flying systems. To date, expressions of interest have come from domestic and foreign UAV manufacturers including: Schiebel CamCopter; Boeing ScanEagle; Geneva Dakota; TRW Hunter; SAIC Vigilante; Northrop Grumman Fire Scout; Systems Research & Development Corporation Archangel; Marine Corps Warfighting Lab Dragon Eye; Micro Autonomous Systems HeliSpy UAV; Raytheon Tactical Control Station; D-Star Engineering Micro Engine; Innocon Minifalcon; Aeronautics Aerostar; Yamaha RMAX; Mmist Snowgoose; and Aerosonde. Selections of flying systems will be made in the next few weeks, following a review process by the range safety committee.
Over the years, UAVs have gained the attention of military planners and other potential civil users in such fields as transportation, agriculture, meteorology, and homeland defense.
"Just as unmanned
From everything I've read, El Paso does not have a "bigger crossing problem". It is the border enforcement there and in other metro areas that has funneled almost everything to Cochise and Santa Cruz counties in Arizona. If you have data I've not seen, I'd love to see it.
The total end strength of the National Guard, from all fifty states, is approximately 350,000.
National Guard are one weekend a month and two weeks per summer. Divide the end strength by 26 to get an idea of how many bodies would be available for patrolling the borders at any one time, unless you permanently federalize the Guard and keep them on active duty forever.
So, with approximately 13,500 bodies available, we want to man the posts 24/7. To man a single post in three shifts requires five people (the other two are spares to allow for illness, support requirements, et cetera). Therefore, you have 2,700 personnel on post at any one time.
These personnel must secure 6,000 miles of border (4,000 or so along the Canadian border, and the balance forming the US-Mexican border).
This works out to one soldier patrolling about 2.25 miles of border, or a two-man patrol covering 4.5 miles.
That's not even a "thin screen." That's anorexic.
Bottom line: we'd need a significantly larger Border Patrol no matter what, because the UAVs can't do the most important part of the job--actually apprehending the illegals.
If it's worth studying anywhere, it's not exactly pork, is it? There is a problem with Illegals in all four States along the border with Mexico. If the Arizona delegation gets the jump on Texas in studying and possibly deploying drones, then perhaps in the future the Texas delegation will be more responsible to the legitmate needs their constituents have of the Federal government.
While I oppose militarization of the borders, walls, etc., it seems to me that surveillance drones can be adapted to the legitimate and non-military functions of the Border Patrol in ways that do not smack of a police state. Good for Arizona, if they pull this off.
Col Ben Anderson (Ret) and LTC James Behnke (Ret) (among others) have stated how this could be done with a lot less bodies than you imagine would be needed.
Look up "McNamara Line" and "Vietnam" and get back to me.
Combine soldiers with physical barriers (a force multiplier)
Soldiers or LEOs?
This is a nontrivial difference.
As for the "barriers," if a 37-year-old out-of-shape guy can get past the barrier, it ain't much of a barrier.
with high tech sensors, observation equipment, and UAVs (more force multipliers),
Of course, you then have to provide security guards for the high-tech sensors, because they're worth stealing.
Force multipliers are fine--to a point.
Beyond that point, they don't multiply the force nearly as much as you think. They do not make it possible for one person to be in three places at the same time.
Col Ben Anderson (Ret), LTC James Behnke (Ret), and other advocates of a low-personnel density, hig-tech interdiction approach generally do not consider that the illegal immigrants can--and will--adapt their tactics to counter high-tech countermeasures, much as the Viet Cong did with the McNamara Line.
The borders can be secured--but it's going to require a LOT of bodies to do so, and that will cost a lot of money, which will require a lot of political will. Even with sensors and UAVs, you're still going to need a very visible deterrent--and that means lots of boots on the ground.
Once someone has decided to cross the border illegally, we're playing catchup ball. A sizable force is needed to deter the potential crosser from making that decision.
Now, just wait and see what happens when his sensor network comes online.
Oh, and I noticed today that ABP is now offering streaming video of their border observation and UAV missions instead of the slideshow-type stuff they have been using. Go see their website.
Are you planning on fighting a shooting war with Mexico, or keeping people from illegally crossing?
The two are very different tasks. If you simply want to kill illegal aliens, it would work--but I guarantee you that such a plan would not survive being shown in action on ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, and Fox News over morning breakfast.
You're sounding like one of the airpower evangelists who said that we could bomb Germany flat in WW2 and not have to send troops into Europe. Keep up.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.