Drug War on the Southwest Border: What Role 'High Tech'?   [open pdf - 3MB]

"This study focuses on the potential uses of new technologies on the Southwest border to detect narcotics traffickers and illegal aliens. Specifically, the authors of the assessment--all students at the National War College--were asked by the Immigration and Naturalization Service to evaluate the possible role of remotely piloted vehicles and unmanned ground vehicles equipped with modern sensors in the effort to control the U.S.-Mexican border in the 218-mile Tucson sector patrolled by the United States Border Patrol. In carrying out this assessment, the authors traveled to Huntsville, Alabama, to discuss current sensor technology with the U.S. military's Joint Project Office charged with developing sensors and appropriate ground and air platforms. They also visited the El Paso Intelligence Center run by the Department of Justice at Fort Bliss. While in El Paso, they also talked with officials at Operation Alliance, tasked with coordinating anti-drug efforts along the Southwest border, and with Joint Task Force Six (JTF-6), a military liaison unit at Fort Bliss whose function is to coordinate military assistance to anti-narcotics units along the Southwest border. One member of the team traveled to Mexico City for talks with Embassy officials and the resident Immigration and Naturalization Service Agent in Charge to discuss Mexican reactions to enhanced sensor deployment. The study team also traveled twice during a six week period to Tucson, Arizona, for talks with Drug Enforcement officials and the Border Patrol."

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