Border Security: Additional Actions Needed to Strengthen Collection of Unmanned Aerial Systems and Aerostats Data, Report to Congressional Requesters   [open pdf - 5MB]

"As the lead federal agency charged with securing U.S. borders, the Department of Homeland Security's(DHS) CBP [Customs and Border Protection] has employed a variety of technologies and assets to assist with its border security efforts. In support of its mission, CBP operates a fleet of remotely piloted Predator B UAS [unmanned aerial systems] and uses aerostats, including tactical aerostats and TARS [Tethered Aerostat Radar System]. GAO [Government Accountability Office] was asked to review CBP's use of UAS and aerostats for border security. This report addresses the following questions: (1) How does CBP use UAS and aerostats for border security activities, and to what extent has CBP developed and documented procedures for UAS coordination? and (2) To what extent has CBP taken actions to assess the effectiveness of its UAS and aerostats for border security activities? GAO reviewed CBP documents; analyzed Predator B UAS, tactical aerostat, and TARS data on use and effectiveness from fiscal years 2013 through 2016; interviewed field and headquarters officials; and conducted site visits to observe CBP's use of UAS and aerostats along U.S. borders. GAO is making five recommendations, including that CBP document coordination procedures for Predator B operations in all operating locations, update guidance and implement training for collection of Predator B mission data, and update Border Patrol's data collection practices for aerostat asset assists. CBP concurred and identified planned actions to address the recommendations."

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Government Accountability Office: http://www.gao.gov/
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