Review Shows Surveillance Planes and Blimps Get Light Use, Citing Staff and Equipment Shortages
By Evan Perez and Devlin Barrett, Wall Street Journal
April 2, 2013
WASHINGTON—Tightened border security is at the center of immigration proposals in Congress, and for many lawmakers that means greater use of drones and other high-tech monitoring equipment.
But tryouts of drones and blimps along U.S. borders suggest the aircraft are more expensive and complex to operate than the government expected.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection, part of the Department of Homeland Security, HOMS +92.31% used its drones just over one-third of the time they were available, owing to shortages of qualified staff, flight limitations imposed by regulators and other issues, according to a May 2012 report by Homeland Security's inspector general. The border agency has used unmanned planes for nearly a decade. [...}
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