Homeland Security reviews US Border Protection’s UAS use

By UAS Magazine Staff | October 15, 2014

On behalf of the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the Department of Homeland Security completed a review on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) program to ensure its compliance with privacy and civil liberty laws and standards.

The review, which was filed in early June, contains information on CBP’s collecting, retaining, storing and disseminating images procedures to make sure they comply with aforementioned laws and standards.

The GAO analyzed the review on CBP polices and UAS flight data from fiscal year 2011 through April 2014—covering the period when all UAS centers became operational. CBP reported that UAS operations are limited geographically via certificates of authorization (COA) but work with the Federal Aviation Administration to create a new COA or by requesting an addendum to an existing COA to operate in airspace outside the existing COA.

The GAO analysis of CBP UAS flight hour data found that “over 80 percent of the UAS flight hours were associated with border and coastal areas of the U.S.”