February 3, 2016
Obama Grounding Fly-Boys
Should We Care?
Breitbart --- February 2, 2016
Frustration Over Administration Plan to Halve Aerial Border Security Support
Despite a renewed surge of Central American migrants and concerns about an increase in Cubans seeking asylum at the U.S. - Mexico border, the Obama administration is reducing aerial surveillance along the border.
According to Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) and Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott the Department of Homeland Security has requested just 3,850 hours of aerial border security support for Operation Phalanx from the Department of Defense --- half the level of years past.
“Given the recent surge of migrants from Central America and Cuba along the southern border, we believe DHS should request more surveillance and security resources, not fewer. Moreover, Texas requested additional aerial observation resources in a September 30, 2015, letter that went unanswered by your department,” the Democrat and Republican wrote in a letter to DHS Sec. Jeh Johnson Monday.
“The fact that DHS now appears to be taking the opposite approach is unsettling,” the pair added.
In recent months the already elevated level of migration from Central America has increased and as the U.S. has moved toward more normalized relations with Cuba there has been a surge of Cubans seeking asylum fearing the special immigration privileges the U.S. has granted Cuban refugees since the 1960s will soon end.
“Any decrease in aerial observation is not only imprudent, but contradicts the very mission of border security enforcement,” Cuellar and Abbott wrote.
They further pressed DHS for more information on how the reductions in aerial support will impact the border.
“In order to ensure we are doing everything possible to effectively secure the border, we request immediate information on the metrics used to determine that a 50 percent reduction in aerial resources would be sufficient to support this important border security operation,” they wrote.
They further requested “detailed plans on how the cuts will impact staffing, resource allocation, and operation levels in the three support sectors (Laredo, Rio Grande Valley and Tucson). If these decreases continue, what resources will DHS utilize to backfill any gaps this reduction presents?”
UPDATE: In an e-mail to Breitbart News provided after publication DHS spokesman S.Y. Lee said DHS would be responding to Abbott and Cuellar directly and stressed the department's commitment to border security.
Lee explained that while the Department of Defense has provided support along the border for that past ten years --- first under Operation Jump Start from June 2006 to July 2008 then under Operation Phalanx from July 2010 to today ---- DHS has made improvements “in how we approach border security” and this year decided to reduce the Department of Defense's support role.
“Instead, for 2016, DHS requested, and DoD agreed to provide, support along the Southwest border that will include 3,850 hours of persistent aerial detection, situational awareness and monitoring capability. This year and going forward, as part of our broader DHS force management and requirements processes, DHS will assess its yearly capability needs to accomplish our border security objectives and when necessary, request from DoD the support necessary to augment our own capabilities,” Lee said in a statement.
Glenn Spencer -- American Patrol Report
Here we go again. Texas complains that aerial reconnaissance is being cut in half and the feds say they are increasing “situational awareness”. After fourteen years flying along the border I understand why aerial platforms such as the Predator are almost useless.
“Notwithstanding the significant investment, we see no evidence that the drones contribute to a more secure border, and there is no reason to invest additional taxpayer funds at this time,” said DHS Inspector General John Roth. (2015).
The problem is that just flying around hoping to spot something is a waste of fuel. Pilots (including drone pilots) need a target to fly to.
The solution lies in detection of all border crossers. This is how it could be done.
See this and this .