Statement: Rep. Cuellar Responds to First UAV Flight Over West Texas
Remotely-Piloted Aircraft Makes First Flight Over West Texas
Jun 2, 2010 -
Today, Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Border, Maritime and Global Counterterrorism, made the following statement regarding the first unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) flight over West Texas on Tuesday, June 1, 2010, by Customs and Border Protection Office of Air and Marine. Today, the Department of Homeland Security confirmed the UAV flight occurred over a portion of West Texas Tuesday.
"On Tuesday, Customs and Border Protection took one more critical step to secure the nation’s southern border. This first UAV flight over West Texas marks the beginning of a critically important new means for providing homeland security in Texas. By putting eyes in the sky along the Rio Grande, we will gather real-time intelligence on the ground to augment the good work of federal, state and local law enforcement on the border. I applaud CBP’s initiative to further develop the UAV program in Texas and I look forward to FAA’s certification of flight for the remainder of the Texas-Mexico border this summer. In the meantime, I will continue to work with my Texas congressional colleagues to see this program through," said Congressman Henry Cuellar.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved, this May, CBP UAV flights from Arizona to Big Bend, Texas. Another flight approval is still pending before the FAA to enable UAV flights along the remainder of the Texas-Mexico border, in addition to the state’s coastal waters. FAA is expected to make a decision on that certification by late August.
The first Texas-bound CBP UAV flew Tuesday from Arizona to New Mexico to the El Paso/Big Bend region of the state. Currently, there are five CBP Predator B UAVs deployed to the nation’s northern and southern borders. Three are stationed at the CBP Operations Center in Sierra Vista, Arizona, and two are located at the CBP Operations Center in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
Since January, Congressman Cuellar has been working to create a UAV mission operations center in Corpus Christi, Texas. If approved by the FAA, the UAV stationed at this facility would have the ability to fly along the Rio Grande between El Paso and Brownsville, in addition to the Texas Gulf Coast.
To learn more about CBP’s UAV program, please visit: http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/border_security/air_marine/uas_program/uasoverview.xml
Congressman Henry Cuellar is a member of the U.S. House Homeland Security, Agriculture, and Government Oversight & Reform Committees in the 111th Congress. Accessibility to constituents, education, health care, economic development, and national security are his priorities. Congressman Cuellar is also a Senior Whip and member of the Blue Dog Coalition.