For nearly a decade, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection has touted its drone program as an “effective technology to further enhance operational capabilities,” but according to the agency’s 2014 end of fiscal year report, the results are anything but impressive, fueling new calls for the program to be grounded.
The program has a fleet of 9 Predator drones and the Department of Homeland Security is planning to spend another $443 million for more aircraft to help secure the Mexican border. But a Jan. 6 report from the agency’s inspector general is advising against the expansion.
“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. “Securing our borders is a crucial mission for CBP and DHS. CBP’s drone program has so far fallen far short of being an asset to that effort.”
The IG report, the second audit of the program since 2012, found there is no reliable method of measuring the program’s performance and determined that its impact in stemming illegal immigration has been minimal.