Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula continues to pose an immediate security threat to Yemen and to the United States, despite the central government's recovery of territory in the south previously under AQAP control, a State Department official told a Nov. 19 House panel.
Mexican panga boats operated by smugglers once were primarily a problem along the southern California coast, but now they're coming as far north as San Francisco, a Coast Guard admiral told a Nov. 19 House panel.
The issues surrounding drones strikes are likely to become more daunting as the technology and others like it evolve, a United Nations report says. The report (.pdf), dated Sept. 13, is from the UN's special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.
Government surveillance drones don't present novel threats to privacy, said military and border officials at the US/Canada Border Conference in September. Air Force Col. Greg Semmel, the installation commander at the Hancock Field Air National Guard Base in Syracuse, N.Y., noted that the Air Force and Air National Guard have used optical sensors to track activity on the ground for decades.
As a tool against counterinsurgency, air strikes by unmanned aerial vehicles have limited effectiveness--but there's reason to think that drone strikes "might achieve their objectives in a more narrowly circumscribed counterterrorism" campaign, concludes a paper published by the Strategic Studies Institute.
Auditors at the Justice Department say the FBI's assumption that there's no difference when it comes to privacy between manned and unmanned aerial surveillance doesn't take into account the technological capabilities of UAVs.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency authorized on Aug. 26 the use of federal fire management assistance grants for California to fight the fire, making FEMA money available to reimburse up to 75 percent of its costs.
The Coast Guard is testing and evaluating oil spill detection and recovery technology in the Arctic Ocean as part of its second summer deployment to the Arctic. The Coast Guard and Canadian counterparts conducted their first Arctic offshore oil spill drill in a bay near the Bering Strait July 17 and 18, with the Canadian light icebreaker CGC Sir Wilfrid Laurier deploying a skimming vessel.
The Government Accountability Office is again urging the Defense Department to adopt an open system approach to weapons system development even while acknowledging that the Pentagon would have to undertake extra work to do so. When it comes specifically to UAV development, auditors say that of the DoD's 10 largest UAV systems, only three, all developed by the Navy Department, took an open system approach at the start of development.
The Federal Aviation Administration has approved for restricted commercial use two small unmanned aerial vehicles, a move it says in a July 26 statement will lead to the first commercial UAV operations later this summer.