Hoeven to Sec. Kelly: Take Advantage of North Dakota's Unique UAS Operations to Help Secure the Border

WASHINGTON – At a hearing of the Senate Appropriations Committee on Homeland Security this week, Senator John Hoeven stressed the benefits of using Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) for securing the country’s borders to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John Kelly. Hoeven restated his invitation to visit North Dakota, which Kelly accepted last month, to see local efforts to develop UAS technology at Grand Sky and the test site and how this work can support DHS’ mission and recommended that Kelly come to the UAS conference in Grand Forks. 

“Unmanned aircraft hold significant potential for security at our nation’s borders, because it can be flown day or night with the right sensors, like infrared, costs less than other options and can more easily reach remote locations,” Hoeven said. “That’s why I reinforced the need for Secretary Kelly to visit Grand Forks, so he can see the work we are doing at the air base, the test site and Grand Sky. That firsthand knowledge will be important as we work with him to develop CBP’s UAS mission for securing the borders.”

Hoeven has worked since his time as governor to establish North Dakota as a hub of UAS research, development and training. In December, the Northern Plains UAS Test Site received authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to oversee UAS operations that go beyond the line of sight of the operator, which the agency approved at the senator’s request. This authorization gives the state a competitive edge in working with government agencies, such as DHS, to integrate UAS into the national airspace.