Border Patrol UAV Base Opens

The US Customs and Border Protection Unmanned Aircraft Operations Center of North Dakota officially opened Feb. 16 at Grand Forks Air Force Base. From this center, CBP, a component of the Department of Homeland Security, is now operating Predator B unmanned aerial vehicles to patrol the 3,995 miles of border with Canada in support of anti-terrorism as well as homeland security and disaster relief efforts. “The expansion of the unmanned aircraft program to the northern border represents a significant step forward in our border security efforts,” said CBP Air and Marine Assistant Commissioner Michael Kostelnik. The first of CBP’s Predator Bs destined for Grand Forks arrived in December. “A country that cannot control its borders cannot control its future,” said Sen. Kent Conrad (D) at the opening ceremony. He added, “With the emergence of Grand Forks as a hub for UAVs patrolling the northern border and the good work of the men and women at the Grand Forks Air Branch, our country is safer today.” CBP Predator Bs have been flying along the US-Mexico border since 2005.