Drones are Big Business

by Project Censored

The annual global drone market is expected to double from $5.9 billion to nearly $11.3 billion by 2020, with the U.S. accounting for three quarters of the research, development and procurement markets. The Obama’s administration’s enthusiasm for drone attacks and surveillance has helped consolidate the Pentagon’s commitment to drone warfare overseas.  Lobbyists on behalf of drone manufacturers have also successfully mobilized congress to deploy surveillance drones domestically, especially along the US borders.

The House of Representatives has its own bipartisan drone caucus, with over fifty bipartisan members.  Formed in 2009 by Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-CA), the Unmanned Systems Caucus aims to “educate members of Congress and the public on the strategic, tactical, and scientific value of unmanned systems; actively support further development and acquisition of more systems, and to more effectively engage the civilian aviation community on unmanned system use and safety.”

Among the supporters is Candice Miller, a Republican who represents a Michigan border district. In her new role as chair of the House of Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security, Miller is pressuring the Federal Aviation Administration to increase drone access to national airspace. She states, “ I like to remind folks we actually have two borders…And both of them need to be secured.”

Local law enforcement agencies are also planning to use drones for surveillance. Terry Burke, executive director of the ACLU of Texas, reacted when told that Houston-area sheriffs had just purchased a drone, “I gotta tell you, it sort of looks like boys and their toys. We’re giving up our privacy, we’re letting the government have way too much power.”

Title: How the Drone Warfare Industry Took Over Our Congress

Author:  Tom Barry

Publication: Alternet

Date of Publication: 30 November 2011

URL:  http://www.alternet.org/story/153278/how_the_drone_warfare_industry_took_over_our_congress

 

Student Researcher: Dane Steffy, Sonoma State University

Faculty Evaluators:  Peter Phillips, Sonoma State University & Andy Lee Roth, Project Censored