Friday, November 30, 2012



Note: interesting, but without resources on the ground?

CBP Plans To Buy 14 More Predators
By: Mickey McCarter
11/20/2012 ( 8:00am)

Buried in a contract award notice, US Customs and Border Protection
(CBP) signaled on Nov. 1 its intent to purchase up to 14 additional
Predator unmanned aerial systems (UAS) to be used to patrol US
borders and respond to disasters.

"The requirements associated with this [justification] are for the
procurement of up to 14 MQ-9 AUS, associated equipment, and
operational and maintenance support service," read the supporting
materials of a contract award to General Atomics Aeronautical Systems
Inc., San Diego, Calif.

The total estimated value of the UAS contract is $443 million over
five years.

The details of the contract were underscored Monday in a blog for
Security Debrief by David Olive, a consultant at Catalyst Partners,
Washington, DC. Sources confirmed the contract with Homeland Security

General Atomics was silent on the contract award as of Monday, but
the company intends to release a statement sometime after the
Thanksgiving holiday, sources told Homeland Security Today.

Olive panned the purchase of the 14 Predators as wasteful in a time
of fiscal uncertainty and tight budgets.

"So, congratulations to CBP," he wrote sarcastically. "While the rest
of the DHS mission will be subject to budget cuts amid the
sequestration debate, and seemingly without concern for those
personnel who will be laid off, CBP is telling the rest of us we can
be comfortable knowing that giant drones will be patrolling the skies
above the US borders for up to 20 hours at a time at the mere cost of
$3,500 per hour. Cheap at any price!"

As recently as October, Retired US Air Force Maj. Gen. Michael
Kostelnik, chief of CBP Office of Air and Marine, said the CBP UAS
program was on hold. In that instance, Kostelnik spoke at the IDGA
Border Expo in El Paso, Texas.

CBP spelled out its plans to ultimately buy 24 UAS vehicles in a
conference in Washington, DC, on May 22. The purchase of 14 Predators
in addition to the 10 it already owns would achieve that goal. CBP
plans to provide other agencies at the Department of Homeland
Security, such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency, with
access to the UAS systems to survey disaster events within three
hours from anywhere in the country.

At the May conference, Douglas Koupash, CBP OAM executive director of
mission support predicted crews, initial sensor packages and hardware
for the Predators "will be in good shape" by the end of this year.

Egypt Confiscates Warheads Smuggled From Libya
By: Maggie Michael, Associated Press
11/21/2012 ( 9:38am)

CAIRO (AP) — Egyptian authorities confiscated trucks carrying
explosive warheads and a variety of small-arms ammunition smuggled
from Libya, security officials said Wednesday.

A flood of weapons from its western neighbor has added to Egypt's
security concerns as police have yet to fully return to their duties
since last year's uprising. Smuggled weapons often fall into the
hands of Islamist militants in the Sinai Peninsula, or pass via
underground tunnels to the Gaza Strip, the site of fierce fighting
over the past week between Hamas militants and Israeli forces.

The Egyptian officials said authorities seized the pick-up trucks,
carrying 108 warheads for Soviet-designed Grad rockets, near Marsa
Matrouh, 270 miles (430 kilometers) northwest of Cairo on the
Mediterranean coast. Suspected smugglers had fled the scene.

Officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't
authorized to brief reporters.

Also on Wednesday in Egypt's troubled northern Sinai region, troops
from a multinational observer force fired on protesters demonstrating
outside their base against the Israeli offensive in Gaza. Egyptian
security officials said that one person was killed and another
injured. The 12-nation observer force is part of the peace treaty
signed by Egypt and Israel in 1979. American troops make up the
largest contingent of the 1,650-strong force.

Libya's revolution last year unleashed a flood of small arms and
heavy weapons, including shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles,
into circulation through the vast Sahara desert of North Africa.
Military experts say weapons that cross Libya's porous borders with
neighboring Egypt and Sudan could be falling into the hands of
Islamic militants.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad militants in Gaza have stockpiled Grad
rockets and fired them at Israeli territory over the years, including
in the latest round of fighting.

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