The Office of Air and Marine is the world's largest aviation and maritime law enforcement organization. Its mission is to protect the American people and nation's critical infrastructure through the coordinated use of integrated air and marine forces to detect, interdict and prevent acts of terrorism and the unlawful movement of people, illegal drugs and other contraband toward or across the borders of the United States.
In 2006, U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced the integration of its marine and air assets, creating OAM; however, the U.S. has a long history of defending its borders through air and marine interdiction.
OAM supports the U.S. Border Patrol, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and other federal, state and local enforcement agencies. OAM also works in collaboration with the government of mexico in addressing border security issues.
Contrary to its popular nickname, the CBP Predator B is not a drone, which operates under pre-programmed set of instructions. OAM's Predator B UAS are remotely piloted aircraft, operated in real-time, by CBP's skilled Federal Aviation Administration-certified law enforcement personnel from state of the art ground control stations.
UAVs/UAS are capable of flying longer hours continuously, can fly farther, and because they are unmanned, are not limited by pilot fatigue. The Predator B and the maritime variant Guardian, allow CBP to conduct missions in areas that are difficult to access or otherwise considered too high-risk for manned aircraft or personnel on the ground.
- Altitude: Up to 50,000 feet
- Endurance: Up to 20 operational hours
- Airspeed: Over 220 knots (253.141 MPH)
- External Payload: 3,000 lbs (1,361 kg)
OAM provides investigative air and marine support to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as well as other federal, state, local and international law enforcement agencies.
OAM normally turns over all evidence required for prosecution to the supported agency's case agent.
OAM aircraft and vessels act as law enforcement force multipliers during day or night fugitive searches by quickly searching wide areas, using night vision or radar technology if required.
OAM's uniform establishes professional officer presence to the general public, to other law enforcement officers and to criminals and potential criminals. It also enhances workforce esprit de corps and professionalism. OAM uniforms also protect our officers while operating in aircraft and vessels.
Like the U.S. Border Patrol, OAM is an operational component of CBP. CBP works with (not for) the U.S. Coast Guard, both as components of the Department of Homeland Security.
In general, OAM's law enforcement authorities extend to the U.S. customs waters and land/riverine border environments, while the U.S. Coast Guard's law enforcement authorities extend from U.S. waterways and marinas outward into international waters. Both operate marine and air assets, however. Unlike OAM, the U.S. Coast Guard can use its Title 10 authority to operate as a member of the armed services under military chain of command.
OAM routinely provides air and marine support to other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. OAM works with the United States military in joint international anti-smuggling operations and in support of National Special Security Events. In the Northern and Southern Border environments, OAM maintains tactical control.
OAM volunteer personnel may participate in CBP border support team temporary duty assignments in the Middle East.
National Special Security Events may include the Olympics, Presidential inaugurations, State of the Union addresses, and the Super Bowl. OAM supports federal, state, and local partners to maximize all agencies' law enforcement capabilities.