WASHINGTON, D.C.— Within the next few days, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will begin the deployment of military-owned equipment for protection of the homeland in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. The equipment is being evaluated in a key operational environment to assess its usefulness to CBP. The equipment could have significant benefits to the protection of the United States when deployed in a homeland security situation.
In August, 2012, CBP evaluated this same equipment in the same general area. This year's test will build on what was learned then and provide an opportunity to further understand the capability.
The equipment, being deployed in three locations, will consist of large balloon-like devices called "aerostats." They contain sensor equipment that allows operators to view activity along the border that could be a threat to the public and the nation. The sensor equipment is similar to what the Border Patrol already uses but allows for a greater viewing area.
The aerostats and their associated equipment will be deployed in Peñitas, on the Starr/Hidalgo county line and in Brooks County near Falfurrias.
In addition to the aerostats, CBP has acquired a large amount of equipment from the Department of Defense for use by Border Patrol and Office of Field Operations personnel. The significant advantages of using excess military equipment include economic benefits and, in partnership with DoD, quality training in the use and maintenance of the equipment.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.