New facility merges unmanned and manned aircraft
GRAND FORKS, ND – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine Operations (AMO), National Air Security Operations Center - Grand Forks (NASOC-GF) officially opened its new facility on Grand Forks Air Force Base (GFAFB) today.
In April 2017, the U.S. Air Force (USAF) asked NASOC-GF to relocate its operational facility, due to the expanding USAF Global Hawk mission and the adjacency to their existing Global Hawk mission. To facilitate this request Congress provided AMO $8,000,000 to fund the relocation effort on GFAFB. The relocation was completed with an expedited schedule, as was required, in order to support the USAF critical mission requirements.
“We have a lot to celebrate here today,” said Jonathan Miller, Executive Director, National Air and Security Operations. “This is one of very few MQ9 training programs outside the DOD and of those, the only federal law enforcement program. We have scores of new pilots and sensor operators who come through this center every year.”
The newly renovated facility has also enabled AMO to consolidate its unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and manned aircraft operations under one organizational structure and facility on Grand Forks Air Force Base. Prior to this consolidation, all manned CBP aircraft were located at Grand Forks International Airport.
“I could not ask for better integration and collaboration across the board,” said William “Hunter” Robinson, Director Air and Marine Operations. “I’m honored to lead an incredible team of consummate law enforcement professionals, as well as technical experts within our mission space.”
National Air Security Operations-Grand Forks operates fixed and rotary-wing aircraft and unmanned aircraft systems, conducts initial and recurrent UAS training, and enforcement operations with manned and unmanned aircraft. Additionally, NASOC-GF aids in disaster relief and emergency response efforts of its federal, state, local and tribal partners.