Congressman Pete Olson

Representing the 22nd District of Texas

Olson Urges Quick Approval of Border Request for Unmanned Aerial Surveillance Vehicles

May 2, 2010
Press Release

Washington, DC – Rep. Pete Olson today sent the following letter to the Federal Aviation Administration requesting expedited approval of the Customs and Border Patrol request for the use of Unmanned Aerial Surveillance Vehicles (UAV’s) at the Texas-Mexico border:


The Honorable Randy Babbitt


Federal Aviation Administration

800 Independence Ave, SW

Washington, DC 20591


Dear Administrator Babbitt:


I am writing today to urge expediency in the FAA’s review of the Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) request to fly Unmanned Aerial Surveillance Vehicles (UAVs) on the Texas – Mexico border. 


On March 29, 2010, the CBP applied for a Certificate of Authorization (COA) with the FAA.  This COA, if approved, would allow the CBP to fly UAVs on the border to detect illegal activities – activities that have greatly increased in recent months.  This includes the smuggling of drugs and weapons, and the trafficking of human beings.  The surveillance UAVs would be able to detect illegal activity at border and transmit images in real time to the CBP for analysis. 


It is my belief that the increased use of UAVs has provided our nation with a modern and highly innovative option for protecting our National Security.  My district is home to the Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base, host of the 147th Reconnaissance Wing of the Texas Air National Guard.  It surprises many to learn that from the base in Houston, Texas, there are UAV surveillance planes flying missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.   These skills and operations must be used to ensure safety and security on both sides of our border.


This technology and innovation would provide much needed assistance to a situation on the border that grows worse with each passing day.  I respectfully ask that you give high priority to the CBP’s Certificate of Authorization application so we may work together to confront this difficult issue facing our nation. 



                                   Very Respectfully,

                                   Pete Olson

                                   Member of Congress


 Contact - Melissa Kelly 202-225-5951