Military Predator Drones to be Re-purposed in American Cities

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Amid President Obama’s announcement that U.S. troops in Iraq will be returning home by the 2011 Christmas Holidays, military leaders are scrambling to figure out what to do with all the extra gear including weapons systems like predator surveillance drones.

One idea is to re-purpose them for domestic policing and border control activity.

Meanwhile, the U.S. is working on finding new homes for some of its Predator drones.

At least four of the unmanned aircraft were shipped to Incirlik Air Base in southern Turkey in October. The decision came before Turkish leaders asked Washington to sell it drones for use against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Other drones may wind up in Texas, where some local officials want to bolster anti-drug and anti-illegal immigration campaigns along the border with Mexico.

The Send Equipment for National Defense Act would require that 10% of certain equipment returned from Iraq be made available to state and local agencies for border-security operations. This includes MQ-9 Reaper drones (a.k.a. “Predator B”). The bill was introduced by Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas).

Mayor John Cook of El Paso doesn’t like the idea of sending military hardware to his state, saying such a move would send the wrong signal and possibly damage the lucrative economic trade between his city and Ciudad Juarez across the border.

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