Homeland Security’s No. 2 official said Thursday that Congress needs to come up with more money and grant new powers to the department so it can bring down drones that threaten airports or breach the country’s borders.
Ken Cuccinelli, acting as deputy secretary, said they’ve been studying the problem for too long and need to get going.
“We are frankly behind the curve in being equipped to address it,” he told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee during its annual hearing on threats to the U.S.
“We need to be able to bring them down and have the money, the appropriations, to purchase the equipment to allow us to do that,” he said.
Drones have been used to drop drugs across the U.S.-Mexico border, and some security analysts have warned they fear smuggling cartels could use them for more devastating attacks by dropping explosive devices.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles have also been used to drop banned materials inside prisons, such as drugs or phones. An inspector general’s report last week reported 57 drone incidents at federal prisons in 2019, up from 23 in 2018 — and the audit said the actual numbers could be much higher.
Drone sightings have also disrupted flights at airports