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N4T Investigators: DHS looking for ways to combat malicious dron - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

N4T Investigators: DHS looking for ways to combat malicious drones

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They are used in everything from photography to search-and-rescue missions, and soon they could be delivering items right to your door. However, according to the Department of Homeland Security, drones also pose a growing security threat. As the News 4 Tucson Investigators learned, a solution to this emerging threat could come from our own backyard.

“This is a significant threat to the homeland,”  Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis at the Department of Homeland Security, David J. Glawe, recently testified at a congressional hearing. Glawe says the threat posed by malicious drones is now outpacing the agency's ability to respond. 

“This threat is real. We are witnessing a constant evolution in the danger posed by drones as the technology advances and becomes more available and affordable worldwide,” Glawe testified.

One major area of concern is along the U.S.-Mexico line. Since last October, there have been more than three-dozen sightings of unmanned aircraft flying along the southwestern border.

“Transnational criminal organizations are using drones to traffic narcotics, and conduct counter-surveillance to avoid law enforcement, and interfere with ongoing law enforcement operations,” Glawe went on to say.

Though, given their relatively small size, detecting those drones coming across the border can be a challenge...

“They're not going to see anything, unless they can detect it somehow. They just don't know,” said Glenn Spencer, an engineer and inventor lives along the border south of Sierra Vista. Spencer is also pilot, and has been working on sensor technology for more than a decade. More recently, he's been working with defense contractor, Northrup-Grumman on a way to detect drones coming across the border.

“I'm pretty confident that the technology exists, to number one, detect them, and number two, I believe that there is a way to disable them,” Spencer told the News 4 Tucson Investigators.

Last month, Spencer was selected to remotely demonstrate his anti-drone technology at an exhibition in Las Vegas. It’s technology that he believes is vital to keeping the homeland safe. Spencer told the News 4 Tucson Investigators, his anti-drone system could be quickly deployed along our nation's southern and northern border, and he would like to see it happen sooner, rather than later.

“All of that is off the shelf, commercial off the shelf technology, ready to go today to protect America. It's really ready to go,” Spencer said.

If you have something you would like the News 4 Tucson Investigators to investigate, email us at investigators@kvoa.com, or call the News 4 Tucson Investigators tip-line at 955-4444.

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