From the Battlefield to Domestic Airspace: An Analysis of the Evolving Roles and Expectations of Drone Technology

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Cameron McDougal




Perhaps one of the most notable developments, with respect to overall impact, to emerge from the War on Terror is the Unmanned Aerial System (UAS), or drone. This technology has revolutionized the U.S. Military, and following a long history of military technology shifting to domestic law enforcement operations, will likely impact law enforcement in a significant manner. This transition from the battlefield to domestic airspace is not without hazards or consequences. If drone technology is to be used effectively and efficiently by domestic law enforcement agencies to enhance public safety, prudence must prevail. The U.S. Department


of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is leading the way for the implementation of this technology into domestic operations. CBP’s short history with drone technology, as well as its future endeavors, will be examined in this paper and provide a framework for improving the transition of drone technology from the battlefield to domestic airspace.

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Author Biography

Cameron McDougal





Cameron is a first year student in the Master’s of Science in Criminal Justice and Public Safety Program at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). In addition to his Master’s degree, he is earning a Graduate Certificate in Homeland Security and Emergency Management. Cameron graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from Wabash College in Crawfordsville, IN, where he completed a year-long internship with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) Homicide Unit. Upon graduation, he moved to Washington, DC to complete an internship with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) where he served on Secretary Napolitano’s Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC). Cameron accepted a Graduate Assistantship position with the School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) at IUPUI, and after receiving his Master’s degree, plans to rejoin the Department of Homeland Security and serve as a Special Agent with Immigration and Custom’s Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Unit.