Lawmakers fast-track border security technologies

Lawmakers on the House Science and Technology Committee are backing new legislation to expand funding for unmanned aerial vehicles, tunnel detection devices and anti-counterfeiting technologies for use in border security.

Rep. Ralph Hall (R-Texas), ranking Republican on the panel, said he introduced H.R. 3916 on Monday to develop the technologies to protect against drug traffickers, terrorists and illegal immigrants.

Co-sponsors include Committee Chairman Bart Gordon (D-Tenn); and Reps. David Wu (D-Ore.) and Michael McCaul (R-Texas), the chair and ranking member, respectively, of the Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation.

The bill instructs the Homeland Security Department to plan and coordinate with the Federal Aviation Administration to allow regular operation of UAVs along the borders. In addition, it requires the department to initiate a research program into tunnel detection devices and to continue research in detecting counterfeit documents used for cargo and persons.

"This bill will ensure support for science and technology programs that aid our border patrol efforts. Developing technologies to help border agents with this daunting task is an important step," Hall said in a news release.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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