Monday, October 1, 2012

Is It Time for a "NO Drones" Caucus in Congress?

Were you aware that there is a group of over fifty (50) members of the U.S. Congress who have banded together to increase the use of drones ("unmanned aerial vehicles")? They are all members of the Unmanned Systems Caucus. The Congressional drones caucus is full of excitement about the opportunities for profit, as well as for the protection of the military contractors and bases in their districts.

Where is the caucus for members of Congress who want to protect people -- and guard against the dangers of drones? It's time for us to recognize the urgency of this problem, and start to demand that congressmen/women either take a stand with us in opposing drones or step aside and make room for those who will.

Below is a map showing the districts of current members of the Congressional drones caucus, followed by a state-by-state discussion of the drones situation. An important reference for everyone is the letter sent to Congressman Michael Turner of Ohio: this is a model of the kind of public pressure that can be put on supporters of drone killing and drone surveillance in Congress.


Alabama

Alabama congressman Mo Brooks is a member of the drones caucus.

Alabama has two (2) bases that have been approved for drone basing by the Dept. of Defense.

Notably, Fort Rucker in Alabama is home to the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence -- the brain trust for the strategy of proliferating drones throughout the U.S. army.

Alaska

Alaska congressman Don Young is a member of the drones caucus.

Alaska has three (3) bases that have been approved for drone basing by the Dept. of Defense.

An article in the Alaska Dispatch -- Unmanned aerial drones the future of Arctic reconnaissance? -- says "H.R. 658, the FAA reauthorization bill, mandates that the FAA must designate six UAV test ranges in U.S. airspace within about six months. But a special clause, and the one most important to Alaska, will designate portions of airspace from the Aleutian Islands to the North Slope for 24-hour UAV use 'for research and commercial purposes.' The amendment was written by Alaska Sen. Mark Begich, with the University of Alaska Unmanned Aircraft Program in mind. That program, based at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute, has been on the cutting-edge of UAV technology, thanks to Alaska's myriad uses for the science."

Arizona

Arizona congressmen Paul Gosar and Trent Franks are members of the drones caucus.

Arizona has six (6) bases that have been approved for drone basing by the Dept. of Defense.

(NOTE: Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva was a signer of the June, 2012, Kucinich letter that called on the Obama administration to address questions about its drones use.)

Arkansas

California

There are twelve (12) California members of Congress who belong to the drones caucus.

California has an extremely high concentration of military contractors, including the maker of the Predator and Reaper drones, General Atomics -- and has eighteen (18) military bases that have been approved by the Dept. of Defense for drone basing -- the highest count in the nation.

(NOTE: Six California congressman/women were signers of the June, 2012, Kucinich letter that called on the Obama administration to address questions about its drones use.)

Colorado

Connecticut

Congressman Joe Courtney of Connecticut is a member of the drones caucus.

Delaware

Florida

Congressmen Ander Crenshaw and Thomas Rooney of Florida are members of the drones caucus.

Florida is home to drone contractors like Raytheon, and there are nine (9) Florida bases that have been approved by the Dept. of Defense for drone basing.

Georgia

(NOTE: Georgia Congressmen John Lewis and Henry C. “Hank” Johnson were signers of the June, 2012, Kucinich letter that called on the Obama administration to address questions about its drones use. In addition, Georgia congressman Austin Scott sponsored legislation to rein in domestic drone use (HR5925).)

Hawaii

Rep. Colleen Hanabusa of Hawaii is a member of the drones caucus.

Kaneohe Bay and Wheeler in Hawaii have both been approved by the Dept. of Defense for drone basing.

Idaho

Rep. Mike Simpson of Idaho is a member of the drones caucus.

Boise has been approved by the Dept. of Defense for drone basing.

Illinois

(NOTE: Illinois Congressmen Jesse Jackson, Jr., and Luis Gutierrez were signers of the June, 2012, Kucinich letter that called on the Obama administration to address questions about its drones use.)

Indiana

Indiana congressman Rep. Larry Bucshon is a member of the drones caucus.

Indianapolis is home to a major drones contractor -- Raytheon -- and Indiana has two bases (Camp Atterby, Jefferson Range) that have been approved for drone basing by the Dept. of Defense.

Iowa

Kansas

Congressman Mike Pomeo of Kansas is a member of the drones caucus.

Fort Riley, Kansas, has been approved by the Dept. of Defense for drone basing.

Kansas State University launched a bachelor’s degree program in operating drones, and currently operates about a dozen drones.

Kentucky

Louisiana

Maine

Maryland

Congressman Roscoe Bartlett of Maryland is a member of the drones caucus.

Maryland is home to two bases approved for drone basing, and was the site of a drone crash in June, 2012.

Maryland has also been the site of protests against the drone research at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory.

(NOTE: Maryland Congresswoman Donna Edwards was a signer of the June, 2012, Kucinich letter that called on the Obama administration to address questions about its drones use.)

Massachusetts

(NOTE: Massachusetts Congressman James P. McGovern was a signer of the June, 2012, Kucinich letter that called on the Obama administration to address questions about its drones use.)

Michigan

Two members of Congress from Michigan are members of the drones caucus: Mike Rogers and Candice Miller.

The University of Michigan is one of 25 universities authorized to fly unarmed drones.

(NOTE: Michigan Congressman John Conyers was a signer of the June, 2012, Kucinich letter that called on the Obama administration to address questions about its drones use.)

Minnesota

(NOTE: Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison was a signer of the June, 2012, Kucinich letter that called on the Obama administration to address questions about its drones use.)

Mississippi

Congressman Steven Palazzo of Mississippi is a member of the drones caucus.

Two sites in Mississippi have been approved by the Dept. of Defense for drone basing.

Mississippi is also the U.S. base for the Israeli company Stark Aerospace, a drone maker.

Missouri

Two members of Congress from Missouri are members of the drones caucus: Todd Akin and Vicky Hartzler.

Missouri has been the focus of drone protests, since Wightman Air Force Base near Kansas City is a center for controlling drone flights around the world.

Montana

Nebraska

Nevada

Two members of Congress from Nevada are members of the drones caucus: Joe Heck and Shelley Berkley.

Nevada is the site of one of the major drone control operations in the United States -- Creech Air Force Base -- and the killing being directed from Creech has been the object of frequent protests and the subject of a high-profile trial.

New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Jersey congressman Rep. Frank LoBiondo is a member of the drones caucus. Read about the work of New Jersey activists to protest Rep. LoBiondo's participation in the drones caucus.

(NOTE: New Jersey Congressman Rush Holt was a signer of the June, 2012, Kucinich letter that called on the Obama administration to address questions about its drones use.)

New Mexico

Rep. Steve Pearce of New Mexico is a member of the drone caucus.

There are five (5) bases in New Mexico that have been approved by the Dept. of Defense for drone basing. Holloman Air Force Base was the subject of a widely-discussed article that appeared in the New York Times in July, 2012: "The Drone Zone.

The airspace over Colorado and New Mexico is highly contested. For full information, see the website of the organization Not 1 More Acre! The website describes resistance to efforts by the Pentagon with Joint Forces Special Operations (Air Force, Army and Marines) and its contractors to militarize all of southern Colorado and northern New Mexico for mega-billion dollar Joint Forces high-tech development, testing and training programs dedicated to robotic warfare for world-wide military operations.

New Mexico State University’s Physical Science Laboratory (PSL) established a UAV Technical Analysis and Applications Center (TAAC) in 1999.

New York

Four members of the New York State congressional delegation belong to the drones caucus: Edolphus Towns, Maurice Hinchey, Richard Hanna, and Anne Marie Buerkle.

New York State has long been the focus of drone protests, particularly by the Upstate NY Coalition to Ground the Drones, and the Hancock 38 action, the protest against drone operations directed from Hancock Air Force Base near Syracuse.

(NOTE: New York congressional representatives Charles Rangel, Jerrold Nadler, and Yvette D. Clark -- in addition to the above-mentioned Maurice Hinchey! -- were signers of the June, 2012, Kucinich letter that called on the Obama administration to address questions about its drones use.)

North Carolina

(NOTE: North Carolina Congressman Walter B. Jones was a signer of the June, 2012, Kucinich letter that called on the Obama administration to address questions about its drones use.)

North Dakota

Congressman Rick Berg of North Dakota is a member of the drones caucus.

Grand Forks AFB and Devils Lake in North Dakota have been approved by the Dept. of Defense for drone basing. There have been reports of airspace restrictions due to drone testing in the Devils Lake area. The University of North Dakota is a center for drone design and training, with an adjunct Tech School (training on maintenance and repair) in Thief River Falls, MN.

Ohio

Congressmen Michael Turner (3rd district) and Steve Austria (7th district) are members of the drone caucus.

Turner's district includes Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, near Dayton. (See the letter sent to Congressman Michael Turner of Ohio.) There is additional information on Ohio drone basing plans on the No Drones Ohio website.

(NOTE: Oregon Congressman Dennis Kucinich organized a June 12, 2012, letter signed by 26 members of Congress calling on the Obama administration to address questions about its drones use.)

Oklahoma

Oklahoma congressmen Dan Boren and Tom Cole are members of the drone caucus.

Two (2) bases in Oklahoma have been approved by the Dept. of Defense for drone basing.

Small unmanned aircraft systems will be tested to help first responders deal with natural disasters and other emergencies in the restricted air space over Fort Sill; according to some accounts, Oklahoma is vying to become the "Detroit of drones."

Oregon

(NOTE: Oregon Congressman Peter A. DeFazio was a signer of the June, 2012, Kucinich letter that called on the Obama administration to address questions about its drones use.)

Pennsylvania

Congressman Robert Brady of Pennsylvania is a member of the drones caucus.

Fort Indiantown Gap in Pennsylvania has been approved by the Dept. of Defense for drone basing.

Rhode Island

South Carolina

Congressman Joe Wilson of South Carolina is a member of the drones caucus.

There are two bases in South Carolina approved by the Dept. of Defense for drones basing.

South Dakota

Tennessee

Texas

There are seven (7) Texas members of Congress who belong to the drones caucus. Texas has seven military bases that have been approved by the Dept. of Defense for drone basing.

(NOTE: Texas Congressman Ron Paul was a signer of the June, 2012, Kucinich letter that called on the Obama administration to address questions about its drones use.)

Utah

Congressman Rob Bishop of Utah is a member of the drones caucus.

Utah has two sites approved by the Dept. of Defense for drones basing, including the famous Dugway Proving Grounds.

Researchers at Utah State University are also doing drone research.

Vermont

(NOTE: Vermont Congressman Peter Welch was a signer of the June, 2012, Kucinich letter that called on the Obama administration to address questions about its drones use.)

Virginia

Two members of Congress from Virginia belong to the drones caucus: Robert Wittman, from the 1st Congressional District (near Newport News), and Gerald Connolly, from the 11th District (Fairfax County and the area around Washington, D.C.).

Virginia has a high concentration of military contractors and military bases. Six Virginia military bases that have been approved by the Dept. of Defense for drone basing.

Washington

Rep. Norman Dicks of Washington is a member of the drones caucus.

In addition to being the site of manufacturing operations for military contractors like Boeing, Washington State is also the location of three (3) bases approved by the Dept. of Defense for drone basing.

(NOTE: Washington Congressman Jim McDermott was a signer of the June, 2012, Kucinich letter that called on the Obama administration to address questions about its drones use.)

Washington, D.C.

West Virginia

Wisconsin

(Read the correspondence between members of No Drones Wisconsin and Wisconsin congresswoman Tammy Baldwin on the drones question.)

Wyoming

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