Tara McKelvey, “How Buck McKeon created a global drone enterprise,” BBC News Magazine, 2 August 2013
Many countries, including China and Israel, make drones. Yet the US is the world’s leader in creating technology for drones and in promoting their use – for both military and civilian purposes. The interest in drones in the US crosses political lines, with both Democrats and Republicans investing in the aircraft. …
Less well known, however, is the fact that drones are used in the civilian airspace over the US, UK and Europe.
It is a growing, if under-reported, trend. Many of the drones used in Pakistan, along with those sent to Afghanistan, now have a permanent home in the US. These drones are turned over to civilians who work for the federal Customs and Border Protection agency, police departments, and other government offices.
The story of how drones became a robust niche in domestic law enforcement – and part of the commercial world as well – is rooted in Washington DC. Indeed, the rise of the drone can be traced in part to one man, Howard “Buck” McKeon.