COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – Last week in a national security speech, President Obama supported the continued use of drones and now Mississippi is vying to be one of the few drone-testing sites in the nation.
Drones, commonly known as unmanned aerial air crafts, have gained a reputation through their use in the fight against terror. What many don’t know is that drones can be used to fight wildfires, conduct search and rescue missions and even help farmers design irrigation systems. Now, Mississippi is competing to become one of six drone testing sites in the country.
“There’s no doubt that you’ve seen an improvement and increase in the number of drones that are being built. The testing is an important component to that, in order to accomplish the mission that they will have. Nobody is better poised than Mississippi to increase that and to be a part of that testing program,” says Congressman Gregg Harper of Mississippi’s 3rd District.
District One Congressman Alan Nunnelee adds that our state’s economic condition makes it attractive for major industries, including drone manufacturers.
“Well each company has got to make their own decisions independently of other companies. But what’s important is that Mississippi was just recognized as one of the top 10 states in the nation for our economic climate and we’re going to promote that,” says Nunnelee.
Still, some Americans are concerned about their privacy if drones are widely used here in the States.
“We’ve got to respect the rights of the constitution and that includes 4th Amendment Rights to search and seizure of property. But what’s at issue is what’s being done, not the tool used to do it. So we should never use any tool to violate any American’s constitutional rights,” says Nunnelee.
Civilian use of drones is expected to increase once the FAA approves them for commercial use in 2015. In the meantime, Mississippi is positioning itself to be a part of a program that will impact lives at home and around the world.
President Barack Obama also suggested in his speech that drones will play a lesser role in the fight against terror in the future.