UAV116 Customs and Border Protection UAS

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

We talk with U.S. Customs and Border Protection Deputy Director John Murphy, Jr. about the UAS they use.


John Murphy, Jr.Guest John Murphy, Jr. is Deputy Director, National Air Security Operations for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Office of Air and Marine Operations (AMO). John is responsible for providing oversight, mission alignment, and associated administrative requirements for national and foreign operations involving the P-3 Orion and MQ-9 Predator.

AMO is a federal law enforcement organization dedicated to serving and protecting the American people through advanced aeronautical and maritime capabilities. With 1,200 federal agents, 267 aircraft and 283 marine vessels operating from 91 locations throughout the United States and Puerto Rico, AMO conducts its mission between ports of entry in the maritime environment and within the nation’s interior.

We talk about the remotely piloted aircraft that CBP flies from Sierra Vista, Arizona, Corpus Christi, Texas, and Grand Forks, North Dakota. John discusses civil liberties considerations, how CBP integrates its UAS into the NAS, using the same pilots for manned and unmanned operations, and current career opportunities at CBP.

John has accumulated over 4,000 hours of flight time in a number of high performance fixed and rotary-wing aircraft, including the CH-53, UH-60, C-550, AS350, C-12C/M and N-22. He had a 20-year career with the United States Marine Corps that included tours as a CH-53E helicopter pilot, global operational experience with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, service in combat zones over Mogadishu, Somalia, and evacuation support of the U.S. Embassy Rwanda, Africa.

In 1996, John joined the former U.S. Customs Service as a Customs Pilot. He was promoted to Aviation Group Supervisor and led many P-3 detachments to Central and South America to conduct counter-narcotic defense operations. In 2005, he was selected as Director, Air Operations at the San Diego Air and Marine Branch.

In 2010, John served as the Vice Director for the Joint Interagency Task Force South, responsible for the coordination of Air and Marine Operations aviation support for the U.S. Southern Command anti-drug initiatives in the source and transit zones.

Find U.S. Customs and Border Protection at, and on Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, and Instagram. Also, look for Customs and Border Protection photos and videos on The Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System (DVIDS).

One thought on “UAV116 Customs and Border Protection UAS

  1. Gordon Cocuuula

    Why don’t they hire a bunch of 18 year old video gamers at ten bucks an hour and a free ham sandwitch every day?? Seems to me you’d accomplish the same thing at much less cost to the tax payer!! Everybody knows drones are the future! You don’t need real pilots, every 5 year old kid nowadays knows how to fly a drone!!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *