Winner, Coast Guard Essay Contest
The Commandant of the Coast Guard is considering a change in policy to permit the use of force from aircraft to stop drug smugglers. Armed with innovative new vessel-stopping technologies and traditional weapons, specially trained crews will employ the minimum force necessary to stop suspects using "go-fast" boats that can outrun the majority of existing interdiction platforms. The use of non-deadly force, up to and including warning shots and disabling fire, will be authorized to increase interdiction success rates.
In addressing the emergent challenge of stopping go-- fast boats, the Coast Guard has already made sizable investments in equipment, training, and operations to develop the use of force from aircraft, and much more will follow. Support for armed aircraft, however, is far from unanimous. The aviation community in particular is split in its opinions of the wisdom of this policy shift. Indeed, raising the risk of apprehending drug dealers has serious implications for all aircrews. Coast Guard interdiction helicopters are ready to launch. Why now, and why not?
A Smuggler's Best Friend