Navy Seeks Drone Program at Point Mugu

Proposal undergoes environmental assessment; Port Hueneme City Council votes 4-0 to support Navy's plan

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Amid a national debate on the use of military drones on U.S. soil, the Port Hueneme City Council voted to support the Navy's plan to move production of unmanned aircraft to Ventura County. Conan Noland reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on March 7, 2013. (Published Thursday, Mar 7, 2013)

    Amid a national debate on the use of military drones on U.S. soil, the Port Hueneme City Council voted to support the Navy's plan to move production of unmanned aircraft to Ventura County.

    MQ-4C Triton drones are currently produced at the Naval Air Weapons Station at China Lake. The proposal would move production about 160 miles southwest to the Naval Base Ventura County at Point Mugu.

    The Triton is used for surveillance, as opposed to the weaponized drones at the center of Sen. Rand Paul's nearly 13-hour filibuster on Wednesday -- a move Port Hueneme Councilman Douglas Breeze described as politically driven.

    "The fact of the matter is the military has a great success record with these drones," Breeze said. "Drones save military pilots' lives, so in my mind, it's a good thing in the hands of military."

    The council voted Monday 4-0 with one member absent to support the Navy's plan, which is still undergoing an environmental assessment, Breeze said.

    "I look at it as economic help for the area. It brings with it 700 jobs, along with all of the peripheral support activity," Breeze said. "Mugu has a test range off the coast where they fly the drones for testing, so it makes it more efficient for the program to be at Mugu."

    Paul's filibuster, a way to delay John Brennan's confirmation as CIA director, centered on the Obama administration's initial ambiguity about using drones to kill Americans on U.S. soil. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder had said the administration wouldn't rule out such a strike.

    Related: Where Rand Paul Ranks in Filibuster History | Brennan Defends Drone Policy At Senate Grilling

    Following the filibuster, Holder issued an updated response: "'Does the President have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?' The answer to that question is no," according to the Senator's office, which released the statement.

    Brennan was confirmed Thursday following a vote in the Senate.

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