CQ Homeland Security The top U.S. military officer overseeing South and Central America said Wednesday that his forces interdict only about 25 percent of all the observed illicit drug shipments transiting from his region to the United States, routes the military has reason to believe Iran might someday seek to exploit. Air Force Gen. Douglas [...]
Last week, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy issued the National Northern Border Counternarcotics Strategy. Unless you knew it was coming and happened to be keeping an eye peeled for it, the document may well have escaped notice—with its release on a Friday, in the heat of primary season, and in the immediate lead-up to the President’s State of the Union Address. This is something of a shame because the plan contains some welcome elements that, if well executed, could make a positive contribution to the field.
CQ Homeland Security When former Customs and Border Protection chief Alan Bersin took office in March 2010, he said he wanted to transform the agency and make it a promoter of commerce instead of a hindrance. His departure late last year has shipping groups hoping the agency’s next head feels the same way.
CQ Homeland Security conducted its annual survey of security challenges last year and the road ahead in 2012. The three-part series included comments from security experts throughout government and the private sector, many of whom are contributors to Security Debrief. Below is a rundown of some of their responses. Check out each of the story links to read more about important security efforts in 2012.
US-VISIT gave its 8th annual briefing on Thursday, and the progress there continues to be impressive. While the advances in biometrics raise some delicate privacy questions, the United States is getting ever closer to creating a system in which it will be more or less impossible to lie one’s way into this country through the legal ports of entry. And more and more countries – sixty-one at last count – are going down the same road of using biometrics for border control.
Recently, it was reported that members of Mexican Crime Cartels illegally entered five different truck yards in northern Mexico by threatening security officers. These criminals did not steal cash or cargo. Instead, they compromised sensitive corporate information – routing information for U.S.-bound commercial truck shipments. Criminal organizations the world over, especially along the land border of Mexico and the United States, use commercial trucks to move contraband. Because of the huge amount of trade that crosses our borders and the limited number of personnel to inspect and process this trade, two methods were created to ease the cargo delays and help the CBP inspectors target suspect trucks.
By Nelson Balido
Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Alan Bersin last Thursday announced his resignation effective December 30. For folks who monitor border trade and security issues, this wasn’t exactly a surprise. But it was still a disappointment. Nevertheless, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano made the right choice in naming deputy commissioner David Aguilar as the new acting commissioner.
By Doug Doan
For anyone who needed a reminder of just how botched and dysfunctional it is to build or improve a border crossing, take a look at the toxic debate over the Keystone Pipeline. Fierce politics, nasty in-fighting, delay, distortion and misdirection all become standard fare. The Presidential Permit process was supposed to bring order and discipline to building anything across the border linking the United States, Canada and Mexico. But what a mess it has become. Every new idea must navigate an increasingly complicated bureaucratic gauntlet.
Obama to slash National Guard force on U.S.-Mexico border – Washington Times Citing budget cuts, the Obama administration early next year will cut the number of National Guard troops patrolling the U.S.-Mexico border by at least half, according to a congressman who was briefed on the plan.
Newsweek asked me to do a piece looking at the current state of the political debate over border security. The request turned out to be well-timed, because it coincided with the release of the latest annual figures on the number of apprehensions at the border, which remains the best measure we have of how many people are trying to enter the United States illegally.Is the border secure yet? If not, it’s getting awfully close. Yet the political debate remains focused almost entirely on further ramping up border enforcement.