The Center for International Policy recently released a report entitled “Drones Over the Homeland,” which provides an excellent analysis of CBP’s Unmanned Aerial Vehicle program from inception to the present. It adds significantly to the debate Congress should be having about the wisdom of using UAVs for surveillance. I hope congressional appropriators will take note.
Ports and Borders
March 7th, 2013 - by David Olive
This past Monday, Politico hosted a Playbook breakfast conversation with the three individuals who have served as DHS Secretary since its inception – Tom Ridge, Michael Chertoff and Janet Napolitano. Former Governor Ridge who addressed why America needs a cabinet-level agency to address homeland security issues. While I am a firm believer that America needs a Department of Homeland Security, I am also a believer in continuous improvement, and in that respect, congressional oversight should rightfully be focused on asking questions about DHS as it starts its second decade.
January 15th, 2013 - by Edward Alden
How hard is it for migrants to cross the southwest border illegally and enter into the United States? That question has long been difficult to answer, but it is one that has become more urgent as Congress prepares once again to consider a broader immigration reform. A new report from the Government Accountability Office gives a surprising assessment – that it appears to have become far more difficult than most Americans realize.
November 19th, 2012 - by David Olive
Congratulations are in order for the amazing success recently achieved by CBP’s Office of Air and Marine. CBP plans to award a sole source contract to General Atomics to buy up to 14 Predator UAVs, at a potential cost of $443,090,000 over a 60-month period. So, congratulations to CBP. While the rest of the DHS mission will be subject to budget cuts amid the sequestration debate, and seemingly without concern for those personnel who will be laid off, CBP is telling the rest of us we can be comfortable knowing that giant drones will be patrolling the skies above the U.S. borders for up to 20 hours at a time at the mere cost of $3,500 per hour.
November 1st, 2012 -
By Doug Doan
So far, none of the presidential candidates have mentioned much about Homeland Security. With so many other problems, issues surrounding how best to organize, manage and lead the vast DHS bureaucracy are just not that important. Too bad. I would have liked to see the candidates talk about what they might do. Here is an agenda that I happily provide.
September 19th, 2012 - by Steven Bucci
It helps those of us who might be considered “experts” in Washington, DC to get out once in a while. there is a need to see the real world and talk to real people. I was able to interact with both “non-Beltway” Americans in a recent trek through the Pacific Northwest. Despite the difficulties in the world, we have much to be grateful for, and friendly partner to the north (Canada) is one the United States should never take for granted.
June 29th, 2012 - by Stephen Heifetz
As C-TPAT has matured, Customs and Border Protection’s emphasis on compliance is sensible, and CBP is to be commended for ensuring that the program is a real security program and not merely a “paper program.” But CBP also must be careful to ensure that suspension and revocation decisions are made consistently across C-TPAT membership and that decisions are made in a timely way and in accordance with transparent procedures. There is anecdotal information that consistency and transparency are not yet hallmarks of CBP’s compliance efforts.
May 24th, 2012 - by Janice Kephart
Earlier this month, I testified before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement on “The Welcoming Business Travelers and Tourists to America Act of 2011.” My testimony makes clear that while tourism is a valid goal, it cannot be done in an atmosphere where immigration law is not being enforced domestically, visa processing becomes a rubber stamping process, and the countries targeted have some of the highest overstay populations in the United States.
Maps Show 330 Illegal Alien Crossing Ariz. Border in One Night in March, Including Ultralight Incursion
May 9th, 2012 - by Janice Kephart
During the night of March 23, 2012, illegal activity was shockingly high along 12-mile stretch of border in the Tohono O’odham Indian Reservation in Arizona and extending into the United States – 330 illegal aliens in one night. Over the course of a year, it can add up to 120,450 illegal entries just along these 12 miles of the Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector. The destruction and illegal use of federal taxpayer lands and the great chance of success that the drug cartels and alien smugglers have tell a story of a border where illegal activity is high and the border remains out of control.
May 9th, 2012 - by Edward Alden
After two decades of pouring resources and technology into patrolling the U.S. border with Mexico, there are encouraging signs that Congress is about to start asking the right question: what exactly have we bought for all that money? But the administration is continuing to drag its heels. A May 8 hearing of the House Homeland Security subcommittee on border and maritime security was intended to provide some answers to the critical question of how to assess progress along the border.
April 30th, 2012 - by David Olive
Sunday’s LA Times contains a story that every Member of Congress and homeland security stakeholder ought to read. For the first time that I can remember, AMO Chief Michael Kostelnik, CBP’s main evangelist for acquiring Predator UAVs for border enforcement, admits that the results have NOT been impressive, especially in helping capture illegal drug runners.
April 13th, 2012 - by Janice Kephart
For the past month, the Homeland Security Show I host is spotlighting issues in homeland security without the interlude of media packaging stories into three minute segments or subjected to political hyperbole from Capitol Hill. This is not a show about thrillers, even if some of the content is more twisted and strange than most science fiction. Here is a rundown of my guests and show topics and some of our upcoming broadcasts.
President Obama and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, who is in Washington for a two-day visit, announced yesterday that they would begin work on bringing Brazil into the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). The expansion of Brazilian tourism that would result would be a big economic boost for the United States. While security screening for the VWP is now as good or better than that for visa applicants, Congress remains reluctant to authorize an expansion of the program.
April 2nd, 2012 -
In Security Debrief’s annual April Fools coverage, we’ve collected some stories the rest of the media somehow missed.
March 29th, 2012 - by Rich Cooper
Despite Defense Department budget cuts and ongoing military operations, pirates in the waters off the coast of Somalia won’t see a decrease in naval military presence any time soon. NATO allies recently agreed to continue through 2014 the Ocean Shield operation – a counter-piracy naval operation off the Horn of Africa protecting merchant ships from pirate attack. This is welcome news to many ship owners and charters, which have seen an increase in the number of pirate attacks in the Indian Ocean. The pirate threat and the international response seem only to be escalating.
On Monday, I hosted the premiere of my new international internet radio show, “The Homeland Security Show with Janice Kephart.” My first guest was Emmy Award-winning investigative journalist William LaJeunesse, who has done the most extensive investigative journalism on the federal government’s arms trafficking operation known as Fast and Furious.
As the Obama administration continues to try to convince the American people they are securing the borders, their most recent budget request makes clear that “Amnesty by Any Means” remains the consistent mission. The latest installment is buried in the president’s homeland security budget, which includes provisions dotted throughout that, put together, would result in the dismantling of arguably the best border-related program that exists in federal government, US-VISIT, burying its capabilities in two of the most politicized of all government agencies, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection.
This month, the U.S. Treasury Department designated three individuals as narcotics traffickers acting on behalf of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), or Kongra-Gel. That the PKK is deeply engaged in a wide array of criminal activities should not be surprising to those familiar with the group. U.S. authoraties have had success in targeting narco-terrorist groups, such as Hezbollah or the PKK, both of which should be of concern to law enforcement and intelligence services.
February 13th, 2012 - by Rich Cooper
If you mention the word “piracy” to someone, chances are images of Johnny Depp’s character from Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, but the sobering facts are that savagery on the high seas is very real and becoming a costly circumstance that deserves more attention. The waters around the Horn of Africa are growing more dangerous, with pirates from Somalia continuing attacks on commercial ships. These attacks contribute to the $7 billion-$12 billion that maritime piracy costs the international economy each year. To address and discuss this international challenge with national impact, the National Chamber Foundation will host “High Risk on the High Seas: The Economic Impact of Piracy in the Indian Ocean.”
It has taken almost a decade for a post 9/11-version of a secure Trusted Traveler program to become official, but Monday’s publication of the final rule establishing Global Entry as an official program marks a signal achievement for DHS and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). With over 300,000 applications in place, over 1.8 million individual trips handled, and over tens of thousands of CBP man and woman-hours saved, Global Entry deserves the praise it got from the President on his visit to Disney last month. Global Entry is not only a good idea – it is an essential part of CBP’s strategy to handle increased traffic flows in an era of tight budgets.