The Forgotten US Border


By: Jim Kouri, CPP

Covering nearly 4,000 miles of land and water from Washington to Maine, the U.S.-Canadian border is the longest undefended border in the world.

Various Department of Homeland Security (DHS) component agencies share responsibility for northern border security, primarily U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), in collaboration with other federal, state, local, tribal, and Canadian entities. The Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Act of 2007 required the Secretary of Homeland Security to submit a report to Congress that addresses the vulnerabilities along the northern border, and provides recommendations and required resources to address them.

The act also required the General Accountability Office to review and comment on this report. In response to this mandate, GAO examined the extent to which the DHS report to Congress is responsive to the legislative requirements and actions that may be necessary to address northern border vulnerabilities in addition to the actions addressed in the report.

To conduct this work, GAO reviewed DHS plans, reports, and other documents, and interviewed DHS officials.

The DHS February 2008 report to Congress is not fully responsive to legislative requirements in providing information for improving northern border security. In particular, DHS provided a listing of northern border vulnerabilities and initiatives to address them, but did not include recommendations and additional resources that are needed to protect the northern border.

DHS officials provided several reasons for the lack of specificity and gaps in reported information, including the fact that the component agencies’ priorities for action and resources are reflected in the existing budget process, and that they had nothing further to recommend or request through this report.

However, budget documents do not reflect the resources needed over time to achieve control of the northern border. The lack of this information makes it difficult for Congress to consider future actions and resources needed. DHS is developing northern border strategic plans and a risk-management process to help guide and prioritize action and resources, and fully implementing recommendations from past security evaluations would also provide benefit in addressing northern border security vulnerabilities.

DHS is currently developing strategic plans that are intended to provide overall direction in addressing vulnerabilities in northern border security. DHS is also developing a risk-management process to assist in prioritizing efforts and resources that will provide greatest benefit to national security.

Officials have said that the success of various pilot projects, such as DHS’s testing of new technology, will likely change the level and mix of resources needed to protect the northern border. In the meantime, DHS could take action to reduce vulnerabilities by implementing recommendations made in past evaluations. DHS has implemented 11 GAO recommendations designed to improve border security, but 39 recommendations are yet to be fully addressed. Eighteen of these open recommendations were made within the last year.

However, 21 recommendations for improving use of air and marine assets, improving screening processes at the ports of entry, and deploying nuclear detection equipment–which DHS and other agencies generally agreed to take action to implement–have remained open for at least 1 year and, in some cases, over 3 years.

DHS is currently developing strategic plans that are intended to provide overall direction in addressing vulnerabilities in northern border security. DHS is also developing a risk-management process to assist in prioritizing efforts and resources that will provide greatest benefit to national security. DHS officials have said that the success of various pilot projects, such as DHS’s testing of new technology, will likely change the level and mix of resources needed to protect the northern border.

In the meantime, DHS could take action to reduce vulnerabilities by implementing recommendations made in past evaluations. DHS has implemented 11 GAO recommendations designed to improve border security, but 39 recommendations are yet to be fully addressed. Eighteen of these open recommendations were made within the last year.

However, 21 recommendations for improving use of air and marine assets, improving screening processes at the ports of entry, and deploying nuclear detection equipment–which DHS and other agencies generally agreed to take action to implement — have remained open for at least 1 year and, in some cases, over 3 years. GAO reported to the US Congress that it believes these outstanding recommendations continue to have merit and should be implemented.



Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he’s a staff writer for the New Media Alliance (thenma.org). In addition, he’s the new editor for the House Conservatives Fund’s weblog. Kouri also serves as political advisor for Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor Michael Moriarty.

He’s former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed “Crack City” by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for several major organizations. He’s also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Kouri writes for many police and security magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer and others. He’s a news writer for TheConservativeVoice.Com and PHXnews.com. He’s also a columnist for AmericanDaily.Com, MensNewsDaily.Com, MichNews.Com, and he’s syndicated by AXcessNews.Com. He’s appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com. Kouri’s own website is located at http://jimkouri.us

About The Author Jim Kouri, CPP:
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he's a columnist for The Examiner (examiner.com) and New Media Alliance (thenma.org). In addition, he's a blogger for the Cheyenne, Wyoming Fox News Radio affiliate KGAB (www.kgab.com). Kouri also serves as political advisor for Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor Michael Moriarty. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for several major organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Kouri writes for many police and security magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer and others. He's a news writer and columnist for AmericanDaily.Com, MensNewsDaily.Com, MichNews.Com, and he's syndicated by AXcessNews.Com. Kouri appears regularly as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Fox News Channel, Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, etc. To subscribe to Kouri's newsletter write to COPmagazine@aol.com and write "Subscription" on the subject line.
Website:http://jimkouri.us

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