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Must Be As Proactive-Not Reactive-As Possible

February 25, 2009
By Henry Kenyon

Technology, people and information sharing are revolutionizing the way U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) directorate is carrying out its mission. From additional unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to sea-search radars to vast increases in the number of personnel carrying out new duties, operational components are collaborating in ways that have never been seen before. These were the conclusions of participants in the first panel at the Homeland Security conference.

For example, Steve Evans, associate chief, enforcement systems division, CBP, DHS, shared that his organization worked long and hard with the FBI to achieve the need for speed in identification verification. As a result, the CBP now has the capability to 10-print everyone it captures and confirm an identification through the FBI in as little as 6 minutes.

Another example was shared by panelist Bill Oliver, deputy assistant commissioner, air and marine, CBP, DHS, who revealed that his group has been replacing its aircraft-some of which was used in the Vietnam War-with new hi-tech aircraft. In addition, the organization plans to hire 24 new pilots; however, these will not be traditional personnel but rather pilots to fly UAVs. And Oliver also shared that it was new sea-search radar that, for 13 days in January, assisted his group locate and stop self-propelled semi-submersibles that carried 20 metric tons of cocaine from reaching the United States.

The panelists all agreed that one advance that would greatly support their efforts would be agencies in CBP agreeing on a common language. This would ensure that they could share a common operational picture, they said.

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