Border Patrol relies on data analysis in new strategic plan

What is not in the Border Patrol’s new border security strategy is reliance on more border fencing and thousands more agents. Instead, the new approach is complex and risk-based and relies on gathering information, analyzing it for threats, and rapid response.

The border patrol officially released its strategic plan for 2012 to 2016 on May 10. The 32-page document outlines a number of areas of enhanced cooperation between the border patrol and other federal, state, local and foreign agencies in a new “whole-of-government” approach.

Under the whole-of-government concept, the U.S. government and its “national security partners” should develop plans and conduct operations “from a shared perspective and shared resources to enable mission accomplishment,” the plan indicates.

The plan gives a brief overview of technology options, including fixed tower, mobile and aerial surveillance, ground sensors, night vision devices and cargo inspection devices. However, the main focus is on information collection, sharing and analysis to identify risk and threats, and actions taken to address them.

Information sharing—a high priority since the 9/11 terrorist attacks—is given a renewed emphasis in the new strategy.

For example, the border patrol strategy states that the agency will support “an integrated intelligence platform that promotes information sharing throughout the domestic and foreign law enforcement community,” the plan indicates. The platform includes integrated border patrol “intelligence frameworks” as well as the Customs and Border PRotection Office of Intelligence and Investigative Liaison, the El Paso Intelligence Center’s Border Intelligence Fusion Section, Border Intelligence Centers, and the interagency Human Smuggling and Trafficking Center, and state and major urban area Fusion Centers.

The gathering, analysis and sharing of information will be supplemented by the Integrated Mission Analysis methodology to determine if current capabilities are able to manage the threat, the plan states. The methodology is used “to track, assess, and forecast vulnerabilities, consequences, and capabilities” of CBP and the Border Patrol to develop a Border Assessment Level. The level helps to answer the question of whether capabilities are able to manage the threat.

“Commanders will have both the data and analysis to effectively track, assess, and forecast risk. The Integrated Mission Analysis process assists commanders in managing identified risks by allowing them to make better and timely decisions,” the plan states.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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