Napolitano requests update on northern border security

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has ordered an internal review and update on all departmental activities, programs and strategies for protecting the land border between the United States and Canada. Part of protecting that border includes using information technology systems.

The secretary issued a directive Jan. 23 that focuses on northern border strategy. An initial report is due by Feb. 10, and the final report is due by Feb. 17. The reports will cover current vulnerabilities, strategies for reducing vulnerabilities, requirements to carry out the strategies, and an overview of existing programs, budgets, timeframes and risks, Napolitano said in a news release.

“The northern border of the United States has become, since [Sept. 11, 2001], important to our national security,” the news release states. “As we have designed programs to afford greater protection against unlawful entry, members of Congress and homeland security experts have called for increased attention to the Canadian border.”

The northern border, which includes many remote and forested areas, is vulnerable to unauthorized entry by terrorists and others, according to investigations by the Government Accountability Office. The Customs and Border Protection agency’s activities include managing official entry points and surveillance of open areas.

Starting in February, CBP will begin its first surveillance flights over that border using Predator B unmanned aerial vehicles. The test flights will link aerial imagery and data with a network of marine and ground sensors and other technologies along the border.

The agency has been flying UAVs over the border with Mexico since 2005 but only recently obtained approval for doing so over the northern border.

In March 2008, CBP officials said they were refining a security strategy for the northern border and intended to demonstrate the integration of data from air, land and marine sources into a common operating picture for situational awareness. Congress allocated $20 million for a northern border security demonstration project.

About the Author

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

Featured

  • Contracting
    8 prototypes of the border walls as tweeted by CBP San Diego

    DHS contractors face protests – on the streets

    Tech companies are facing protests internally from workers and externally from activists about doing for government amid controversial policies like "zero tolerance" for illegal immigration.

  • Workforce
    By Mark Van Scyoc Royalty-free stock photo ID: 285175268

    At OPM, Weichert pushes direct hire, pay agent changes

    Margaret Weichert, now acting director of the Office of Personnel Management, is clearing agencies to make direct hires in IT, cyber and other tech fields and is changing pay for specialized occupations.

  • Cloud
    Shutterstock ID ID: 222190471 By wk1003mike

    IBM protests JEDI cloud deal

    As the deadline to submit bids on the Pentagon's $10 billion, 10-year warfighter cloud deal draws near, IBM announced a legal protest.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.