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In the news: US-VISIT and Army numbers

The New York Times reports this morning that the US-VISIT system has all but been put on hold.

U.S. Is Dropping Effort to Track if Visitors Leave [NYT, 12.15.2006]
Homeland Security officials have abandoned efforts to develop a system to determine whether foreign visitors leave the country.

The Times says that the reason is both money and technology.

But in recent days, officials at the Homeland Security Department have conceded that they lack the financing and technology to meet their deadline to have exit-monitoring systems at the 50 busiest land border crossings by next December. A vast majority of foreign visitors enter and exit by land from Mexico and Canada, and the policy shift means that officials will remain unable to track the departures.

A GAO report on US-VISIT released this week made a similar assessment.

DHS has not yet articulated how US-VISIT is to align with other emerging land border security initiatives and mandates, and thus cannot ensure that the program will meet strategic program goals and operate cost effectively at land POEs. Knowing how US-VISIT is to work with these initiatives, such as one requiring U.S. citizens, Canadians, and others to present passports or other documents at the border in 2009, is important for understanding the broader strategic context for US-VISIT and identifying resources, tools, and potential facility modifications needed to ensure success.

Of course, these stories come as DHS says it is gong to secure rail and trains. Here is DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff's speech from yesterday.

Meanwhile, on the day that Donald Rumsfeld is set to leave the Pentagon, Army officials are saying they need more people.

Army Will Need to Grow, Chief of Staff Asserts [WP, 12.15.2006]
Top Army general issues his most dire assessment yet. Calls for expansion of war-zone force, lifting Pentagon restrictions on involuntary call-ups.

Posted by Christopher Dorobek on Dec 15, 2006 at 12:15 PM


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