The Department of Homeland Security conducted a bottom-up review (BUR) in conjunction with the Quadrennial Homeland Security Review (QHSR) to determine the status of America’s homeland security strategy. The QHSR was a first and essential step of a multi-step process to answer key questions regarding what must be done to accomplish the missions of homeland security. (DHS, 2012) The underlying premise of the BUR was the need to also examine programs, plans, structures, and resources from the bottom up. (DHS, 2012) There are 5 mission areas identified in the QHSR: Preventing terrorism and enhancing security, securing and managing our borders, enforcing and administering our immigration laws, safeguarding and securing cyberspace, and ensuring resilience to disasters. The mission area that deals the most with the weaknesses in our nation’s security I have identified, lax border security and security in US ports, is securing and managing our borders. There are five initiatives and enhancements proposed by the DHS to strengthen efforts in securing and managing our borders. DHS will seek to expand joint operations and intelligence capabilities, including enhanced domain awareness, prioritize immigration and customs investigations on the security of global trade and travel systems, enhance the security of global trade and travel systems, expand DHS international border integrity and customs enforcement security assistance, and work closely with the governments of Canada and Mexico to enhance North American security.
The initiative of effectively securing U.S. air, land, and sea borders in paramount in the efforts to prevent transnational criminal or terrorist organizations from exploiting vulnerabilities in our open society, smuggling dangerous people, weapons, or goods into or out of the country, or attacking critical border infrastructure. DHS uses air, land, and marine assets to patrol and secure U.S. borders, as well as sophisticated systems to effectively detect and interdict potential threats beyond our borders. (DHS, 2012) Multiple systems have been evaluated and implemented in support of this initiative within the past year. One system being used to aid in detection is the Low Energy X-Ray Inspection Systems or LEXRIS. The purpose of deploying and operating LEXRIS is to non-intrusively scan vehicles for the presence of contraband, including weapons of mass destruction, explosives, and illicit drugs. (CBP, December 2012) LEXRIS gives CBP a unique capability to detect objects that are not effectively seen by standard searches. LEXRIS allows a more thorough search to be conducted with fewer people and without causing damage to the vehicle being inspected. CBP is also partnering with the Department of Defense (DoD) in an attempt to recycle equipment not being used by the DoD by placing them in service along the border. CBP has added “aerostats”, large, balloon-like devices that would allow CBP personnel to view activity along the border with testing occurring in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. (CBP, August 2012) These are only two examples of the multiple technological improvements made by the DHS to support the QHSR initiative of effectively securing U.S. air, land, and sea borders.

  • CreatedAugust 26, 2013
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