“CBP P-3s based in Jacksonville, Florida and Corpus
Christi, Texas contributed to the seizure of over 210,779 pounds (105 tons) of illegal drugs – over 38,600 more pounds (19 tons) than last year,” says Assistant Secretary of Policy for Homeland Security in his May 11 testimony to a congressional committee. But did you know that border security is also busy preventing illegal exports? According to the Assistant Secretary, there were 5,670 investigations into “illegal exports” in FY ’05.
Beyond these stunning facts, the testimony speaks to a high velocity of reoganization in border matters, with a few hot nodes to watch. Most interesting as a node in play is the Program Executive Officer (PEO) of the Secure Border Initiative:
PEO will establish the proper foundation that will enable DHS components to create and maintain a functional and seamless network of capabilities that control the border and disrupt and dismantle the continuum of border crime into the interior of the United States.
The plain language indicates that this office will be the handoff point when Homeland Security awards its multi-billion dollar SBInet Contract in the Fall. A fine node for considering the confluence of big biz and border policy.
We bet that a fine stack of paper is collecting around the activities of the ICE-CBP Coordination Council, which we would prefer to call the council of de-confliction:
The Council meets regularly to proactively consider and address issues to better coordinate and resolve operational and policy matters and to monitor implementation of Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs), among other things. The Council reports to the Secretary on outstanding issues, resolutions, and
disagreements that require further direction or de-confliction. The Council also interacts closely with the Assistant Secretary for Policy, the Director of Operations Coordination and the Chief Intelligence Officer.
The Council is co-chaired by the leaders of each agency, and membership includes the heads of the main operational divisions and main policy and planning arms of both ICE and CBP. The Council’s ongoing mission is to identify and address areas
where greater cooperation can enhance mutual achievement of our missions and be proactive in fostering improved coordination efforts. It addresses a revolving agenda of ICE-CBP touch points, developing, as appropriate and necessary, interagency policies, prioritizations, and procedures to better guide ICE and CBP interactions and
communicate roles and responsibilities in those matters.
During a Council meeting in February, for example, ICE and CBP agreed to issue a joint memorandum to clarify and reinforce key components of the
existing policies by which CBP refers cases to ICE for investigation and to ensure that enforcement results are routinely and effectively shared between the two agencies. The signatories of this memorandum will be Acting Commissioner Spero and Assistant
Secretary Myers, prior to its distribution to the field.
Together ICE and CBP have generated many cooperative successes in the last two years, such as Operation ICE Storm, Operation Texas Hold ‘Em, the ABC Initiative, the LAX Initiative, and the Expedited
Removal Working Group.