Using Intelligence to Identify Border Threats
The United States confronts a wide array of threats. Terrorism. Transnational criminal organizations. Drug and weapons smuggling. Human trafficking. Cybercrime. And the ongoing challenge of illegal migration across U.S. borders.
Given this diversity of threats, how does the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) establish its priorities and allocate its scarce enforcement resources to effectively protect our borders?
DHS strategy must take into account the nearly 7,500 miles of shared border with Mexico and Canada, more than 12,000 miles of Atlantic and Pacific coastlines, and all of America’s airspace. Its strategy must not only be effective against the illegal entry of “people and things”, but also against the increasingly sophisticated tactics used to elude lawful inspection at more than 300 ports-of-entry located throughout the United States. It is a monumental task.
So how does DHS accomplish it? One key tool is intelligence. The absence of timely and accurate intelligence would make it extremely difficult for DHS to identify threats to the homeland and implement risk-based and intelligence-driven strategies. A risk-based and layered operational approach that is driven by intelligence is the centerpiece of DHS’ strategy to focus its resources against public safety and national security risks, while also facilitating the lawful entry of people and cargo that pose no risks to the country.
DHS is one of 17 federal agencies in the United States Intelligence Community (IC) and is an essential partner in the sharing and developing of intelligence information. A threat analysis is created and used by the government to adapt to new and emerging threats. In addition to being a member of the IC, the DHS Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) office leads the Department’s Intelligence Enterprise.
The Intelligence Enterprise enables DHS to refine its internal threat analysis and adjust its operations to meet unique agency missions. In November 2014, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson directed the creation of the Southern Border and Approaches Campaign, which is a multi-agency approach to improve how the Department protects the homeland across our borders. The use of intelligence-driven strategies is a crucial component to the Campaign’s effectiveness.
Intelligence is essential to DHS’ ability to protect America and effectively use its resources to prevent and disrupt public safety and national security risks.