Combating the Rise of Transnational Criminal Organizations
Crime, corruption, and violence – particularly involving drug, human, and weapons trafficking – continue to increase at an alarming rate in the U.S. Transnational Criminal Organizations (TCOs) are a critical part of this trend and pose a serious and growing threat to homeland security – at our borders and beyond.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is at the tip of the spear to combat TCOs. With the context that the first goal in their Vision and Strategy 2020 Strategic Plan is Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime, CBP is focusing on disrupting TCOs responsible for the cross-border trafficking of illegal drugs, humans, and guns.
Part of CBP’s strategy is building partnerships across the Federal, state, and local homeland security mission space that integrates law enforcement capabilities along the border. For example, CBP is the executive agent for the Joint Task Force – West under the DHS Southern Border and Approaches Campaign. CBP provides senior leadership and guidance to the multi-agency operations along the southwest border in the fight against TCOs, using the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) collective assets and capabilities to disrupt and dismantle TCO threats.
These efforts represent an opportunity for CBP to expand its intelligence and information sharing efforts to more effectively thwart TCO operations. In particular, CBP can focus on:
- Employing existing DHS-wide information sharing platforms and systems, to coordinate more effectively with Federal law enforcement agencies both within and outside of DHS
- Using analytical and intelligence systems, such as CBP’s Analytical Framework for Intelligence (AFI) system, to better identify, apprehend, and prosecute individuals with ties to TCOs
- Continue to strengthen partnerships not only with state, local, and tribal law enforcement and intelligence agencies but also with international agencies to create long-term strategies to mitigate TCO threats
- Maturing processes and changing mindsets to more effectively manage information sharing and create more open lines of communication between law enforcement agencies
- Enhancing internal communication through improved technologies and streamlined processes to share information more efficiently with personnel in the field to reduce possible threat response times
While the building blocks exist to disrupt TCO operations, such organizations are constantly growing and evolving. CBP must continue its leadership role in DHS to dismantle TCOs – strategically through intelligence and operationally through information sharing.
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