New CBP border security metric now set for 2014

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Correction appended.

Customs and Border Protection officials say the agency's new metric to characterize border security won't be ready until 2014, said Cathleen Berrick, managing director of homeland security and justice issues at the Government Accountability Office. Berrick was a witness during a Feb. 15 hearing of the House Homeland Security subcommittee on oversight and management efficiency.

CBP retired its old 5-level metric at whose apex was "operational control" in 2010. Operational control, which meant that CBP conducted continuous detection and interdiction with a high probability of immediate apprehension. Lower levels didn't mean "lack of control," but critics of Obama administration border security efforts utilized the terminology to imply that was the case. Meanwhile, as it develops its new metric--which it originally planned to have ready by February 2012--CBP uses apprehensions along the border as its effectiveness measure, "which we don't feel is a great measure," Berrick said.

In related news, CBP also announced Feb. 14 that it anticipates fielding integrated fixed tower capability demonstrations this spring and awarding a contract by Sept. 30. 

Correction Feb. 21, 2013: An earlier version of this story misstated the number of miles CBP has said it had under operational control. The GAO in a 2011 report said the Border Patrol reported increasing the number of southwestern border miles under operational control by on average 126 miles each year from fiscal 2005 through fiscal 2010.

For more:
- go to the hearing webpage (prepared testimonies and webcast available)

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