Northern Border Strategy says international trade reinforces security
Success of the first-ever Homeland Security Department northern border strategy will be measured not just by "seizures, interdictions, arrests, or investigations" but by how well the department facilitates international trade and travel between the United States and Canada.
The strategy (.pdf), publicly released June 5, continues to emphasize antiterrorist and law enforcement border efforts as the first goal of DHS engagement along the Canadian border, but says that the strategy is "built on the premise that security and lawful trade and travel are mutually reinforcing."
Canada is the United States' largest goods export market, with $597 billion worth of products crossing both ways along the northern border in 2011, according to the U.S. Trade Representative.
As a result, how well DHS assists in the flow of legal goods and people across the border must be a metric of plan implementation, the document says.
The document notes that border metrics typically depend on out-based measures, such the number of people and vehicles inspected at border crossings and the volume of trade processed.
But, output-based measures "do not capture the impact government activities provide to the general public," the strategy states, and so DHS will also use outcome-based indicators to estimate the efficiency of border crossing, such as individual wait times and queue lengths.
It will also look at process-based metrics that measure the degree of cooperating and sharing activities between enforcement and security agencies.
Customs and Border Protection was due earlier this year to unveil a new metric to measure border security to replace the now-abandoned "operational control" measure--which described areas where CBP conducts continuous detection and interdiction with a high probability of immediate apprehension.
However, during congressional testimony in May, Border Patrol Chief Michael Fisher said a border security metric should be ready by around the start of calendar year 2013.
The new northern border strategy is consistent with a "shared vision" (.pdf) for border security signed by President Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in February 2011, DHS states in a fact sheet.
- download the Northern Border Strategy (.pdf)
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