Radical budget cuts amounting to about a 50 percent reduction over 4 years forced Customs and Border Protection to use shared and cloud services to a degree previously unthinkable, said CBP Chief Technology Officer Wolfe Tombe while speaking during a panel session of the annual ACT-IAC Management of Change conference.
A House Appropriations subcommittee bill released May 15 would provide the Homeland Security Department with $38.9 billion in discretionary funding for fiscal 2014, a $617.6 million decrease from the fiscal 2013 enacted level. But, based on preliminary scoring from the Congressional Budget Office, that would be a $981 million increase above post-sequestration levels, the committee says in an overview of the bill (.pdf).
The Senate Judiciary Committee continued its consideration of the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act May 14, adopting 15 amendments as it worked through the border security section of the bill and into the section on nonimmigrant visas.
The number of individuals apprehended by the Border Patrol for illegally crossing the border went up slightly in fiscal 2012 but still remains historically low. Customs and Border Protection statistics show (.pdf) that the Border Patrol apprehended 364,678 individuals--a number that apart from the previous fiscal year's total of 340,252, is the lowest since 1972, when the Border Patrol apprehended 396,495 illegal crossers.
The Defense Production Act is a critical, if seldom-used, tool for emergency response and should be reauthorized before it expires at the end of fiscal 2014, David Kaufman of the Federal Emergency Management Agency told a House panel May 8. FEMA's most recent use of the DPA was in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
Alma Cole, until recently the chief systems security officer of Customs and Border Protection--now a vice president at Robbins-Gioia--said the problem of good patch management has shifted from applying Microsoft operating system updates. "The Microsoft patches are not the problem anymore, and it's not what's been attacked as much, anymore," he said, adding that third party applications such as Adobe Reader, Flash and Java are more often now the site of patching problems.
The White House's annual drug control strategy emphasizes efforts along the border to disrupt the drug trade but also the ability of traffickers to adapt to law enforcement measures. Cartels have found their way around law enforcement obstacles through cross-border tunnels, ultralight aircraft and international mail, says the Office of National Drug Control Policy strategy (.pdf), released April 24.
Despite sequestration, the Transportation Security Administration does not intend to furlough any employees, TSA Deputy Administrator John Halinski said April 18. So far, sequestration has also not resulted in longer lines at airport checkpoints, he said at a House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee hearing.
An immigration reform bill proposal unveiled April 17 by a bipartisan group of eight senators would tie a path to citizenship for the nation's 11 million undocumented immigrants to increased border security measures.
President Obama's fiscal 2014 budget request includes $12.9 billion for Customs and Border Protection, a 6.45 percent increase from the estimated fiscal 2013 budget, accounting for inflation. CBP is one of the few Homeland Security Department components to receive an increase in the request.