Border officials say they are unprepared to protect nation

Although the 9/11 commission cited the need for increased border security, the majority of the nation's customs and border officials say they are ill-equipped to prevent another terrorist attack, according to a survey planned for release on Monday.

"The vast majority of America's front-line border protection personnel do not believe that they have been given the proper tools, training and support to be effective in stopping potential terrorists from entering the country," a nationwide survey of U.S. Border Patrol agents and Customs and Border Protection officers concludes.

The survey was sponsored by the National Border Patrol Council of the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents about 10,000 non-supervisory Border Patrol employees.

"What the survey is going to reflect are some very specific concerns that the union and the membership has," said Charles Showalter, president of AFGE's National Homeland Security Council. "These are realistic, honest and heart-felt concerns that our membership believes needs to be addressed."

He declined to discuss specific details until the survey is released. The office of Border Patrol became part of the bureau of Customs and Border Protection when the Homeland Security Department was created in 2003.

The 9/11 commission said terrorist travel played a significant role in the Sept. 11 plot, and holes in U.S. immigration and border security contributed to the attacks.

"The challenge for national security in an age of terrorism is to prevent the very few people who may pose overwhelming risks from entering or remaining in the United States undetected," the commission said in its final report. "While commercial aviation remains a possible target, terrorists may turn their attention to other modes. Opportunities to do harm are as great, or greater, in maritime or surface transportation."

During rare congressional hearings this month, members of the 9/11 commission said the government should consider border and immigration issues an integral part of national security, and strengthen border security efforts.

"As a nation we have not fully absorbed the lessons of 9/11 with respect to border security," former Indiana Rep. Lee Hamilton, vice chairman of the commission, told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday. "The need to travel makes terrorists vulnerable. They must leave safe havens, travel clandestinely and use evasive techniques, from alerted travel documents to lies and cover stories."

Hamilton has previously said that terrorists are most vulnerable when they are on the move.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.