DHS lacks timetable for monitoring visitor departures

There is no estimate yet for when a Homeland Security Department program to track visitors to the United States will be able to verify departures, one of the program's managers said Thursday.

Robert Mocny, deputy director for US VISIT, said officials are slowly and deliberately tailoring the program to meet DHS' needs, but the exit tracking component is "not ready for prime time yet." The program was established three years ago but so far only keeps tabs on entries.

Mocny spoke about the effort in an address at the Border Trade Alliance regional conference in Washington. Trade officials expressed concerns Thursday that implementing an inefficient version of US VISIT to verify departures could cause delays at airports, further hindering the travel industry.

But that argument is unlikely to sit well with lawmakers. At a recent hearing, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, pledged to review the department's management of US VISIT.

At the conference Thursday, Mocny mentioned the possibility of using radio frequency identification technology for US VISIT's exit component. Visitors passing through border tolls could then swipe an RFID chip to confirm their departure, he said.

There's a possibility US VISIT will move away from using identification cards entirely, Mocny said. "If your finger can be your card, why not?" he asked conference attendees. "You can create a fake card."

Initially, US VISIT's biometric components were going to be isolated from other departmental work, according to Mocny. But the program has turned into a "technology hub," he said, providing identity services for the entire department, including the Transportation Security Administration, Coast Guard, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau.

Meanwhile, addressing a separate identification issue, Kathy Kraninger, director of DHS' Office of Screening and Coordination, told trade representatives that some of the department's processes and background checks for international truckers are "duplicative." She said the procedures were necessary, especially for security purposes, but DHS continues to refine its procedural guidelines.

"Where we are now is not where we want to be long term," she said.

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

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

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    Download
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    Download

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