Homeland Security Advised to Put Agency Border Assignments in Writing

A CBP vehicle patrols the Arizona/Mexico border in 2011. A CBP vehicle patrols the Arizona/Mexico border in 2011. United States Customs and Border Protection file photo

The Homeland Security Department’s efforts to effectively deploy resources to enforce the permeable Southwestern border have suffered from the lack of written agreements with a dozen partner agencies, the Government Accountability Office determined.

The report dated June 27 comes in the midst of a crisis where thousands of unaccompanied children fleeing violence and deprivation in Central America have amassed in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and California. The minors have been misinformed about high prospects for being reunited with relatives in the United States.

“Opportunities exist to strengthen collaborative mechanisms along the Southwest border,” auditors found after reviewing for the past year DHS’ Joint Field Command, which manages Customs and Border Protection resources in coordination with other federal and state agencies. The report, requested by House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said that while detailed and regularly reported performance measures are in place, the agencies are facing “resource management challenges” and “limited sharing of best practices across mechanisms.”

The multi-agency approach is intended to improve intelligence and other information sharing to help allocate resources effectively against changing threats to border enforcement.

Joint Field Command officials “noted that the establishment of the JFC was a major realignment of CBP operations in Arizona as well as a cultural change for personnel in the field. The officials noted that field-level resistance to the JFC is not unexpected given the massive undertaking of the realignment, and that the components are now recognizing the benefits of the JFC.”

Auditors noted that “DHS has not established written agreements with partners in the [Alliance to Combat Transnational Threats] and [South Texas Campaign] Unified Command—the entity within STC used for coordinating activities among federal and state agencies—consistent with best practices for sustaining effective collaboration.”

GAO recommended that Homeland Security establish written agreements with the dozen agencies to better share best practices and allocate resources. DHS agreed.

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:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

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