Department of Homeland Security Publishes Goals to Ensure Security at the Northern Border
On June 12, 2018, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a document titled the DHS Northern Border Strategy. This document published findings of the assessment DHS conducted in 2017 regarding security issues and concerns at the U.S. border with Canada.
While DHS concluded that the Northern Border faced more limited threats compared to the Southern Border, there nevertheless remain some concerns. This document presents DHS’s three main goals, along with additional objectives and instructions that will help accomplish these goals. DHS aims to implement this plan in fiscal year 2020 and reexamine it every five years for updates.
The Northern Border Strategy aims to safeguard the Northern Border against terrorist and criminal threats, facilitate the flow of lawful cross-border trade and travel and strengthen cross-border resilience. These efforts will be coordinated between federal, state, local, tribal and Canadian entities. DHS notes that the main concern at the Canadian border is the bi-directional flow of drugs, although there are other issues present such as active transnational criminal organizations (TCOs).
The first goal presented in this document is to enhance security operations at the Canadian border. DHS proposes to accomplish this goal in several ways. First. The U.S. and Canada must foster the timely exchange of information of cross-border terrorism and illicit activity by developing bilateral intelligence consultations and sharing intelligence products. DHS also recommends improving sensor integration and analysis at ports of entry (POEs) and more remote areas of the border. Increasing joint operations and task forces is another way to help ensure border security in the future.
DHS’s second goal is to facilitate and safeguard lawful trade and travel between the two countries. A major security issue continues to be shared waterways between the U.S. and Canada. One plan to help reduce this issue is to develop small vessel and recreational boater detection, identification and screening programs. Promoting participation in trusted traveler and prescreening programs are additional ways to ensure border security. This document also stresses the importance of enhancing screening and detection technologies and improving processes that identify high-risk importers to enable a fair-trade environment between the two countries.
Lastly, DHS aims to promote cross-border resilience through several measures. One of DHS’s main points is that it is crucial to improve cross-border disaster information-sharing mechanisms for emergency management, public health, medical and critical infrastructure. Alongside this is the importance of supporting and enhancing cross-border response and recovery capabilities for incidents such as terrorist attacks and natural disasters.
DHS will use these goals and implementation mechanisms to decide how to apportion resources in the effort to ensure the continued border security and cultural, social and economic ties between the U.S. and Canada.
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