Automated maritime detection would help secure Northern Border

Alan Carr’s research in Technology for Homeland Security resulted in a case study titled, “How Technology is Helping Secure the Northern Border.”
Carr’s paper detailed the technology used in monitoring the U.S. border with Canada.
The research covered two main areas: Technology to improve interoperability between the array of U.S. and Canadian agencies involved with border control; and detection technology in use and including ideas for how some technologies might be expanded.  
Based on his experience in the Coast Guard, Carr examined how License-Plate Reader (LPR) technology used on automobiles could benefit maritime operations on the Great Lakes.
“I think the License-Plate Reader Technology would be much more automated and free up people to deal with only those boats that kind of stand out,” said Carr, who is now Lead Management and Program Analyst with Customs and Border Protection.
Conclusions in the paper urged the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to continue its efforts in crafting a consolidated strategy for securing the northern border, with a particular emphasis on embracing LPR technology. That technology enables law enforcement to quickly determine any history of a vehicle, such as outstanding warrants.

1) Carr’s analysis of technology for improving interoperability centered on improving the ability to share data and communications among U.S. and Canadian agencies. Organizationally, components within DHS have continued to expand the use of Integrated Border Enforcement Teams (IBETs) and Border Enforcement Security Task Force (BEST). These organizations have successfully co-located agencies and have improved the ability to share information and coordinate operations. However, the agencies involved struggled early on with sharing data and most communications had to follow the operational chain of command because cross component communications were often incompatible.   

2) The integrated concept continues to expand. Currently there are 23 offices located in 15 IBET regions along the U.S./Canada border. There are plans to extend this interoperability communication project across the U.S.-Canadian border.

3) In addition, funding is being pursued to improve detection capabilities.  In June 2009 testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Jayson Ahern, Acting Commissioner, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, requested $20 million to assist Customs and Border Protection in protecting the Northern Border. The funds would be used for support the design, deployment, and integration of surveillance, sensing platforms, detection technologies and tactical infrastructure requirements. This technology will serve as a force multiplier and increase the probability of successful detection. The systems capability will provide increased detection and a higher probability of successful detection.
Thus far,  there is no indication that License Plate Reader Technology is being considered for expanded use in the maritime arena to help with detecting potential smugglers on the Great Lakes, Carr said. However, he believes this technology remains a viable possibility for the future. The commitment would have to be made to build the database of information on boats in the region as well as hardware on law enforcement boats that would be needed for the detection. 


Associated file: Paper: Case Study: How Technology Can Be Used to Help Secure the Northern Border

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