Each of the nation's border regions provides a nexus point where three transnational threats converge: drug trafficking operations, alien and contraband smugglers and terrorist groups.
The border is not merely a physical frontier. Effectively securing it requires attention to processes that begin outside U.S. borders, occur at the border and continue to all interior regions of the U.S.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) views the border as a continuum of activities where the physical border is the last line of defense, not the first. Consequently, CBP's strategies address the threats and challenges along the continuum.
The Office of Air and Marine (OAM) Headquarters component is responsible for the management of all resources, policy direction and execution. Headquarters is also responsible for providing support to the field offices in order to fulfill mission requirements.
Tony Crowder, Director
The Air and Marine Operations Center (AMOC) is the nation's only federal law enforcement center tasked to coordinate interdiction operations in the Western Hemisphere. Located at March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, Calif., the AMOC was established in 1988 as a state-of-the-art law enforcement Domain Awareness center to counter the airborne drug smuggling threat. OAM has expanded the AMOC's role in air and marine interdiction, and today the AMOC provides detection, monitoring, sorting, tracking and coordination of law enforcement response to suspect airborne and maritime activity at, beyond and internal to our nation's borders.
The center has been used to conduct unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and airspace security operations, response to natural disasters, covert and overt electronic target tracking and general aviation aircraft threat determination. The AMOC has acted as the clearinghouse for information and mission tasking during special events, national disasters and crisis situations, such as the Super Bowl, Hurricane Katrina and the 2008 Atlantic Hurricane Season.
The AMOC's staff employs sophisticated systems and technology to identify existing and emerging homeland security threats. Staff use live radar presentations overlaid on detailed topographical maps and aviation charts, extensive law enforcement databases and tracking and communications networks to detect, identify, track and coordinate interdiction of suspect targets. The Domain Awareness system combines Federal Aviation Administration and U.S. Department of Defense radars, OAM airborne systems and other sensors into a single facility, capable of the real-time tracking of more than 24,000 individual targets.
Currently, AMOC is accessing approximately 50 percent of FAA radars and is awaiting FAA permission and authorization to share data from another recently upgraded FAA radar data distribution network. Out of approximately 10,000 air tracks active at any given moment, AMOC investigates more than 25,000 domestic and foreign flights per month to separate legal air traffic from potential violators and terrorists. Staff is then able to precisely direct law enforcement personnel to suspect targets and support prosecutorial efforts.
National Air Security Operations Center-Albuquerque
Russell Batholomew, Director, Air Operations
National Air Security Operations Center - Albuquerque conducts operations throughout the contiguous United States, Puerto Rico and foreign areas. The center utilizes three specially-equipped aircraft and crews to support CBP and other federal agencies, such as U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Aircrews gather and disseminate real-time intelligence regarding narcotic smuggling, human smuggling and terrorist threats.
National Air Security Operations Center-Corpus Christi
Tom Salter, Director, Air Operations
The National Air Security Operations Center - Corpus Christi forms half of the P-3 operations wing, with its partner center in Jacksonville, Fla. Together they fly P-3 aircraft and conduct UAS operations throughout North and South America in defense of the borders of the United States and in active prosecution of attempts to smuggle persons or contraband. Additionally, the center is an active partner with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the U.S. Department of Energy and North America Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) in times of national crisis such as Hurricane Katrina or post-9/11.
National Air Security Operations Center-Grand Forks
James Knoell, Director, Air Operations
National Air Security Operations Center-Grand Forks is the hub for UAS testing, training and initial Northern Border Region operations. This UAS operations center will provide integrated air support for border security missions.
National Air Security Operations Center-Jacksonville
Doug Garner, Director, Air Operations
The National Air Security Operations Center - Jacksonville, forms half of the P-3 operations wing. With its partner center in Corpus Christi, Texas, Jacksonville operates P-3 aircraft throughout North and South America in defense of the borders of the United States and in active prosecution of attempts to smuggle persons or contraband. Additionally, the center is an active partner with FEMA, the U.S. Department of Energy and NORAD in times of national crisis such as Hurricane Katrina or post 9/11.
National Air Security Operations Center-National Capital Region
George Corcoran, Director, Air Operations
The National Air Security Operations Center-National Capital Region is responsible for airborne surveillance support to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; contingency support in the form of Continuity of Operations and Contingency of Government; and airborne law enforcement support for all of Department of Homeland Security, CBP, ICE, and other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The National Capital Region area of responsibility includes Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia and West Virginia.
National Air Security Operations Center-Sierra Vista
Dennis Michelini, Director, Air Operations
National Air Security Operations Center-Sierra Vista is the hub for unmanned aircraft system testing, training and initial Arizona border operations. This UAS operations center provides integrated air support for border security missions.
Eric Rembold, Acting Director
The Office of Air and Marine's (OAM) presence on the Northern Border Region was established August 20, 2004. The Northern Border Region operating environment differs appreciably from other borders and requires a different law enforcement approach. Northern Border Region locations were chosen with the strategic goal of providing an efficient and appropriate interdiction/law enforcement response to criminal activity.
The Northern Border Region is defined as the area between the U.S. and Canada, running from Washington State through Maine, including the Great Lakes region. The terrain, which ranges from densely forested lands on the west and east coasts to open plains in the middle of the country, is comprised of sparsely populated federal, state and tribal lands along the immediate border area.
Bellingham Air and Marine Branch
David Dunn, Director, Air Operations
Mike Hoffman, Director, Marine Operations
The Bellingham Air and Marine Branch is responsible for more than 90 miles of land border and 164 miles of water border with Canada. One of the unique challenges faced in the Northern Border Region is bi-directional smuggling, with contraband moving in and out of both countries.
Buffalo Air and Marine Branch
Daniel S. Meagher, Director, Air Operations
Tom D. Rockwood, Director, Marine Operations
The Buffalo Air and Marine Branch is responsible for covering more than 340 linear miles of maritime international border on the Niagara River, St. Lawrence Seaway and Great Lakes of Erie and Ontario. OAM aircraft and marine vessels are a primary deterrent of illegal activity on the border and focus on the core mission of preventing terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering the U.S.
Great Lakes Air and Marine Branch
Mike Bishop, Acting Director, Air Operations
Brandon Snader, Director, Marine Operations
The Great Lakes Air and Marine Branch provides primary aviation and marine support to the Border Patrol's Detroit Sector, which is responsible for securing more than 860 miles of international border between Canada and the U.S.
Houlton Air Branch
James Peters, Director, Air Operations
The Houlton Air Branch's area of responsibility includes the entire state of Maine. The branch supports six Border Patrol stations and the Houlton U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office. The branch monitors more than 600 miles of land/river border and more than 200 miles of north Atlantic coast. Approximately 70 percent of the area of responsibility is comprised of heavily forested, mountainous wilderness.
Montana Air Branch
Trevor Buhler, Director, Air Operations
The Montana Air Branch is responsible for providing air interdiction, air surveillance support and air patrol to the Border Patrol and all other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.
North Dakota Air Branch
Greg Abner, Acting Director, Air Operations
The North Dakota Air Branch is responsible for providing air interdiction, air surveillance and air patrol support to the Border Patrol and all other federal, tribal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. The North Dakota Air Branch area of responsibility mirrors the Office of Border Patrol’s Grand Forks Sector area of operations which consists of 861 miles of international border and 8 states.
Plattsburgh Air Branch
Rick Bowman, Director, Air Operations
The Plattsburgh Air Branch is responsible for providing air interdiction, air surveillance support and air patrol support to the Border Patrol's Swanton Sector, and other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The area of operations for air interdiction and high altitude surveillance support covers the entire northeastern U.S.
Spokane Air Branch
Charles Simpson, Director, Air Operations
The primary mission of the Spokane Air Branch is to support the Border Patrol along the Northern Border Region from the Palisades in the west to Glacier National Park Area to the east. The branch provides support to ICE in both Idaho and southern Washington, as requested.
Nicholas Doucet, Director
With more than 2,000 miles of border, the sheer amount of area covered in the Southeast Border Region makes aircraft coupled with surface interdiction assets and ground agents a force multiplier to effectively counter all threats. Threats include combined aerial and maritime smuggling effort originating from the Yucatan and the Caribbean islands, such as Jamaica and Hispaniola, proceeding to islands in the southern Bahamas and Florida's western coast that moves the contraband to the United States. The areas of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are at the forefront of the threat consisting primarily of illegal alien and narcotics smuggling via marine vessels.
Caribbean Air and Marine Branch
Johnny Morales, Director, Air Operations
Scott Moore, Director, Marine Operations
The Caribbean Air and Marine Branch is the only federal law enforcement agency in the Caribbean Basin with integrated air and marine interdiction capabilities. It is charged with detection and interdiction of airborne and maritime smuggling and uses organic radar facilities to detect and intercept air smuggling attempts, and airborne radar tracking aircraft to detect maritime smugglers.
Jacksonville Air and Marine Branch
John Ducote, Acting Director, Air Operations
Hunter Davis, Director, Marine Operations
The Jacksonville Air and Marine Branch provides support to ensure the security of the nation's southeastern region. The branch accomplishes this mission through the detection, identification and apprehension foreign and domestic terrorist and smuggling threats.
Miami Air and Marine Branch
Leslie Jones, Director, Air Operations
Noel Manheimer, Director, Marine Operations
The Miami Air and Marine Branch provides rapid air and marine response capabilities to address imposing threats to the southeastern United States. Mission sets include the detection, disruption and deterrence of illegal immigration, illicit drug trafficking, weapons trade and terrorist activity by utilizing a coordinated effort of air, marine and land law enforcement assets from the various federal, state, local and tribal agencies in south Florida.
New Orleans Air and Marine Branch
Francisco Rodriguez, Director, Air Operations
Tony Arevalo, Director, Marine Operations
The New Orleans Air and Marine Branch has rapid launch capability to the Gulf of Mexico bordering the U.S. The branch's primary enforcement efforts target criminals engaged in illegal immigration, drug trafficking and terrorist-related incidents.
Martin Vaughan, Director
Spanning more than 2,000 miles, the Southwest Border Region with Mexico includes extremely harsh and inhospitable terrain that represents a significant challenge to border security. The border provides a nexus point where three transnational threats converge: drug trafficking, alien smuggling and terrorism. The threat along the Southwest Border Region can be grouped by mode of transportation and type of suspect activity. While currently limited, aerial smuggling of narcotics and illegal aliens involves suspect aircraft that originate in northern Mexico crossing the Southwest Border Region with no correlating radar detection or authorization. OAM in the Southwest Border Region has been a long-standing deterrent to the alien, drug, and terrorist smuggling threat.
Alpine Air Branch
Clay Tippit, Director, Air Operations
The Alpine Air Branch's primary area of operations is a high desert with isolated mountainous terrain, deep canyons and remote areas accessible only by aircraft. The branch provides aviation support to numerous federal, state and local law enforcement agencies throughout the Big Bend area of West Texas. The branch provides this support covering more than 500 miles of the Southwest Border Region. A large focus of the Alpine Air Branch's mission is to support the stations within the Border Patrol Marfa Sector in their efforts to interdict those illegally entering the country.
Del Rio Air Branch
Brian Thomas, Acting Director, Air Operations
The Del Rio Air Branch's area of responsibility covers more than 200 miles of international border with Mexico. The branch also supports ICE and local law enforcement throughout the region.
El Centro Air Branch
Bob Baker, Director, Air Operations
The El Centro Air Branch provides air support for federal, state and local agencies engaged in law enforcement in the Imperial Valley of Southern California.
El Paso Air Branch
Rudy Maldonado, Director, Air Operations
The El Paso Air Branch is a complex, multi-prong anti-terrorism operation with air units located in El Paso, Albuquerque and Deming, New Mexico. The branch's area of responsibility corresponds to the boundaries of the Border Patrol's El Paso Sector beginning at the New Mexico-Arizona border and east to the Sierra Blanca Mountain Range, near Sierra Blanca, Texas.
Houston Air and Marine Branch
Chad Bull, Acting Director, Air Operations
J. Ashly Fenton, Director, Marine Operations
As a critical operational field site for CBP, the Houston Air and Marine Branch focuses on the CBP coastal mission, port and coastal border security and ICE support within the Rio Grande Valley area of responsibility and the metro Houston area.
Laredo Air Branch
Troy Meridith, Director, Air Operations
The Laredo Air Branch is responsible for more than 170 miles of international border with Mexico. The area of operations extends along the Rio Grande River from the Dimmit County line southward to the Falcon Dam in Zapata, Texas, and reaches as far north as Dallas.
McAllen Air and Marine Branch
Allen Durham, Director, Air Operations
Matthew G. Reichle, Director, Marine Operations
The McAllen Air and Marine Branch’s operational area of responsibility covers 315 miles of Texas/Mexico Border, 117 miles of the Gulf of Mexico coastline, and areas from the mouth of the Rio Grande to Falcon Lake west to Corpus Christi, Texas. The branch provides an integrated air and marine response capability in support of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s anti-terrorism mission. The McAllen Air and Marine Branch also supports the U.S. Border Patrol, ICE, and other federal, state and local enforcement agencies.
San Diego Air and Marine Branch
William Raymond, Director, Air Operations
Keley Hill, Director, Marine Operations
The San Diego Air and Marine Branch is responsible for defending our international land and sea border from terrorists, illegal alien crossings and the smuggling of contraband. The branch provides around-the-clock support to the Border Patrol and Field Operations. In addition, the branch closely supports U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement offices throughout California.
Tucson Air Branch
Mitch Pribble, Director, Air Operations
The Tucson Air Branch is responsible for more than 365 miles of border with Mexico. The area of responsibility extends north to Nevada and Utah using the eastern and western state boundaries of Arizona as lateral limits. The state comprises more than 114,000 square miles of sparsely populated areas in the west desert and border areas where most aviation efforts are concentrated against narcotic and human smuggling.
Yuma Air Branch
Martin Miles, Director, Air Operations
The Yuma Air Branch is responsible for patrolling more than 125 miles of international border in both California and Arizona.