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.
Air and Marine Operations (AMO) Headquarters 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.
Air and Marine Operations Center
Richard Booth, 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, California, the AMOC was established in 1988 as a state-of-the-art law enforcement Domain Awareness center to counter the airborne drug smuggling threat. AMO 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, AMO 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
John Miller, Director
National Air Security Operations Center-Albuquerque
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
The National Air Security Operations Center - Corpus Christi forms half of the P-3 operations wing, with its partner center in Jacksonville, Florida. 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
National Air Security Operations-Grand Forks (NASOC-GF) operates fixed and rotary-wing aircraft and unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) from Grand Forks Air Force Base. NASOC-GF conducts initial and recurrent UAS training, and enforcement operations with manned and unmanned aircraft. Additionally, NASOC-GF aids in disaster relief and emergency response efforts of its federal, state, local and tribal partners.
National Air Security Operations Center-Jacksonville
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-Sierra Vista
National Air Security Operations Center –Sierra Vista (NASOC-SV) operates the MQ-9 Predator B unmanned aircraft system (UAS), a national strategic asset, from Libby Army Airfield at Fort Huachuca, Arizona. Established in 2005 as CBP’s first operational UAS site, NASOC-SV conducts UAS operations along the U.S. southern border while working in partnership with Joint Task Force – West, as part of DHS’ Southern Border and Approaches Campaign. Utilizing an onboard electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensor and radar system, the UAS streams real-time actionable video and radar data to interdiction assets, providing them with critical situational awareness of ongoing tactical events occurring in both the land and sea domains. NASOC-SV operates the MQ-9 in various equipment configurations, including the Northrup Grumman Vehicle and Dismount Exploitation Radar (VADER) and the Raytheon SeaVue maritime surveillance radar.
National Air Security Operations Center-San Angelo
National Air Security Operations Center–San Angelo (NASOC–SA) operates unmanned and fixed-wing aircraft from Mathis Airfield in San Angelo, Texas. Established in 2018 as a permanent operational site for the MQ-9 unmanned aircraft system (UAS), NASOC–SA primarily conducts UAS operations along the U.S.–Mexico border in partnership with Joint Task Force–West as a strategic asset to DHS’s Southern Border and Approaches Campaign. Additionally, NASOC-SA operates a fleet of Pilatus PC-12 medium-range manned aircraft capable of high-altitude detection and surveillance for federal, state, local, and tribal investigative support operations.
Robert Blanchard, Director
AMO's presence on the Northern Region was established August 20, 2004. The Northern Region operating environment differs appreciably from other borders and requires a different law enforcement approach. Northern Region locations were chosen with the strategic goal of providing an efficient and appropriate interdiction/law enforcement response to criminal activity.
The Northern 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
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.
Great Lakes Air and Marine Branch
The Great Lakes Air and Marine Branch provides primary aviation and marine response capabilities 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.
Manassas Air Branch
The Manassas Air Branch conducts security missions for events designated as National Special Security Events or given Special Event Assessment Ratings. It is also responsible for conducting airborne surveillance missions for federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies.
John Priddy, Director
With more than 2,000 miles of border, the sheer amount of area covered in the Southeast 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
The Caribbean Air and Marine Branch is the only federal law enforcement organization 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
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
The Miami Air and Marine Branch provides rapid air and marine response capabilities to address imposing threats to the southeastern United States. This includes detection, disruption and deterrence of illegal immigration, illicit drug trafficking, weapons trade and terrorist activity by utilizing a coordinated effort of air and marine assets, and working with our federal, state, local and tribal partners in south Florida.
New Orleans Air and Marine Branch
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.
Keith Jones, Director
Spanning more than 2,000 miles, the Southwest 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 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 Region with no correlating radar detection or authorization. AMO in the Southwest Region has been a long-standing deterrent to the alien, drug, and terrorist smuggling threat.
El Paso Air Branch
The El Paso Air Branch is a complex, multi-prong anti-terrorism operation with air units located in El Paso and Alpine, Texas and Deming, New Mexico. The branch's area of responsibility corresponds to the boundaries of the U.S. 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.
Laredo Air Branch
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
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
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 air and marine response capabilities 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
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.
Uvalde Air Branch
The Uvalde Air Branch's area of responsibility covers more than 200 miles of international border with Mexico. The branch primarily partners with the U.S. Border Patrol, U.S. Coast Guard and local law enforcement agencies throughout the region.
Yuma Air Branch
The Yuma Air Branch is responsible for patrolling more than 125 miles of international border in both California and Arizona.