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“Vigilance” is defined as “the action or state of keeping careful watch for possible danger or difficulties.” It is also one of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s core values. We all have adopted a more vigilant attitude as our world becomes an increasingly dangerous place, and recent events in New York, New Jersey, and Minnesota underscore the importance of remaining vigilant.

Freedom Tower at the World Trade Center in NYC
One World Trade Center (also called 
"Freedom Tower") in New York City 
(Photo Credit: James Tourtellotte)

Our nation recently marked the 15th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of what has become known as “9/11.” We all remember where we were that day, and we watched in horror as the news unfolded about the most devastating terrorist attack in modern history and the deadliest foreign attack on U.S. soil.

On Sept. 9, I was honored to stand with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on the 63rd floor of One World Trade Center – also known as the Freedom Tower. That ceremony marked the return of the federal government – including CBP – to Lower Manhattan.

A few days later, I was proud to celebrate the formal opening of CBP’s new National Targeting Center (NTC). The NTC is the embodiment of “vigilance,” and it is key to CBP’s national security mission. It works closely with other law enforcement and intelligence agencies, sharing and combing through information with cutting-edge technology and analytical tools. Around the clock, NTC employees check and recheck information to keep our country safe, carefully analyzing information about incoming passengers and cargo before they reach our shores.

The 9/11 attacks indelibly marked a generation and changed our world in countless ways. They stiffened our resolve to stand united against future threats. Thanks to the NTC and the brave men and women of CBP, we remain ever vigilant against terrorism and other threats to our homeland.

Last Modified: April 7, 2021