Secretary Napolitano visits Tucson
TUCSON, ARIZ.—Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano spent the Washington's Birthday holiday getting an overview of Customs and Border Protection operations in Arizona with Acting CBP Commissioner David Aguilar. After spending the previous day in Scottsdale, Ariz., Napolitano travelled to Tucson for a close-up look at how joint integration is working within the recently established Joint Field Command-Arizona (JFC-AZ).
Napolitano and Aguilar were briefed on how the JFC-AZ has exercised operational control of assigned CBP forces and assets within Arizona in order to increase CBP operational effectiveness through improved mission integration, organizational responsiveness, resource allocation and decision making capability. She was provided examples of such successes as the application of consequence delivery programs, anti-gang initiatives and integration of joint operations.
After the initial briefing, Napolitano attended a muster at the Tucson Border Patrol Station where she addressed a mixed crowd of Border Patrol agents, CBP officers and Air interdiction agents. She thanked them for their efforts in Arizona.
"As head of this department, I have overall responsibility for the security of our nation's border to ensure people do not enter our country illegally and with any contraband," she said. "Arizona's border is becoming more secure as a direct result of your commendable efforts and I just wanted to thank you personally."
Aguilar took several questions following Napolitano's comments. Questions covered upcoming changes to pay; more specifically uncontrollable overtime (AOU) and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). He assured everyone they will not be affected financially.
"You will be compensated for every hour you work," he said. "We are working on a system that will ensure you are not affected adversely; it's just that it may not be called AOU."
Following the muster, Napolitano and Aguilar were given a tour of the Common Operating Picture/Command and Control Facility where Border Patrol agents monitor cameras and radar systems to detect illicit cross-border activity.
Napolitano and Aguilar wrapped up their visit with a JFC-AZ intelligence integration presentation where they were briefed on how CBP's intelligence cycle was implemented to effectively link intelligence collection to provide a timely and accurate picture of the operating environment to the field.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.