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  4. Artificial Intelligence to Harness Key Insights at CBP

Artificial Intelligence to Harness Key Insights at CBP

Release Date
Fri, 03/24/2023

Data is an asset to the U.S Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) mission and effectively harnessing key insights that this data offers in a timely fashion provides immense value for the safety of the nation and the ability to fulfill CBP’s mission.

Infographic depicts what artificial intelligence is helping to capture at CBP on a typical day:  491,688 passengers and pedestrians; 159,598 privately owned vehicles; 89,458 truck, rail, and sea containers; $7.6 billion worth of imported products; $9,000,000 of products with IP rights violations; 4,732 pounds of drugs; 101,000 entries of merchandise; 7 fraudulent documents; 25 arrests of wanted criminals; 264 pests at U.S. ports of entry; 732 refusals of inadmissible persons; $342,000 of illicit currency seized; $256,000,000 in duties, taxes and other fees; and, 2,548 materials for quarantine. The lower half depicts the global operations across 48 countries, 328 ports of entry within 20 field offices, 135 Border Patrol stations within 21 sectors and 36 checkpoints, and 74 Air and Marine Operations locations

To achieve this enormous task, CBP has embraced the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to directly support fulfilling its mission across the enterprise. The Office of Information and Technology operates to provide IT products and services faster, better, more affordably and more securely at the speed of CBP’s 24/7 mission. The Office of Information and Technology implemented the enterprise AI Machine Learning Center of Excellence to lead strategic transformation, tactical mission operations excellence and innovation with data for CBP’s daily mission in multiple use cases, while seeking to establish commensurate governance and ethical oversight approaches in this new, powerful technology.

This image depicts and describes the way that AI allows CBP to fulfill its mission. The image in the top right shows a CBP officer utilizing AI to manage threat analysis and reads "More Time For Critical Threat Analysis: CBP personnel are facing a constant cognitive burned in order to monitor the sheer volume of incoming data streams on live screen -- much of which is repetitive and rote. This results in experienced personnel devoting less and less time on deeper threat analysis interactions and activities.

We are working to evolve CBP to a more data-driven organization where CBP is rapidly expanding and accelerating the operational use of AI smartly across the entire agency to achieve real mission outcomes guided by responsible AI principles.

Artificial Intelligence Center of Innovation

In 2022, the CBP established the AI Center of Innovation to rapidly build a scalable foundation that leverages AI and exploits the terabytes of data CBP captures for its toughest mission problems. Partnering with the larger AI community, to include industry, academia, other government organizations, the CBP team of data scientists and data engineers works closely across CBP to assess technologies, processes, and tools that support data enrichment, annotation, ecosystem, and AI solutions that can be scaled for the CBP enterprise. For example:

  • Video and image redaction. Building object detection models to automatically identify frames where objects are detected, label the detected object, and perform redaction on frames that contain sensitive information (e.g., personally identifiable information).
  • Object identification in streaming video. Deployment of AI models to cameras to automatically detect and track after-hours activities, providing real-time alerts to operators and increasing the effectiveness of existing surveillance platforms and decreasing cognitive load of CBP personnel.
  • Increased efficiency and throughput. Better detection by reducing false positives for inspection. Deployment of AI models to assist CBP officers screening for contraband and anomaly detection in passenger vehicles and cargo conveyances.
  • Data categories and labels. Data annotation provides data with contextual elements like categories and labels, which machines can read and act upon to produce higher-quality results for search queries and analysis.

People are at the core of CBP’s mission prioritize “Responsible AI,” which means employing AI in a manner that respects human dignity, rights, and freedoms. CBP provides appropriate transparency regarding our AI methods, applications, and use. We develop and employ best practices for maximizing reliability, security, and the accuracy of AI design, development, and use.

Leveraging AI is a CBP journey that requires both short- and long-term strategies, and CBP is working to ensure that today’s technologies are used to prepare for tomorrow’s system enhancements and mission needs.


Last Modified: Aug 03, 2023