To find and fight illegal drugs, criminals and contraband, Customs and Border Protection must take new approaches to the technology and information available today, CBP Acting Commissioner David V. Aguilar told a group of business leaders yesterday.
"Let's not fight yesterday's war," Aguilar told the Washington Homeland Security Roundtable, a meeting of executives from technology management corporations. "We need to be nimble, agile and flexible. We need to take advantage of the technological capabilities that we have today to see what's coming at us."
Aguilar outlined several CBP priorities, including "continuing to reengineer how we manage trade and technology," he said.
He noted that CBP is the executive border agent for scores of federal agencies, enforcing a myriad of laws impacting public safety and the economy. "We are a law enforcement entity that prides itself on managing massive amounts of data," said Aguilar. He plans to improve CBP's ability to harness that information in innovative ways to address threats and challenges to the U.S. while expediting lawful trade and travel.
The acting commissioner told the group that other priorities for CBP include continuing improvements in aviation security and working more closely with Mexico and Canada to improve border security and commerce.
Security along the southwest U.S. border also will remain a high CBP concern. Aguilar stated that while CBP's seizures of bulk cash being transported illegally to Mexico have grown exponentially, the agency will be addressing new ways to stop the criminal networks. "We must use information and technology to pierce through those veils," he said.
CBP Assistant Commissioner Mark Borkowski of the Office of Technology Innovation and Acquisition and CBP Assistant Commissioner Melanie Roe of the Office of Public Affairs joined Aguilar in answering questions from the group.
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.