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Report: Federal Investment In Border Technology Falls Short

February 17, 2011  | 

Integrating communications systems and infrastructure technologies along the U.S.-Mexico border is an effective pathway toward improving security, trade, and border security operations, according to a new report released today.

Arizona State University's North American Center for Transborder Studies (NACTS) released the report, which posits that securing the flow of people, goods and business between the two countries requires the integration and interconnectivity of vital communications technologies among and between ports, check points, and law enforcement agencies along the border. The study also issued several recommendations to achieve that objective.

"Through extensive research and analysis, we found that by leveraging emerging technologies with existing infrastructure and personnel, we can enhance border security and trade in a cost-effective manner that is beneficial to citizens in the U.S. and Mexico," according to Rick Van Schoik, NACTS director. "Additionally, if the federal government invests proportionally in integrating communications, relative to other border security investments, we can expect to see a vast improvement in security and trade in this region."

The ASU study, which was commissioned by Motorola Solutions Inc., stresses that to halt illegal crossings and contraband while expediting commerce through ports of entry, border field agents require immediate access to time-sensitive information and intelligence captured by license plate readers, unattended ground sensors and biometric identification kits.

The study also pointed to emerging communication technologies such as broadband that can play an important role in creating this needed linkage.

The report emphasizes that investments that facilitate the connection of infrastructure, technology, and staff along the 1,969 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border must be a top priority for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Investment in communications and security efficiency at the ports of entry, in turn, acts as an economic driver in the region, creating jobs on both sides of the border and facilitating trade.

The center released the full findings Wednesday at the Border Security Expo.

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