United States Border Security Post 9/11

Subject: Law
Type: Analytical Essay
Pages: 27
Word count: 6918
Topics: Human Rights, Government, Political Science, Public Policy, Terrorism


Research Objective 

The present research aims to understand the extent of progress in securing the national borders of USA. After the 9/11 attacks, several loopholes were identified in the existing border security and surveillance strategies (U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 2018). As a result, new legislations were passed and new institutions were created in order to improve the handling of anti-terror activities. The defense personnel as well as intelligence agencies were posted at the ports of entry and various US borders. 

Research Questions 

The research questions that will address the broader research objective include:

  1. What has been done post 9/11 to secure U.S. ports from threats abroad? 
  2. Are the regulations and policies effective as intended? 
  3. What are the defence measures? 
  4. Who are the stakeholders within the Government, and what are their responsible? 
  5. Who and how is responsible to evaluated and monitor our borders and points of entry? 
  6. Has security adapted with the evolving pressures?
  7. Are we any safer now since 9/11 against a dirty or nuclear bomb being smuggled into the United States? 

Literature Review

Researchers have pointed out in the past that anti-immigration policies face a dilemma of appearing as overtly protective which can come across as xenophobic (American Immigration Council, 2017). The law enforcement officers need to establish a strong bonding with the community where they operate. The northern border strategy consists of international partnerships, increased presence of boots of grounds with over 2,200 border patrol personnel and 3700 CBP officials (Sapolsky, Gholz & Talmadge, 2017). This represents an increase of nearly five times in the number of people involved in securing the borders. These personnel are involved in regular checking of the flow of humans and goods. These agencies are provided with the right to search and confiscate if any suspicious activity is noticed. Ethical concerns are also raised about the unmanned aerial vehicles which fly over civilian areas. The aerial coverage is provided over an expanded space over 950 mile along the Northern border that stretches from Washington to Minnesota (Sapolsky, Gholz & Talmadge, 2017). Places in New York and Lake Ontario spanning an area of nearly 200 miles will come under the aerial supervision (Sapolsky, Gholz & Talmadge, 2017). Researchers also show that the imposition of stringent vigilance measures is possible only if enough awareness is generated among citizens of the country. In other words, the concept of societal security has to be used to get a broader understanding of border security, which is more than security in just a military sense of the term.

 In order to make citizens feel secure, the tacit approval of the masses must be achieved. Sometimes, this may even mean engineering and fabricating support in order to secure national objectives. While some critical scholars like Chomsky have referred to this process as manufacturing consent, others find it necessary for the state machinery to rely on the “rally hypothesis” (Sapolsky, Gholz & Talmadge, 2017). In times of distress, like the one USA found itself in after the gruesome 9/11 attacks, societal insecurity can legitimize more strict measures of vigilance and patrol and in extreme circumstances, xenophobic actions (Bohn & Pugatch, 2015). 

The accusations of human rights violations by people who have a vested interest in opposing the incumbent powers can create a public relations disaster for the national government (Sapolsky, Gholz & Talmadge, 2017). For these reasons, a purely militaristic vision of border control will not suffice. Moreover, instances of excesses during detention and subsequent grilling of potential terrorists and other illegal immigrants and use of force and bullets on civilians across borders have often become matters of ethical concern (Sapolsky, Gholz & Talmadge, 2017). To avoid falling into such traps, a new policy was created after the creation of the new Department for Homeland Security, in which it was clearly pointed out that prevention of terroristic activity would become the main focus. The outcome has been positive in that the aim of reducing both terrorism and other illegal activities as well as the number of arrests made has been clinched. The reduced number of detention can be read as a success since it helped to evade the unnecessary glare of pressure groups and civilian parties at a time when the administration has more serious tasks to dwell upon. 

Figure 1: Visa Processing and Screening Process

(Source: Sapolsky, Gholz & Talmadge, 2017)

In the above diagram, visa processing and screening process has been shown. Screening immigrants before granting them visa is one of the most important aspects of securing US borders. Before 9/11, intelligence sharing used to be a rather complex process as there was a wall between the foreign intelligence officials and more frontline law enforcement officers (Sapolsky, Gholz & Talmadge, 2017). After the Patriot Act was implemented, a major change in governance was the amendment of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act or FISA. It now became possible for legal enforcement personnel to get access to intelligence gathered by secret service officers. Two components of the visa processing cycle are the CLASS and SAO (Sapolsky, Gholz & Talmadge, 2017). CLASS stands for Consular Lookout Support System which is database of over 15 million people who can be screened for any link to terrorism. Previously, this database was a collection of databases from several intelligence and law enforcement agencies at different tiers. After 9/11, a central intelligence data collection center named Terrorist Threat (TTIC) and Terrorist Screening Center (TSC) were formed (Sapolsky, Gholz & Talmadge, 2017). Together these centers acted as multiagency databases which remain operational round the clock. Recently, these databases have been brought under the umbrella organization named National Counterterrorism Center or NCTC which is based in Washington, DC. 

Apart from the Patriot Act, Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act (EBSVERA) has also been enacted (Sapolsky, Gholz & Talmadge, 2017). These new laws have the main responsibility of tracking the status of visa applications and empowering various law enforcement officials at the local, national and regional level to screen candidates in detail. The entire immigration history of these individuals, including the entry, travel records and departure details are recorded as part of these databases. The first step of the visa screening begins with the US Embassy and US consulate which use the Consular section. The application is reviewed by comparing with data from CLASS followed by the interview (Sapolsky, Gholz & Talmadge, 2017). After the interview, the consular officer is responsible to see if the candidate is eligible for visa clearance. It is at this stage that a critical decision is taken if an SAO or Security Advisory Opinion (SAO) is needed (Sapolsky, Gholz & Talmadge, 2017). The SAO process involves two types of visa mantis checks, namely Donkey Mantis and Eagle Mantis. Eagle Mantis procedures result in easy clearance of visas as the entire process is controlled by the consular office while Donkey Mantis processes are supervised by State Department as well. 

After 9/11, agencies involved with visa clearing measures have become more stringent, which has led to a criticism that a bureaucratic “just say no” mindset has become predominant. Immigration screening needs to be done in a sensitive manner, since a practice of summary rejections of even legible applicants can put the screening agencies in bad light. In order to maintain good relations with other countries, it is necessary to develop a clear strategy that can keep a balance between strong surveillance measures and allowing those people to enter who can contribute to US’s growth. Several systems to check the backgrounds of visa applications that are currently in place include SEVIS or Student and Exchange Visitor Information System and National Security Entry-Exit Registration System or NSEERS, which had been founded in 2002 (U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 2016). Special emphasis is given on stricter checking of a list of about 26 countries that do not have a politically stable government according to US. The Visa Condor process is implemented for these countries and data from CIA and FBI is also used to cross check the background. The men of people from these nations are subjected to particularly high level of screening, as they are often made to wait about 30 days during which Visa Condor check is carried out (Sapolsky, Gholz & Talmadge, 2017). Many of the countries in this list include those from Middle East, as these countries have often been the origins of the most dreaded international criminals and terrorists (Chomsky, Achcar & Shalom, 2015). The post 9/11 climate has been so tense that several countries that were not originally part of the Donkey Mantis were also included in order to strengthen the security. The climate of paranoia and skepticism that had gripped the US foreign affairs and visa processing agencies can be confirmed from the following graph that showed the massive dip in the number of immigrants getting permanent residency status during the period 2002 to 2004. 

Figure 2: Number of Immigrants Getting Permanent Visas

(Source: Sapolsky, Gholz & Talmadge, 2017)


Researchers can approach any research problem either through primary or secondary research. For the purposes of this research, the formative assessment method will be applied, which requires analysis of secondary data (Bryman & Bell, 2015). The data can be obtained from authoritative sources of information on US border control and security. Before going into the details of the rationale of choosing this particular research strategy, it is necessary to review the theoretical foundations of research methodology, like research philosophy, research approach and data collection and analysis methods. 

Research Philosophy 

The philosophical schools that have become popular among researchers in any field include positivism and interpretivism (Bryman & Bell, 2015). Positivism is based on the premise that any phenomenon can be best understood by subjecting the object of enquiry to scientific scrutiny. The natural sciences have typically used positivism since objective reality can be identified is a relatively easy process. Positivism holds that the individual opinions and worldviews of the researcher do not and indeed should not affect the outcome of the research. The early approaches to social science, especially trends like the Chicago school, had tended to follow the positivistic approach strictly (Bryman & Bell, 2015). At a later stage, it emerged that there are some fundamental differences between social science and natural science, since the latter mostly deal with human beings, who are complex entities. As a result, it was felt that the positivistic ideals of a perfectly objective research can be problematic, as elements of subjectivity unmistakably make their way into the research works. Instead of brushing the subjectivity under the carpet, it was more productive to pay special focus on the specific contexts under which a research project is carried out (Bryman & Bell, 2015). The post-positivist paradigm and later approaches like interpretivist philosophy grew out of this critique of hardcore positivism. The theoretical schools commonly associated with interpretivism include symbolic interaction and phenomenology, which tried to understand the various ways human being made sense of their immediate worlds and the signs and symbols they used in the process. 

In case of the present research, the philosophical approach that is more suitable is the interpretivist one. This is because the research operates from a certain vantage point, namely that of putting US border security at the top of the agenda. Judgments are likely to be made from this perspective, which can be justified based on the ethical nature of the research problem. 

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Research Approach 

The approaches that are suitable for any research include deductive and inductive approaches. In the deductive approach, the researcher must start with some existing theories and then explain observed phenomena using those theories. On the other hand, the inductive method involves the creation of a new theory through several empirical observations (Bryman & Bell, 2015). The research approach that is considered suitable for the purposes of this research is that of deduction, since existing theoretical frameworks on securing national borders will be used to arrive at conclusions. 

Research Method

The research method chosen for this study is qualitative formative assessment. This is because programs for securing US borders are still being undertaken and hence the formative method will be suitable, as this study will contain an appraisal of the effectiveness of these programs. 

Data Collection

The data pertaining to the research will be of secondary data, which is why secondary data collection methods will be employed. The data collection will be done by reading the textual content of various US government and third party reports on programs and initiatives on securing the national borders and preventing acts of terrorism. 


The sampling method follows directly from data collection method. Since the present research involves only qualitative analysis, purposive sampling will be used to choose the specific government reports on border related issues.

Data Analysis 

The analysis of data will be done using formative assessment techniques (Bryman & Bell, 2015). Information in government reports will be analyzed to understand the level of progress that has been made in securing the borders. 

Data Analysis

The analysis of secondary data on the various measures for controlling illegal immigration, terrorism and drug trade needs an appraisal of the legislations currently in place (Jones & Johnson, 2016). One of the most widely discussed pieces of legislation that was passed immediately after the 2001 terrorist and anthrax attacks was the Patriot Act. This law had the ambitious agenda of serving as an umbrella legislative tool to monitor, prevent and deter suspicious activities that could be linked to terrorism. Its various sections discuss the various rights given to federal agents to search the commercial and personal properties of US citizens without informing the owners. Not surprisingly, such a law raised eyebrows and has been a matter of intense debate. The critics have ranged from filmmaker Michael Moore to oppositional members within the political fraternity. It is to be noted that besides conferring the right to search and seize personal property, the Patriot Act also empowers federal agencies to detain and question immigrants (Sapolsky, Gholz, & Talmadge, 2017). Criticism of this legislation has also been on the ground that this law can be misused to harass innocent immigrants. On the other hand, defenders of the legislation point out the importance of these measures in order to provide security to American citizens. 

Another point of debate is that these legislations allow federal agents to put surveillance technologies like phone tapping, tracing, wire traps and other such devices in the premises of targeted individuals (Lewandowski, Rojek, & Manjarrez, 2017). This matter has raised severe ethical concerns but has nonetheless continued unabated because of nationwide sentiments in favor of authoritarian measures to keep US secure. The Act is a successor of the USA Act and Financial Anti-Terrorism Act, which attempted to stifle the flow of funds to illegal and criminal activities linked to terrorism (Sapolsky, Gholz & Talmadge, 2017). The Patriot Act too establishes its superiority in this regard, since it allows federal agents to track the financial records to follow the money trail. The Act demonstrates belief in the fact that foreign powers may be backing terrorists and hence it is necessary to stem the flow of funds. Close on the heels of USA Act and FATA, the Patriot Act empowers federal agencies to give punishments to criminals and money launderers (Sapolsky, Gholz, & Talmadge, 2017). According to researchers, money laundering is considered to be one of the main illegal activities that are linked with terrorism. The laundered money may be used for illegal arms purchase and other forms of terroristic activity. 

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DHS and Border Security Strategies 

The United States border security was beefed up after the terrorist attacks on 9/11. After these attacks took place, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was created in the year 2003 (U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 2016). The objective of creating this department was to improve the quality of border patrol through monitoring activities, prevention of illegal entry of unauthorized personnel and materials like drugs. The 1994 document on border patrol had enacted the policy of arresting people who would trespass (Sapolsky, Gholz & Talmadge, 2017). However, after the 9/11 attacks, there was a change in stance from detention to a greater thrust on prevention of illegal entry. 

The idea was to increase the extent of surveillance so that it would reduce the need for detention and post-detention procedures. The increased level of control on penetration of US soil by aliens was aimed to be achieved through a multi-pronged strategy that involved fencing, use of smart border technology, deployment of highly trained and skilled agents and more infrastructure as would be deemed necessary (U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 2016). This plan was christened the National Border Patrol Strategy (NBPS) by the US Border Patrol. The USBP itself is a part of a broader framework aimed at securing the borders and protecting US national interests, named the US Customs and Border Protection or CBP. The CBP had been formed to handle issues related to border security, drug law enforcement, checking the flow of humans and materials across the borders and so on (Anderson, Maoh, & Burke, 2014). BP showed a renewed vigor in dedicating more resources who were either actively employed at the border regions or were on standby mode so that they could get into action in case of any contingency. Defense and border security experts have often pointed out lapses in the process of gathering critical intelligence that led to the eventuality of 9/11. For this reason, the various entry ports including the borders with Mexico, Canada and the coastal borders have been provided with much greater equipment, technological support and a centrally coordinated surveillance mechanism (Brill, 2016). The USBP believes that drug smuggling and other illegal activities will be deterred as their normal cycles will be disrupted.

NBPS Objectives 

The objectives of the NBPS were closely aligned with US national missions and goals pertaining to security. Moreover, it was believed that the border security and monitoring activities would lead to a reduction in the rates of crimes, thus acting as a deterrence to those contemplating the idea of joining terrorist groups (U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 2016). Under the DHS, over 180,000 employees were brought under a single umbrella to facilitate a smoother flow of information and a superior coordination among various departments (U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 2016). Altogether 22 federal agencies were merged under the DHS following the 9/11 attacks. One of the main reasons for this was that the 9/11 commission that was established after the incident had pointed out that lack of coordination among the various intelligence and crime control agencies was a primary reason for the failure to prevent the terrorist attack (U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 2016). The importance of DHS as a key stakeholder in ensuring the safety of US borders is evident from the fact that the director of this institution had become a cabinet-level member in the US government. Moreover, huge increase in budgetary allocations had been made for the DHS after reviewing internal security matters post 9/11 (Homeland Security, 2016). 

The capabilities of the NBPS included continuous testing of the terrain and facilities like fingerprint checking system called IAFIS. Other important technological tools that were given to the US border patrol and security agency included radiation detection equipment that were installed at border checkpoints (U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 2016). Various teams of carrying out such surveillance were deployed which included canine teams for detection of aliens, border patrol search, trauma and rescue (BORSTAR), border patrol tactical team or BORTAC and special response teams (SRT) (U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 2016). Cutting edge technologies like aerial support and mobile computing capabilities to help the teams communicate easily have been provided to beef up the security. A crucial feature of NBPS is the establishment of an integrated system for enhanced collaboration and communication among all the technical units. Such integration helps to communicate any change in the level of threat quickly to the headquarters (U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 2016). This system is known as the change detection capability or CDC, which serves an important role in the quick intervention during unprecedented changes in risk levels. 

Figure 3: Integrated Communication of Risk Level

(Source: U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 2016)

Coordination was also carried on with important teams like bomb detection and anti-terrorism squads. The idea was to strengthen the level of security through advanced strategies like collaborative participation in anti-terrorism activities. Assets of the department are also in place in other locations like Canada and Mexico City to help provide necessary reconnaissance (Donelson & Esparza, 2016). The 1994 strategy had proved significantly effective in causing deterrence to illegal activities through continuous monitoring. The positive results had been observed in areas of the southwest border like San Diego, Tucson and El Paso. The NBPS strived to build on these gains by recognizing the possibility that any illegal entry could be potentially linked to terroristic intentions (Dwyer, 2011). Recidivists and smugglers had been facing increasing difficulty to carry out their activities because of these enforcement strategies by the NBPS. This is because the smugglers typically rely on the usage of multiple ports of entry, which have now been stifled by strict vigilance by well trained personnel. Mapping of data is done using sophisticated intelligence gathering tools (Cisneros, 2014). Intelligence related information is also shared with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement or ICE, since it has been observed that there is a strong link between terrorist activities and those pertaining to terroristic outfits. 

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Smart Border Technology 

The use of Smart border technology has been immensely helpful for the NBPS. Better controlling of borders is achieved through technologies that attempt to intercept transportation and communication of resources linked to smuggling. While the budget allocated for the department of security has consistently remained high, a concerted effort is still made to carry out the surveillance activities in a cost effective fashion (van Klingeren, Boomgaarden & de Vreese, 2017). Efficiency levels of the border patrol teams become higher through use of biometric systems like IDENT or IAFIS as well as processing units like ENFORCE (U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 2016). Technological capabilities include high level gamma X-rays and aerially raised platforms which assist in wireless communication among the law enforcement agencies in a strategic manner. Other technologies functionalities include the automated commercial environment or ACE (U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 2016). All-terrain vehicles are provided for agents who are active on the ground, so that they can pursue criminals on rugged roads as well. The surveillance machinery consists of raised platforms with cameras installed on them. These camera footages facilitate regular monitoring of current as well as historical movements of people and resource across and around the US borders (U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 2016). The National Targeting Center has established itself as another useful resource to deter any criminal activity that could have possible links to terrorism. Useful technological solutions accessible by the border security teams include hand held thermal imaging devices, unattended ground sensors (UGS), Z Backscatter X-ray vehicle, night vision goggles and other gadgets, mobile and video surveillance systems like MSS, MVSS and RVSS and vehicle and cargo inspection system (VACIS). (U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 2016). These technological utilities not only help to improve the quality of border protection but also ensure minimum damage caused to the security personnel. 

Reduction of Crimes as a Form of Border Protection 

The reduction of crime in communities that have been identified as marginal is high on the agenda of border security agencies (Côté-Boucher, Infantino & Salter, 2014). This shows, from a stakeholder management perspective, that the larger communities, who reside in the areas that have historically witnessed cases of illegal entry through US borders, need to be economically uplifted so that incidences of crimes can be reduced (Riva, 2017). According to the NBPS, the places where their strategies have been put into practice have benefitted significantly in economic and social terms, with reduction in crime rates becoming a reality. Overall quality of life gets improved in such localities as costs of social services come down remarkably wherever the NBPS has operational presence. The appreciable reduction of crime along the borders of Mexico has been partly due to targeted enforcement followed by consequence delivery mechanisms (Herzog & Sohn, 2014). 

Instead of just taking regular legal actions like detention, confiscation and persecution of those who violate the sanctity of US borders, the USBP has taken steps to spend resources behind rehabilitation and extraction of crucial information from those who have detained and arrested (Sapolsky, Gholz & Talmadge, 2017). This post-arrest processing and proactive intervention has had major repercussions in the form of interruption of smuggling and other criminal activity cycles. It has been necessary to coordinate with international agencies as well as internal ones like DEA and FBI to meet this end. Moreover, a one-size-fits-all approach is discouraged during such rehabilitation efforts since each individual is subjected to separate evaluation and their unique requirements are identified. This detailed follow-up ensures that the individual’s desire to try and renter the domain of illegal activity is stemmed. It has been noted that such efforts at rehabilitation also help attract greater community engagement in fighting the forces of terror. 

The following diagram shows the complex mechanism through which border patrol and security agencies gather and process information for strategic purposes. 

Figure 4: Dynamic Detection Capability

(Source: Homeland Security, 2018)

As evident from the above schematic diagram, two types of data capture known as operational data capture and threat data capture are fed into the master data processing unit. The incoming data consist of periodical and annual threat estimates and various intelligence analysis reports. Data from DHS, ENFORCE and other internal and third party data sources are used to determine the border assessment capability (BAC) and Border Assessment Threat (BAT) (U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 2016). The processing of information is followed by strategic decision making related to allocation and restructuring of resources, sustaining and divestment of capabilities, development of new assets and deployment of urgent solutions. The decision-making process discussed above shows the centralized nature of operation by the border security agencies (U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 2018). The hierarchical managerial structure allows for a streamlined, tightly controlled and closely monitored process that leaves little room for leakage of sensitive information. This risk assessment framework is known as the integrated mission analysis within the CBP and by logical extension, within the USBP (U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 2016). The advantage of this framework is that it allows the associated agencies to develop a critical appraisal of their current ability to mitigate any possible contingencies that could threaten national security. 

Whole-of-Government Approach 

The USBP maintains coordination with other institutions like the CBP’s Office of Field Operations (OFO) and Office of Air and Marine (OAM). The border forces operate in tandem with several tribal agencies involved in legal enforcement. Intelligence is gathered and fused from the various sources in order to maximize the possibility of crime reduction. The dynamic abilities of the USBP get increased by maintaining a battery of forces at the borders. An important part of the Whole of Government approach is Operation Stonegarden which is funded by the DHS and facilitated by the CBP (U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 2016). A crucial element in this operation is the tribal law enforcement agencies or SLT. Proper coordination with the SLT gives the federal border security agencies greater credibility in the eyes of the local communities (U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 2016). Enhancement of security through this operation is ensured due to a larger number of personnel along the various borders. Apart from the tribal agencies, coordination is also established with other law enforcement forces at the state, country and local level. These forces play an important role in minimizing the activities in drug trade and other crimes involving violence. The tie-up with federal task forces also allows the border security agencies to accomplish their goals more smoothly. 

Special mention in terms of coordination must be made of the border patrol special coordination center or the BPSCC.  The criticality of this initiative lies in that the BPSCC serves as a bridge connecting the Department of Defense (DOD) with the border patrol and Joint Task force north (JTF) (U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 2016). The following diagram gives an idea of the holistic transformation that is being mulled by the Center in terms of maximizing the level of integration of defense and border patrol agencies.

Figure 5: From Collaboration to Integration

(Source: Sapolsky, Gholz & Talmadge, 2017)

The diagram presented above shows the importance of shifting towards a more formalized operational paradigm. While collaboration is often predicated on informal interactions and relationships, a properly integrated framework will involve formal exchanges. Joint planning rather than an ad hoc one will become the main approach towards development of a border security framework (U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 2016).  The various stakeholders involved in securing US borders will then follow the standards and guidelines that have been laid down by the government. In other words, the criteria for defining operational success will be much more pointed and precise. By contrast, the existing structure is more based on unpredictable relationships among the stakeholders. While federal agencies can serve a good purpose for carrying out integration, greater interaction with communities who stay at the borders will be needed. 

Stakeholder Programs 

At present, several initiatives in winning the trust by emphasizing the patriotic dimension in children as well as adults in those regions are being undertaken. One such initiative is known as Operation Detour, in which the border forces regularly arrange awareness and sensitization camps that especially target middle and high school students (Frej, 2016). The objective behind such programs is to sensitize people at a young age about the harmful effects of choosing a life that involves taking drugs and indulging in criminal activity (Williams, 2015). These policing activities can be classified as public service actions which serve multiple ends at the same time (Loftus, 2015). Besides genuinely raising awareness among the school children, the security agencies attain greater degree of credibility in the eyes of the concerned communities. Examples of such initiatives include efforts at the Del Rio sector based in Texas. Based on the matrix presented above, it can be said that such programs need to become much more sustained rather on an occasional basis. Drug Demand Reduction is another program that aims to increase awareness level among the youth of a particular community (U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 2016). The age group that is the principal target of this campaign is 14-18. The dangers and undesirable consequences of drug usage as well as participation in drug cartels are elaborated through graphic descriptions of the ill fate that await the criminals. The chosen mode of communication includes live discussion sessions as well video recordings. These sessions need to be held more regularly in order to ensure maximum involvement from the stakeholder community.

Information Processing 

An important part of any stakeholder program is that the concerned group of people must be made to feel comfortable. The outreach programs need to be covered and advertised in national as well international press so that a large number of people can become aware of their occurrence. Apart from the formal programs, informal discussions in community halls should also be done regularly to increase the level of their trust. There are several such community outreach programs that are currently active, namely Border Patrol Heroes project, Border Patrol History Project, Citizens Academies and Community Liaison program (U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 2016). The Congressional Staffer Academy program is useful for the purposes of communicating the reality with the people holding important offices in the Congress. The congressional staff members get a unique opportunity through this exchange program of getting firsthand information on what is going on at the borders. 

The border patrol forces are responsible for conveying the necessary information to the Congressional staff, like the nature of hands-on training and practical skill set imparted to the field agents. Since national security is a matter that concerns all the residents of the country, the Border security forces periodically interact with ordinary citizens, through the Citizens Academy. In these programs, ordinary citizens can get exclusive exposure to training in firearms from the very best. The people who participate in these programs also become more knowledgeable about the seriousness of the issues related to border security, the legislations and other infrastructural capabilities in place. Different dimensions of the border security activities like checkpoint authorities and felony stops are demonstrated before the citizens (Sabo, et al., 2014). The motivation that drives this citizen outreach program is that it will increase the level of patriotism as well as make people aware of the sensitivity of the matter being dealt with. Another way of improving the quality of border security is by hiring highly trained people who have the right set of skills. A nation-wide program aimed at improving the agility of personnel needs to be launched. The constant motivation of employees in this sector can be ensured through measures like offering positions of leadership and high level responsibility. From an integrated communication perspective, it may be said that the exposure to the level of threat to US borders and the measures that are being taken to defend them will make it easier to motivate employees working for these agencies (U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 2016). The personnel should be encouraged to keep an open mind while dealing with inter-agency exercises, since a proper coordination is an important prerequisite for success. 

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Evaluation of Border Security Measures 

Various parameters for determining the level of success achieved have been chalked out (U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 2016). Evaluation techniques must be developed internally to see if response times can be minimized. Efficient manpower has to be employed so that criminal activities and the processes that can trigger such actions can be disrupted in timely manner. The risk and threat levels should be assessed regularly so that any strategic reallocation of resources can be done without delay. Cost-saving practices have to be institutionalized so that all the personnel follow them without any exception. The plans of action need to be consistent with environmental conservation related strategies. 

Since 9/11, several changes have taken place within the domain of national and border security. The very first important piece of legislation that was enacted following the terrorist attacks was that of Homeland Security Act, through which the DHS got formed. The main agencies which came under the purview of this Act included the CBP, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the USCIS, which deals with immigration and citizenship services (U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 2016). The importance of the first has already been discussed while the latter two are no less important from the national security perspective. After 9/11, the customs department has taken several initiatives like the container security initiative, customs-trade partnership against terrorism or C-TPAT and the importer security filing or ISF (U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 2016). The container security initiative involves the identification of the containers that pose maximum risk and hence has to be screened before they are kept inside the ships heading towards US ports. This is therefore a means of preventing any entry of dangerous weapons like dirty bombs or other weapons and their components or ingredients within the country (U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 2016). The C-TPAT is a vital component of the partnership of the trading sector with agencies involved in fighting the menace of terrorism. 

The main objective of this program is to carry out regular screening of the entire supply chain in all businesses so that the flow of weapons can be restricted (U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 2016). Various forms of security checks and balances are enforced as part of this partnership. The third customs initiative in the post 9/11 climate was the advance electronic cargo information, which says that any ship that is making its way towards US ports should declare the contents on board at least 24 hours before the landing. Failure to achieve the same may lead to legal consequences like forced checking, detention or confiscation of cargo. The last major initiative by the customs department is the ISF, which makes it mandatory to reveal 10 important data elements from the information that is filed 24 hours prior to landing (U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 2016). The ISF is a logic extension of the program called C-TPAT and hence contribute to the overall robustness of the screening process of incoming cargo. 

A nagging problem with regard to border security has been with immigration. While the customs department has done a relatively good job in terms of securing the borders from entry of illegal materials, it has been noted that prevention of undesirable immigration is much more difficult. This is because the ministries which are involved in immigration related cases are often not able to arrive at a common ground. Within immigration, the most complex challenges exist with respect to refugees. The refugee crisis in Syria recently has led to a huge influx of refugees. The screening and further processing of refugees involves the participation of multiple agencies at the local, regional and federal levels. This coordination is also very time consuming, thus increasing the chances of untoward activities from within refugee camps. However, experts point out that refugees do not present any significant terroristic threats, since very few terroristic activities have been associated with refugees. The immigration checking system, nonetheless, is extremely robust in USA, with multiple checking points and an excellent coordinated communication machinery. For instance, even if a person commits a trivial crime like taking a wrong turn anywhere in the country, the cop on patrol can access the entire immigration history of the person within a matter of seconds. This data-centric and integrated approach to secure the borders has been necessitated due the rise in terrorism. 

Apart from additional personnel and use of smart border technology, other initiatives taken by the US government included creation of important vision statements. In one such policy document created under the presidential rule of Barack Obama, the United States had vowed to engage in fair and mutually beneficial cross border trading practices. The statement titled “Declaration on 21st century Border Management” clearly pointed out that the USA would continuously strive to improve border relations with neighboring and friendly countries. Such an alliance would be necessary to carry out joint anti-terrorism and risk reduction activities. DHS has made several seizures, including 75% greater currency, 31 percent more drugs and over 60% higher number of weapons since the implementation of the post 9/11 attacks. The Southwestern border has received the maximum attention in terms of surveillance by the DHS. 

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Special mention must be made of the different elements of maritime security. The coast guard of the United States, namely the USCG is usually responsible for constant monitoring of the international waters that are geographically close to US soil (U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 2018). The coastal security agencies work together to gather intelligence, monitor all maritime activities and develop capabilities for sending early warning in case suspicious activities are spotted. The USCG works in a similar manner to the USBP in that its priority lies in eliminating possibility of entrance of terrorists rather than nabbing them after they have entered US lands (U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 2018). Critical monitoring infrastructure and other capabilities like Deployable Operations Group lie with the maritime security forces. The coastal agencies are authorized to send armed escorts on ships which may be carrying hazardous chemicals and substances. The objective is clearly to dissuade any unscrupulous force from attempting to intercept the smooth transfer of those materials to reliable and rightful owners or operators. Aerial support is provided to maritime security agencies as well, so that all activities on water near US ports can be monitored strategically. 

The border security control is carried out in different modes through the immigration and customs enforcement (ICE) (Miller, 2016). The number of personnel who are deployed to the borders by the ICE is almost a quarter of its overall employee strength. The main objective of these agents remain basically the same as that of DHS and USBP, that of dismantling and degrading financial and resource based capabilities of criminal organizations. The border liaison officers often have to work in collaboration with counterparts in Mexico (Payan, 2016). Bomb detection squads, various thermal imaging technologies, monitors to closely observe radiations as well video systems are used by these teams. By 2017, the radiation detection capabilities were significantly increased, as nearly 100% of trucks and other forms of vehicles carrying passengers were scanned (U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 2018). 99% of sea ports are scanned to ensure that all incoming cargoes are safe to the extent that they cannot threaten the US soil. 


The present research reveals the various facets of defense and border patrol strategies taken by the federal, local and regional agencies responsible for securing US from terrorist invasions and attacks. The review of crucial documents has been done in tandem with existing literature on the topic to arrive at the conclusion that while significant progress has been made in terms of coordinating the various activities and institutions related to national security, more attention needs to be paid to more complex aspects like stakeholder management. The stakeholder view will give a complete picture regarding the communities who live near the ports of entry and other sensitive locations like borders with Mexico and Canada.

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