DHS to boost intel manpower along Southwest border

The Homeland Security Department is exploring whether to create a new regional border intelligence capability along the Southwest U.S. border with Mexico, Charles E. Allen, assistant secretary for intelligence and analysis testified at a Senate hearing yesterday.

DHS is evaluating how a Homeland Security Intelligence Support Team, in a location such as El Paso, Texas, could provide that capability, Allen told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

The team would "create a hub for fusing intelligence across multiple communities, and building a robust operational picture of the threat on the Southwest border," Allen said.

The team is just one of several efforts Allen said are being performed to strengthen border security intelligence and to coordinate with the Secure Border Initiative-Network, which is the upcoming border surveillance network using cameras and sensors to guard against intruders. Boeing Co. of Chicago won the initial contract for the border system.

Allen said information-sharing related to border security has been improved. "Every week we are sending newly collected intelligence down to our operational units on the Southwest border and sharing as much as we can with our state and local partners," Allen said.

Also at the hearing, John C. Gannon, former staff director of the House Homeland Security Committee and former chairman of the National Intelligence Council, suggested in his prepared remarks that the government's IT capabilities for intelligence are falling far short of expectations.

"Why would an analyst want to work in the U.S. intelligence community today when a decade-long pressure to provide the Intelligence Community and analytic community with electronic connectivity (including messaging capability), with state-of-the-art collaborative technologies and with ready access to outside experts has not been fulfilled?" Gannon asked at the hearing.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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