oversight

Border Security: Observations on Costs, Benefits, and Challenges of a Department of Defense Role in Helping to Secure the Southwest Land Border

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 2012-04-17.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                             United States Government Accountability Office

GAO                          Testimony
                             Before the Subcommittee on Border and
                             Maritime Security, Committee on
                             Homeland Security, House of
                             Representatives
                             BORDER SECURITY
For Release on Delivery
Expected at 10:00 a.m. EDT
Tuesday, April 17, 2012



                             Observations on Costs,
                             Benefits, and Challenges of
                             a Department of Defense
                             Role in Helping to Secure
                             the Southwest Land Border
                             Statement of Brian J. Lepore, Director
                             Defense Capabilities and Management Issues




GAO-12-657T
                                               April 17, 2012

                                               BORDER SECURITY
                                               Observations on Costs, Benefits, and Challenges of a
                                               Department of Defense Role in Helping to Secure
                                               the Southwest Land Border
Highlights of GAO-12-657T, a testimony
before the Subcommittee on Border and
Maritime Security, House Committee on
Homeland Security.



Why GAO Did This Study                         What GAO Found
DHS reports that the southwest border          The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011 mandated that GAO
continues to be vulnerable to cross-           examine the costs and benefits of an increased Department of Defense (DOD)
border illegal activity, including the         role to help secure the southwest land border. This mandate directed that GAO
smuggling of humans and illegal                report on, among other things, the potential deployment of additional units,
narcotics. Several federal agencies are        increased use of ground-based mobile surveillance systems, use of mobile
involved in border security efforts,           patrols by military personnel, and an increased deployment of unmanned aerial
including DHS, DOD, Justice, and               systems and manned aircraft in national airspace. In September 2011, GAO
State. In recent years, the National           reported that DOD estimated a total cost of about $1.35 billion for two separate
Guard has played a role in helping to
                                               border operations—Operation Jump Start and Operation Phalanx—conducted by
secure the southwest land border by
                                               National Guard forces in Title 32 status from June 2006 to July 2008 and from
providing the Border Patrol with
information on the identification of
                                               June 2010 through September 30, 2011, respectively. Further, DOD estimated
individuals attempting to cross the            that it has cost about $10 million each year since 1989 to use active duty Title 10
southwest land border into the United          forces nationwide, through its Joint Task Force-North, in support of drug law
States. Generally, the National Guard          enforcement agencies with some additional operational costs borne by the
can operate in three different statuses:       military services. Agency officials stated multiple benefits from DOD’s increased
(1) state status—state funded under            border role, such as assistance to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
the command and control of the                 Border Patrol until newly hired Border Patrol agents are trained and deployed to
governor; (2) Title 32 status—federally        the border; providing DOD personnel with training opportunities in a geographic
funded under command and control of            environment similar to current combat theaters; contributing to apprehensions
the governor; and (3) Title 10 status—         and seizures and deterring other illegal activity along the border; building
federally funded under command and             relationships with law enforcement agencies; and strengthening military-to-
control of the Secretary of Defense.           military relationships with forces from Mexico.
This testimony discusses (1) the costs         GAO found challenges for the National Guard and for active-duty military forces
and benefits of a DOD role to help             in providing support to law enforcement missions. For example, under Title 32 of
secure the southwest land border,              the United States Code, National Guard personnel are permitted to participate in
including the deployment of the                law enforcement activities; however, the Secretary of Defense has precluded
National Guard, other DOD personnel,           National Guard forces from making arrests while performing border missions
or additional units; (2) the challenges
                                               because of concerns raised about militarizing the U.S. border. As a result, all
of a DOD role at the southwest land
                                               arrests and seizures at the southwest border are performed by the Border Patrol.
border; and (3) considerations of an
increased DOD role to help secure the          Further, DOD officials cited restraints on the direct use of active duty forces,
southwest land border.                         operating under Title 10 of the United States Code in domestic civilian law
                                               enforcement, set out in the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878. In addition, GAO has
The information in this testimony is           reported on the varied availability of DOD units to support law enforcement
based on work completed in                     missions, such as some units being regularly available while other units (e.g.,
September 2011, which focused on the           ground-based surveillance teams) may be deployed abroad—making it more
costs and benefits of an increased role        difficult to fulfill law enforcement requests.
of DOD at the southwest land border.
See Observations on the Costs and              Federal officials stated a number of broad issues and concerns regarding any
Benefits of an Increased Department of         additional DOD assistance in securing the southwest border. DOD officials
Defense Role in Helping to Secure the          expressed concerns about the absence of a comprehensive strategy for
Southwest Land Border, GAO-11-856R             southwest border security and the resulting challenges to identify and plan a
(Washington, D.C.: Sept. 12, 2011).            DOD role. DHS officials expressed concerns that DOD’s border assistance is ad
                                               hoc in that DOD has other operational requirements. DOD assists when legal
                                               authorities allow and resources are available, whereas DHS has a continuous
                                               mission to ensure border security. Further, Department of State and DOD
View GAO-12-657T. For more information,
contact Brian J. Lepore at (202) 512-4523 or   officials expressed concerns about the perception of a militarized U.S. border
leporeb@gao.gov.                               with Mexico, especially when Department of State and Justice officials are
                                               helping civilian law enforcement institutions in Mexico on border issues.
                                                                                       United States Government Accountability Office
Chairman Miller, Ranking Member Cuellar, and Members of the
Subcommittee:

I am pleased to be here today to discuss our observations on the costs,
benefits, and challenges of a Department of Defense (DOD) role in
helping to secure the southwest land border. The Department of
Homeland Security (DHS) reports that the southwest border continues to
be vulnerable to cross-border illegal activity, including the smuggling of
humans and illegal narcotics. Several federal agencies are involved in
border security efforts, including the Departments of Homeland Security,
Defense, Justice, and State. In recent years, the National Guard has
played a role in helping to secure the southwest land border by providing
the Border Patrol with information on the identification of individuals
attempting to cross the southwest land border into the United States. Last
year, we reported to the Senate and House Armed Services Committees
our observations on the use of the National Guard and active duty forces
to help secure the southwest land border of the United States as directed
by the Ike Skelton National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year
2011. 1

My statement today is based on our work conducted in 2011 and will
examine (1) the costs and benefits of a DOD role to help secure the
southwest land border, including the deployment of the National Guard,
other DOD personnel, or additional units; (2) the challenges associated
with a DOD role at the southwest land border; and (3) considerations of
an increased DOD role to help secure the southwest land border.

To conduct this work, we reviewed our previous assessments of
southwest land border security and key documents related specifically to
DOD efforts at the southwest land border, such as the legal authorities
governing military forces operating under state, Title 32, and Title 10
status; the cost and benefits of recent efforts by DOD to assist DHS,
including Operation Jump Start (2006-2008) and Operation Phalanx
(2010-2011); DOD after-action reports and evaluations related to recent
DOD efforts to support law enforcement efforts at the southwest land
border; strategic and operational plans, and guidance related to


1
 See Pub. L. No. 111-383, §1057 (2011) for the mandate directing our review as well as
GAO, Observations on the Costs and Benefits of an Increased Department of Defense
Role in Helping to Secure the Southwest Land Border, GAO-11-856R (Washington, D.C.:
Sept. 12, 2011).




Page 1                                                     GAO-12-657T Border Security
                 addressing security concerns at the southwest land border; funding and
                 cost data and sources of funding related to the deployment of DOD
                 personnel, equipment, unmanned aerial systems, and manned
                 surveillance aircraft; and other key documents.

                 In addition, to better understand the cost, benefits, and challenges of a
                 DOD role in helping to secure the southwest land border, we met with and
                 interviewed officials from DOD, including the Office of the Secretary of
                 Defense, military services, National Guard Bureau, U.S. Northern
                 Command, U.S. Army North, and Joint Task Force-North. Further, to
                 distinguish the impact of an increased DOD role in helping to secure the
                 border, we spoke with officials from DHS, Customs and Border Protection
                 (CBP) (including U.S. Border Patrol, Office of Air and Marine); the
                 Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration; and the
                 Department of State, including the Bureau of International Narcotics and
                 Law Enforcement Affairs and Office of Mexican Affairs.

                 We performed the work on which this testimony is based in accordance
                 with generally accepted government auditing standards. Additional
                 information on our scope and methodology can be found in the published
                 report.



Background
National Guard   The National Guard, with its dual federal and state roles, has been in
                 demand to meet both overseas operations and homeland security
                 requirements. Over the last decade the National Guard has experienced
                 the largest activation of its forces since World War II. At the same time,
                 the Guard’s domestic activities have expanded from routine duties, such
                 as responding to hurricanes, to include activities such as helping to
                 secure U.S. borders. Generally, the National Guard can operate in three
                 different statuses: (1) state status—state funded under the command and
                 control of the governor; (2) Title 32 status—federally funded under
                 command and control of the governor (Title 32 forces may participate in
                 law enforcement activities); and (3) Title 10 status—federally funded
                 under command and control of the Secretary of Defense. Forces serving
                 in Title 10 status are generally prohibited from direct participation in law
                 enforcement activities, without proper statutory authorization, but may
                 work to support civilian law enforcement. Although National Guard forces
                 working in support of law enforcement at the southwest land border have
                 been activated under Title 32, the Secretary of Defense has limited their


                 Page 2                                              GAO-12-657T Border Security
                            activities with regard to law enforcement. Specifically, these National
                            Guard forces are not to make arrests. Since 2006, the National Guard
                            has supported DHS’s border security mission in the four southwest border
                            states (California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas) through two
                            missions:

                            •   Operation Jump Start (June 2006-July 2008) involved volunteers from
                                the border states and from outside the border states; its mission
                                included aviation, engineering, and entry identification, among others,
                                according to National Guard officials.
                            •   Operation Phalanx (July 2010-September 30, 2011) involved
                                volunteer units and in-state units. The Secretary of Defense limited
                                the National Guard mission to entry identification, criminal analysis,
                                and command and control, according to National Guard officials.

Active Duty Military        In addition to the National Guard, DOD provided support at the southwest
Forces                      land border with active duty military forces operating in Title 10 status.
                            While active duty forces are normally prohibited from direct participation
                            in law enforcement, Congress has at times authorized it. For example,
                            §1004 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1991, as
                            amended, allows the Secretary of Defense to provide support for the
                            counterdrug activities of any other department or agency of the federal
                            government or of any state, local, or foreign law enforcement agency if
                            certain criteria, set out in the statute, are met.


                            Various factors influence the cost of a DOD role at the southwest land
Costs and Benefits of       border, such as the scope and duration of the mission. Federal agency
a DOD Role in               officials have cited a variety of benefits from having a DOD role at the
                            southwest land border.
Helping to Secure the
Southwest Land
Border
Factors that Affect the     The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011 mandated
Cost of a DOD Role at the   that we examine the costs and benefits of an increased DOD role to help
Southwest Land Border       secure the southwest land border. This mandate directed that we report
                            on a number of steps that could be taken that might improve security on
                            the border, including the potential deployment of additional units,
                            increased use of ground-based mobile surveillance systems, use of
                            mobile patrols by military personnel, and an increased deployment of
                            unmanned aerial systems and manned aircraft to provide surveillance of


                            Page 3                                               GAO-12-657T Border Security
the southern land border of the United States. 2 In September 2011, we
reported that DOD estimated a total cost of about $1.35 billion for two
separate border operations—Operation Jump Start and Operation
Phalanx—conducted by the National Guard forces in Title 32 status from
June 2006 to July 2008 and from June 2010 through September 30,
2011, respectively. Further, DOD estimated that it has cost about $10
million each year since 1989 to use active duty Title 10 forces nationwide,
through its Joint Task Force-North, in support of drug law enforcement
agencies with some additional operational costs borne by the military
services. 3

As we considered the various steps we were directed to address in our
report, we found that the factors that may affect the cost of a DOD effort
are largely determined by the legal status and the mission of military
personnel being used, specifically whether personnel are responding
under Title 32 or Title 10 (federal status) of the Unites States Code. For
example, in considering the deployment of additional units, if National
Guard forces were to be used in Title 32 status, then the factors that may
impact the cost include whether in-state or out-of-state personnel are
used, the number of personnel, duration of the mission, ratio of officers to
enlisted personnel, and equipment and transportation needs. The costs of
National Guard forces working at the border in Title 32 status can also be
impacted by specific missions. For example, DOD officials told us that if
National Guardsmen were assigned a mission to conduct mobile patrols,
then they would be required to work in pairs and would only be able to
perform part of the mission (i.e., to identify persons of interest). They
would then have to contact the Border Patrol to make possible arrests or
seizures because the Secretary of Defense has precluded National
Guardsmen from making arrests or seizures during border security
missions. Border Patrol agents, however, may individually conduct the full
range of these activities, thus making the use of Border Patrol agents for
these activities more efficient.

At the time of our review, Title 10 active duty military forces were being
used for missions on the border, and cost factors were limited primarily to



2
    See GAO-11-856R.
3
 The Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Counternarcotics receives about $1.1
billion annually for counternarcotics efforts, of which about $10 million goes towards law
enforcement mission support needs nationwide, according to DOD officials.




Page 4                                                         GAO-12-657T Border Security
situations whereby DOD may provide military support to law enforcement
agencies for counternarcotic operations. Support can include direct
funding, military personnel, and equipment. With the estimated $10
million that DOD spends each year for Title 10 active duty forces in
support of drug law enforcement agencies nationwide, DOD is able—
through its Joint Task Force-North—to support approximately 80 of about
400 requests per year for law enforcement assistance. These funds have
been used for activities in support of law enforcement such as operations,
engineering support, and mobile training teams. For example, DOD was
able to provide some funding for DOD engineering units that constructed
roads at the border. While DOD provided the manpower and equipment,
CBP provided the materials. In addition, DOD was able to provide some
funding for DOD units that provided operational support (e.g., ground
based mobile surveillance unit) to law enforcement missions.

We also reported on the cost factors related to deploying manned aircraft
and unmanned aerial systems. DOD officials did not report any use of
unmanned aerial systems for border security missions because these
systems were deployed abroad. DOD officials, however, did provide us
with cost factors for the Predator and Reaper unmanned aerial systems.
Specifically, in fiscal year 2011, the DOD Comptroller reported that a
Predator and a Reaper cost $859 and $1,456 per flight hour, respectively.
DOD uses maintenance costs, asset utilization costs, and military
personnel costs to calculate these figures. In addition, DOD officials
identified other factors that may impact operating costs of unmanned
aerial systems, including transportation for personnel and equipment,
rental or lease for hanger space, and mission requirements.

With regard to manned aircraft, DOD provided cost factors for a
Blackhawk helicopter and a C-12 aircraft, which were comparable to the
type of rotary and fixed-wing aircraft used by DHS. For example, in fiscal
year 2011, DOD reported that a Blackhawk helicopter and a C-12 aircraft
cost $5,897 and $1,370 per flight hour, respectively. DOD uses
maintenance costs, asset utilization costs, and military personnel costs to
develop their flight hour estimates. Furthermore, according to DOD
officials, in fiscal year 2011, DOD contracted for a Cessna aircraft with a
forward-looking infrared sensor (known as the Big Miguel Program),
which costs $1.2 million per year and assisted at the southwest land
border.




Page 5                                             GAO-12-657T Border Security
Federal Officials See Some   Federal officials cited a variety of benefits from a DOD role to help secure
Benefits of a DOD Role in    the southwest land border. For example, DOD assistance has (1)
Helping to Secure the        provided a bridge or augmentation until newly hired Border Patrol agents
                             are trained and deployed to the border; (2) provided training opportunities
Border                       for military personnel in a geographic environment similar to combat
                             theaters abroad; (3) contributed to apprehensions and seizures made by
                             Border Patrol along the border; (4) deterred illegal activity at the border;
                             (5) built relationships with law enforcement agencies; and (6) maintained
                             and strengthened military-to-military relationships with forces from
                             Mexico. Specifically with regard to Operation Jump Start (June 2006-July
                             2008), CBP officials reported that the National Guard assisted in the
                             apprehension of 186,814 undocumented aliens, and in the seizure of
                             316,364 pounds of marijuana, among other categories of assistance,
                             including rescues of persons in distress and the seizure of illicit currency.
                             Based on these reported figures, the National Guard assisted in 11.7
                             percent of all undocumented alien apprehensions and 9.4 percent of all
                             marijuana seized on the southwest land border. 4 During the National
                             Guard’s Operation Phalanx (July 2010-June 30, 2011), CBP reported that
                             as of May 31, 2011, the National Guard assisted in the apprehension of
                             17,887 undocumented aliens and the seizure of 56,342 pounds of
                             marijuana. Based on these reported figures, the National Guard assisted
                             in 5.9 percent of all undocumented alien apprehensions and 2.6 percent
                             of all marijuana seized on the southwest land border. In fiscal year 2010,
                             active duty military forces (Title 10), through Joint Task Force-North,
                             conducted 79 missions with 842 DOD personnel in support of law
                             enforcement and assisted in the seizure of about 17,935 pounds of
                             marijuana, assisted in the apprehension of 3,865 undocumented aliens,
                             and constructed 17.26 miles of road, according to DOD officials. 5

                             With regard to unmanned aerial systems at the time of our report, DOD
                             had fewer systems available, since they were deployed to missions
                             abroad, including operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere.



                             4
                              The official start date for Operation Jump Start was June 15, 2006, and the official end
                             date was July 15, 2008. Data from CBP is reported monthly, and as the beginning and
                             end dates of Operation Jump Start fell in the middle of the calendar month, for the
                             purposes of this analysis, the 24-month period analyzed was July 2006 (the first full month
                             of the mission) through June 2008 (the last full month of the mission).
                             5
                              Statistics on apprehension and seizure amounts were provided to DOD by CBP. DOD
                             does not independently collect information on apprehensions and seizures, since DOD is
                             not involved in those aspects of the law enforcement mission.




                             Page 6                                                        GAO-12-657T Border Security
                       Moreover, DOD’s access to the national airspace is constrained given the
                       safety concerns about unmanned aerial systems raised by the Federal
                       Aviation Administration, specifically the ability of the unmanned aerial
                       system to detect, sense, and avoid an aircraft in flight. We also reported
                       that, conversely, pilots of manned aircraft have the ability to see and
                       avoid other aircraft, and thus may have more routine access to the
                       national airspace. Further, DOD reports that manned aircraft are effective
                       in the apprehension of undocumented aliens. For example, during fiscal
                       year 2011, DOD leased a manned Cessna aircraft (the Big Miguel
                       Program) that was used to assist in the apprehension of at least 6,500
                       undocumented aliens and the seizure of $54 million in marijuana, as
                       reported to DOD by DHS.


                       A number of challenges exist for both the National Guard and for active-
Challenges of a DOD    duty military forces in providing support to law enforcement missions on
Role in Helping to     the southwest land border.
Secure the Southwest
Land Border
National Guard         National Guard personnel involved in activities on the border have been
                       under the command and control of the governors of the southwest border
                       states and have received federal funding in Title 32 status. In this status,
                       National Guard personnel are permitted to participate in law enforcement
                       activities; however, the Secretary of Defense has limited their activities,
                       which has resulted in the inability of the National Guard units to make
                       arrests while performing border security missions. The National Guard
                       mission limitations are based in part on concerns raised by both DOD and
                       National Guard officials that civilians may not distinguish between
                       Guardsmen and active duty military personnel in uniform, which may lead
                       to the perception that the border is militarized. Therefore, all arrests and
                       seizures at the southwest land border are performed by the Border Patrol.

                       Additionally, we found that the temporary use of the National Guard to
                       help secure the border may give rise to additional challenges. For
                       example, we reported that the use of out-of-state Guardsmen for long-
                       term missions in an involuntary status may have an adverse effect on
                       future National Guard recruitment and retention, according to National
                       Guard officials. Finally, CBP officials noted that the temporary nature of
                       National Guard duty at the border could impact long-term border security
                       planning. These impacts are due to difficulties of incorporating the
                       National Guard into a strategic border security plan, given the variety and


                       Page 7                                              GAO-12-657T Border Security
                       number of missions that the National Guard is responsible for, including
                       disaster assistance.


Active Duty Military   In meeting with DOD officials, we heard of multiple challenges to
Forces                 providing support to law enforcement missions. Specifically, there are
                       legal restraints and other challenges that active duty forces must be
                       mindful of when providing assistance to civilian law enforcement. For
                       example, the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act, 18 U.S.C. §1385, prohibits the
                       direct use of Title 10 (federal) forces in domestic civilian law enforcement,
                       except where authorized by the Constitution or an act of Congress.
                       However, Congress has authorized military support to law enforcement
                       agencies in specific situations such as support for the counterdrug
                       activities of other agencies. 6

                       DOD further clarifies restrictions on direct assistance to law enforcement
                       with its guidance setting out the approval process for Title 10 forces
                       providing operational support for counternarcotic law enforcement
                       missions. 7 The request of law enforcement agencies for support must
                       meet a number of criteria, including that the mission must:

                       •   Have a valid counterdrug nexus.
                       •   Have a proper request from law enforcement (the request must come
                           from an appropriate official, be limited to unique military capabilities,
                           and provide a benefit to DOD or be essential to national security
                           goals).
                       •   Improve unit readiness or mission capability.
                       •   Provide a training opportunity to increase combat readiness.




                       6
                         See Pub. L. No. 101-510, §1004 (1990), as amended. For additional examples of
                       statutes in which Congress has authorized military support to law enforcement, see 10
                       U.S.C. § 124 and 10 U.S.C. § § 371-382. See also 10 U.S.C. §375, which directs the
                       Secretary of Defense to prescribe regulations to ensure that activities carried out in
                       support of civilian law enforcement agencies, under the authorities provided in Chapter 18
                       of Title 10 of the United States Code, do not include or permit direct participation by a
                       member of the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, or the Marine Corps in a search, seizure,
                       arrest or other similar activity unless participation in such activity by such member is
                       otherwise authorized by law.
                       7
                        Deputy Secretary of Defense Memorandum, Department Support to Domestic Law
                       Enforcement Agencies Performing Counternarcotic Activities (October 2, 2003).




                       Page 8                                                        GAO-12-657T Border Security
                        •   Avoid the use of Title 10 forces (military services) for continuing,
                            ongoing, long-term operation support commitments at the same
                            location.
                        Given the complexity of legal authorities and policy issues related to DOD
                        providing support to law enforcement and the number of DOD entities that
                        must approve a support mission by Title 10 forces, it can take up to 180
                        days to obtain final approval from the Office of the Secretary of Defense
                        to execute a mission in support of law enforcement. While supporting law
                        enforcement, DOD may be subject to certain limitations. For example,
                        one limitation is that DOD units working on border missions cannot carry
                        loaded weapons. Instead, DOD units working on the border rely on armed
                        Border Patrol agents, who are assigned to each military unit to provide
                        protection.

                        In addition, we reported in September 2011 that DOD’s operational tempo
                        may impact the availability of DOD units to fill law enforcement support
                        missions. While some DOD units are regularly available to meet specific
                        mission needs at the border (e.g., mechanized units to construct roads),
                        other DOD units (e.g., ground-based surveillance teams) are deployed or
                        may be deployed abroad making it more difficult to fulfill law enforcement
                        requests at any given time. Further, DOD officials we spoke with also
                        raised information-sharing challenges when providing support to law
                        enforcement missions. For example, DOD officials commented that
                        because there are different types of law enforcement personnel that use
                        information differently (e.g., make an immediate arrest or watch, wait, and
                        grow an investigation leading to a later arrest), it was sometimes difficult
                        for DOD to understand whether information sharing was a priority among
                        law enforcement personnel. DOD officials also noted that a lack of
                        security clearances for law enforcement officials affects DOD’s ability to
                        provide classified information to CBP.


                        During our examination of an increased role for DOD at the southwest
Considerations of an    land border, agency officials we spoke with raised a number of broader
Increased DOD Role      issues and concerns surrounding any future expansion of such
                        assistance. Agency officials identified four areas of concern:
at the Southwest Land
Border                  •   DOD officials expressed concerns about the absence of a
                            comprehensive strategy for southwest border security and the
                            resulting challenges to identify and plan a DOD role.
                        •   DHS officials expressed concerns that DOD’s border assistance is ad
                            hoc in that DOD has other operational requirements. DOD assists



                        Page 9                                               GAO-12-657T Border Security
                       when legal authorities allow and resources are available, whereas
                       DHS has a continuous mission to ensure border security.
                   •   Department of State and DOD officials expressed concerns that
                       greater or extended use of military forces on the border could create a
                       perception of a militarized U.S. border with Mexico, especially when
                       Department of State and Justice officials are helping support civilian
                       law enforcement institutions in Mexico to address crime and border
                       issues.
                   •   Federal Aviation Administration officials, who are part of the
                       Department of Transportation, stated that they are concerned about
                       safety in the national airspace, due to concerns about the ability of
                       unmanned aerial systems to detect, sense, and avoid an aircraft in
                       flight. The Federal Aviation Administration has granted DHS authority
                       to fly unmanned aerial systems to support its national security mission
                       along the U.S. southwest land border, and is working with DOD, DHS,
                       and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to identify and
                       evaluate options to increase unmanned aerial systems access in the
                       national airspace.

                   We did not make any recommendations in our September 2011 report.

                   Chairman Miller, Ranking Member Cuellar, and Members of the
                   Subcommittee, this concludes my prepared statement. I am pleased to
                   answer any questions that you may have at this time.


                   For future questions about this statement, please contact me on (202)
GAO Contacts and   512-4523 or LeporeB@gao.gov. Individuals making key contributions to
Staff              this statement include Mark Pross, Assistant Director; Yecenia Camarillo;
                   Carolynn Cavanaugh; Nicole Willems; Lori Kmetz; Charles Perdue;
Acknowledgments    Richard Powelson; Terry Richardson; and Jason Wildhagen.




                   Page 10                                            GAO-12-657T Border Security
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             Page 11                                          GAO-12-657T Border Security
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