oversight

Border Patrol Strategy: Progress and Challenges in Implementation and Assessment Efforts

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 2012-05-08.

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 PATROL
For Release on Delivery
Expected at 10:00 a.m. EDT
Tuesday, May 8, 2012

                             STRATEGY

                             Progress and Challenges in
                             Implementation and
                             Assessment Efforts
                             Statement of Rebecca Gambler, Acting Director
                             Homeland Security and Justice Issues




GAO-12-688T
                                            May 8, 2012

                                            BORDER PATROL STRATEGY
                                            Progress and Challenges in Implementation and
                                            Assessment Efforts
Highlights of GAO-12-688T, a testimony
before the Subcommittee on Border and
Maritime Security, Committee on Homeland
Security, House of Representatives



Why GAO Did This Study                      What GAO Found
Border Patrol, within DHS’s CBP, is the     GAO’s prior work has highlighted progress and challenges in various areas
federal agency with primary                 related to Border Patrol’s implementation of its 2004 National Strategy, which
responsibility for securing the national    could provide insights as Border Patrol transitions to its 2012 Strategic Plan.
borders between the U.S. ports of           Border Patrol officials stated that the 2012 Strategic Plan will rely on Border
entry (POE). DHS has completed a            Patrol and federal, state, local, tribal, and international partners working together
new 2012-2016 Border Patrol Strategic       to use a risk-based approach to secure the border, and include the key elements
Plan (2012-2016 Strategic Plan) that        of “Information, Integration, and Rapid Response” to achieve objectives. These
Border Patrol officials stated will         elements were similar to those in the 2004 Strategy and GAO’s past work
emphasize risk management instead of
                                            highlighted the progress and challenges the agency faced obtaining information
increased resources to achieve border
                                            necessary for border security; integrating security operations with partners; and
security and continue to build on the
foundation of the 2004 National Border
                                            mobilizing a rapid response to security threats. Border Patrol successfully used
Patrol Strategy (2004 Strategy). This       interagency forums and joint operations to counter threats, but challenges
statement highlights key issues from        included assessing the benefits of border technology and infrastructure to,
prior GAO reports that discuss Border       among other things, provide information on situational awareness. For example,
Patrol’s progress and challenges in         in May 2010 GAO reported that the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS)
(1) implementing key elements of the        U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) had not accounted for the effect of its
2004 Strategy and (2) achieving the         investment in border fencing and infrastructure on security. GAO recommended
2004 strategic goal to gain operational     that CBP conduct an analysis of the effect of tactical infrastructure on border
control of the border. This statement is    security, with which CBP concurred. Further, GAO identified challenges in DHS
based on GAO reports issued since           efforts to coordinate with partners that help to secure the border. For example, in
2007 on border security, with selected      December 2010 GAO reported that various northern border security partners
updates from April and May 2012 on          cited ongoing challenges sharing information and resources for border security
Border Patrol resource needs, actions       operations and investigations, and that DHS did not have mechanisms for
taken to address prior GAO                  providing oversight. GAO recommended that DHS provide oversight, to which
recommendations, and efforts to             DHS concurred and stated that in January 2012 the department established an
develop performance measures. To            intercomponent Advisory Council to provide oversight of compliance with
conduct these updates, GAO reviewed         interagency agreements.
agency documents such as operational
assessments and interviewed DHS             GAO’s prior work showed that as of September 30, 2010, Border Patrol reported
officials.                                  achieving its 2004 goal of operational control—where Border Patrol has the
                                            ability to detect and interdict illegal activity—for 1,107 (13 percent) of 8,607 miles
What GAO Recommends                         across U.S. northern, southwest, and coastal borders. DHS transitioned at the
In prior reports, GAO made                  end of fiscal year 2010 from using operational control as its goal and outcome
recommendations to, among other             measure for border security to using an interim measure of apprehensions on the
things, strengthen border security          southwest border. DHS reported that this interim measure would be used until
technology, infrastructure, and             such time as DHS developed a new goal and measure for border security that
partnerships. DHS concurred with the        will reflect a more quantitative methodology across border locations and the
recommendations and has reported            agency’s evolving view of border security. As GAO previously testified, this
actions planned or underway to              interim measure, while providing useful information on activity levels, is an output
address them. CBP reviewed a draft of       measure that does not inform on program results. Therefore, it limits oversight
information contained in this statement     and accountability and has reduced information provided to Congress and the
and provided comments that GAO              public on program results. DHS stated that it had several efforts underway to
incorporated as appropriate.                establish a new measure used to assess efforts to secure the border but as this
                                            measure is under development, it is too early to assess it.

View GAO-12-688T. For more information,
contact Rebecca Gambler at (202) 512-8777
or gamblerr@gao.gov.

                                                                                      United States Government Accountability Office
Chairwoman Miller, Ranking Member Cuellar, and Members of the
Subcommittee:

I am pleased to be here today to discuss our past work highlighting the
U.S. Border Patrol’s progress and challenges implementing its 2004
National Border Patrol Strategy (2004 Strategy) that could be relevant to
the new 2012-2016 Border Patrol Strategic Plan (2012-2016 Strategic
Plan). Border Patrol, within the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS)
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), is the federal agency with
primary responsibility for securing the national borders between the
designated U.S. land border ports of entry (POE). 1 Border Patrol’s 2004
Strategy to secure the borders focused on ensuring the agency had the
right mix of personnel, technology, and infrastructure across locations,
and Border Patrol experienced significant increases in these resources
since 2004. For example, from fiscal year 2004 through 2011, the number
of Border Patrol agents has nearly doubled from about 10,800 to nearly
21,500; and DHS reported that since fiscal year 2006, about $4.4 billion
has been invested in border technology and infrastructure. These
resources were used to support the DHS goal to achieve operational
control of the nation’s borders. The extent of operational control—also
referred to as effective control—was defined as the number of border
miles where Border Patrol had the ability to detect, respond to, and
interdict cross-border illegal activity. DHS last reported its progress and
status in achieving operational control of the borders in fiscal year 2010,
and reported this information to Congress and the public in its Fiscal Year
2008-2010 Annual Performance Report in accordance with requirements
in the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (GPRA). 2




1
 POE are officially designated places that provide for the arrival to, or departure from, the
United States.
2
 Pub. L. No. 103-62, 107 Stat. 285, amended by The GPRA Modernization Act
(GPRAMA) of 2010, Pub. L. No. 111-352, 124 Stat. 3866. Under GPRA, agencies are
required to hold programs accountable to Congress and the public by establishing
program goals, identifying performance measures used to indicate progress toward
meeting the goals, and using the results to improve performance, as necessary. The
information is publicly reported each year in the department’s performance accountability
report. Under the amendments made by GPRAMA, agencies are to describe how the
performance goals contribute to the agency’s strategic plan, establish clearly defined
milestones for achieving performance goals, and describe how they will ensure the
accuracy and reliability of the data used to measure progress.




Page 1                                                                           GAO-12-688T
DHS has completed but not yet publically released a new 2012-2016
Strategic Plan that Border Patrol officials stated will emphasize risk
management instead of increased resources to achieve border security
and that will continue to build on the foundation of the 2004 Strategy. 3
However, the performance goal and measures that will be used to provide
oversight and accountability for the new strategic plan have not yet been
established. In its Fiscal Year 2010-2012 Annual Performance Report and
subsequent reports, DHS replaced the border security goal and measure
of operational control with an interim measure of the number of
apprehensions on the southwest border to report its status and progress
in achieving border security to Congress and the public. As of April 2012,
DHS had yet to develop a new goal for border security. DHS reported that
the interim measure of apprehensions on the southwest border would be
used until such time as DHS developed a new goal and measure for
border security that will reflect a more quantitative methodology across
border locations and the agency’s evolving view of border security.

In the past, we have reviewed and reported on a variety of border security
programs and related performance goals and measures supporting the
2004 Strategy that could inform discussions regarding the 2012-2016
Strategic Plan. Today I will highlight key issues on the Border Patrol’s
progress and challenges relevant to

(1) implementing key elements of the 2004 Strategy, and

(2) achieving the 2004 strategic goal to gain operational control of the
border.

In addition, appendixes I and II provide information on characteristics of
effective national security strategies and performance measures,
respectively.



3
 In the context of risk management, “risk-based” and “risk-informed” are often used
interchangeably to describe the related decision-making processes. However, according
to the DHS Risk Lexicon, risk-based decision making uses the assessment of risk as the
primary decision driver, while risk-informed decision making will consider other relevant
factors such as effectiveness and cost in addition to risk-assessment information. In our
prior work we have reported on the importance of risk-informed decision making with
respect to homeland security strategies given DHS’s limited resources. See GAO,
Department of Homeland Security: Actions Needed to Reduce Overlap and Potential
Unnecessary Duplication, Achieve Cost Savings, and Strengthen Mission Functions,
GAO-12-464T (Washington, D.C.: Mar. 8, 2012).




Page 2                                                                        GAO-12-688T
My statement is based on prior products issued from 2007 to the present
that examined DHS’s efforts to secure the U.S. borders (see related GAO
products at the end of this statement), with selected updates related to
the Border Patrol’s new strategic plan conducted in April and May 2012.
For those reports and testimonies, we obtained and analyzed documents
and information from officials from various components of DHS; the
Department of Justice (DOJ); the Department of Interior (DOI); the United
States Department of Agriculture (USDA); and Canadian, tribal, state, and
local law enforcement agencies with a vested interest in border security
along the northern or southwest borders. More detailed information about
our scope and methodology can be found in our reports and testimonies.
For the selected updates we interviewed Border Patrol headquarters
officials regarding the forthcoming 2012-2016 Border Patrol Strategic
Plan and the status of agency efforts to develop performance measures
for assessing the security of the border between the POEs, as well as
reviewed relevant information contained in Border Patrol 2012
Operational Requirements Based Budget Process (ORBBP)—operational
assessments—and other documents. 4 We also reviewed our prior work
on key elements of effective national security strategies and previous
work on key attributes of successful performance measures consistent
with GPRA. 5 Our work was conducted in accordance with generally
accepted government auditing standards. These standards require that
we plan and perform the audit to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to
provide a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on our
audit objectives. We believe that the evidence obtained provides a
reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions, based on our audit
objectives.




4
 The ORBBP is Border Patrol’s standardized national planning process that links sector-
and station-level planning, operations, and budgets. This process documents how sectors
identify and justify their requests to achieve effective control of the border in their area of
responsibility, and enables Border Patrol to determine how the deployment of resources,
such as technology, infrastructure, and personnel, can be used to secure the border.
5
 See GAO, Combating Terrorism: Evaluation of Selected Characteristics in National
Strategies Related to Terrorism, GAO-04-408T (Washington, D.C.: Feb. 3, 2004);
Rebuilding Iraq: More Comprehensive National Strategy Needed to Help Achieve U.S.
Goals, GAO-06-788 (Washington, D.C.: July 11, 2006); and Tax Administration: IRS
Needs to Further Refine Its Tax Filing Season Performance Measures, GAO-03-143
(Washington, D.C.: Nov. 22, 2002).




Page 3                                                                            GAO-12-688T
Border Patrol          The Border Patrol developed its 2004 Strategy following the terrorist
                       attacks of September 11, 2001, as a framework for the agency’s new
Progress and           priority mission of preventing terrorists and terrorist weapons from
Challenges             entering the United States and to support its traditional mission of
                       preventing aliens, smugglers, narcotics, and other contraband from
Implementing Key       crossing U.S. borders illegally. The 2004 Strategy was designed to
Elements of Its 2004   facilitate the buildup and deployment of agency and border resources and
                       to consolidate the agency into a more centralized organization.
National Strategy
                       Border Patrol headquarters officials stated that the 2012-2016 Strategic
                       Plan will rely on Border Patrol and federal, state, local, tribal, and
                       international partners working together to use a risk-based approach to
                       secure the border that uses the key elements of “Information, Integration,
                       and Rapid Response” to achieve Border Patrol strategic objectives. Our
                       past reviews of border security programs contained information on the
                       progress and challenges related to implementing these key elements. Our
                       observations are as follows.

                       Obtaining Information Necessary for Border Security. Critical to
                       implementation of the 2004 Strategy was the use of intelligence to assess
                       risk, target enforcement efforts, and drive operations, according to the
                       strategy. As part of their intelligence efforts, CBP and Border Patrol
                       worked to develop and deploy the next generation of border surveillance
                       and sensoring platforms to maximize the Border Patrol’s ability to detect,
                       respond, and interdict cross-border illegal activity. Border Patrol
                       headquarters officials reported that the new 2012-2016 Strategic Plan
                       also has a focus on information that provides situational awareness and
                       intelligence developed by blending technology, reconnaissance, and sign-
                       cutting 6 and tracking, to understand the threats faced along the nation’s
                       borders. Our prior work reviewing CBP’s efforts to deploy capabilities to,
                       among other things, provide situational awareness along U.S. borders
                       provides insights that could inform Border Patrol considerations in
                       implementing its new strategic plan.



                       6
                        “Sign” is the collective term for evidence that Border Patrol agents look for and find after
                       they have dragged dirt roads using tires lying on their sides flat on the ground and pulled
                       by chains behind an SUV. “Sign” can be footprints, animal prints, and tire or bicycle
                       tracks—any indication in the polished surface created by the drag. The term “cutting”
                       refers to the practice of concentrating on the marks within discrete, manageable slices or
                       segments of terrain. Border Patrol agents track illegal cross-border activity by cutting for
                       sign to find persons who may have crossed the border illegally.




                       Page 4                                                                           GAO-12-688T
As of fiscal year end 2010, Border Patrol reported having substantial
detection resources in place across 45 percent of the nation’s border
miles. The remaining 55 percent of border miles—primarily on the
northern and coastal borders—were considered vulnerable due to limited
resource availability or inaccessibility, with some knowledge available to
develop a rudimentary border control strategy. Our review of Border
Patrol 2012 operational assessments also showed concerns about
resource availability to provide the information necessary to secure the
border. Across Border Patrol’s 20 sectors located on the northern,
southwest, and southeast coastal borders, all sectors reported a need for
new or replacement technology used to detect and track illegal activity,
and the majority (19) reported a need for additional agents to maintain or
attain an acceptable level of border security. 7 Additionally, 12 sectors
reported a need for additional infrastructure. 8

DHS, CBP, and Border Patrol are continuing to focus attention on
development, acquisition, and deployment of technology and
infrastructure needed to provide the information necessary to secure the
borders, with priority for the southwest border. Our past work highlighted
the continuing challenges the agency faced implementing technology and
infrastructure at the U.S. land borders.

•   Technology. We previously reported that in January 2011, after 5
    years and a cost of nearly $1 billion, DHS ended the Secure Border
    Initiative Network (SBInet), a multi-year, multi-billion-dollar technology
    effort aimed at securing U.S. borders because it did not meet cost-
    effectiveness and viability standards. DHS developed a successor
    plan to secure the border—the Alternative (Southwest) Border
    Technology plan—where CBP is to focus on developing terrain- and
    population-based solutions utilizing existing, proven technology, such
    as camera-based surveillance systems, for each border region


7
  For example, one station in a northern sector requested additional agents to enhance
limited border detection and enforcement capability to an acceptable level, and one station
in a southwest sector reported a need for fixed and mobile technology to secure the
remote and rugged terrain, reporting that without this technology, rapid response was
often impossible.
8
 For example, one station in a northern sector reported that insufficient infrastructure and
personnel meant violators had a high probability of crossing a remote/rural border area
undetected, and one station in a southwest sector reported that lack of infrastructure
hindered its ability to address a more than 91 percent increase in aliens who are able to
get away before apprehension.




Page 5                                                                          GAO-12-688T
     beginning with high-risk areas in Arizona. In November 2011, we
     reported that CBP’s planned technology deployment plan for the
     Arizona border, the Arizona Border Surveillance Technology Plan,
     was expected to cost approximately $1.5 billion over 10
     years. 9 However, we also reported that CBP did not have the
     information needed to fully support and implement the technology
     deployment plan in accordance with DHS and Office of Management
     and Budget guidance, among other things. 10 We recommended that
     DHS determine the mission benefits to be derived from
     implementation of the plan and develop and apply key attributes for
     metrics to assess program implementation. DHS concurred with our
     recommendation and reported that it planned to develop a set of
     measures to assess the effectiveness and benefits of future
     technology investments.
•    Infrastructure. In May 2010, we testified that CBP had not accounted
     for the effect of its investment in border fencing and infrastructure on
     border security. 11 Border fencing was designed to impede people on
     foot and vehicles from crossing the border and to enhance Border
     Patrol’s ability to detect and interdict violators. CBP estimated that
     border fencing and other infrastructure had a life-cycle cost of about
     $6.5 billion for deployment, operations, and maintenance. CBP
     reported a resulting increase in control of southwest border miles, but
     could not account separately for the effect of the border fencing and
     other infrastructure. In a September 2009 report, we recommended
     that CBP conduct an analysis of the effect of tactical infrastructure on
     border security. 12 CBP concurred and reported that it had contracted
     with the Homeland Security Institute (HSI)—a federally funded
     research and development center—to analyze the effect of tactical




9
 $1.5 billion then-year dollars. Then-year dollars reflect the cost at the time of the
procurement.
10
  GAO, Arizona Border Surveillance Technology: More Information on Plans and Costs Is
Needed before Proceeding, GAO-12-22 (Washington, D.C.: Nov. 4, 2011).
11
 GAO, Secure Border Initiative: DHS Has Faced Challenges Deploying Technology and
Fencing Along the Southwest Border, GAO-10-651T (Washington, D.C.: May 4, 2010).
12
  GAO, Secure Border Initiative: Technology Deployment Delays Persist and the Impact
of Border Fencing Has Not Been Assessed, GAO-09-896 (Washington, D.C.: Sept. 9,
2009).




Page 6                                                                            GAO-12-688T
     infrastructure on the security of the border. 13 As of May 2012, CBP
     had not provided an update on this effort.

Integrating Border Security Operations with Federal, State, Local,
Tribal, and International Partners. Leveraging the law enforcement
resources of federal, state, local, tribal, and international partners was a
key element of Border Patrol’s 2004 Strategy and Border Patrol’s
implementation of the strategy, on the northern and coastal borders
where Border Patrol had fewer resources relative to the size of the
geographic area, and on the southwest border where Border Patrol used
the assistance of law enforcement partners to conduct surge operations
in high-priority areas. Border Patrol headquarters officials stated that
integration of border security operations will be a key element of the
2012-2016 Strategic Plan across all borders. Our prior work reviewing
coordination among various stakeholders with responsibilities for helping
to secure the border provides insights for consideration as Border Patrol
transitions to its new strategic plan.

We previously reviewed Border Patrol efforts to coordinate law
enforcement resources across partners on the northern border and on
federal border lands. 14 On the northern border, we reported in December
2010 that federal, state, local, tribal, and Canadian partners operating in
four Border Patrol sectors we visited stated that efforts to establish
interagency forums were beneficial in establishing a common
understanding of border security status and threats, and that joint
operations helped to achieve an integrated and effective law enforcement
response. However, numerous partners cited challenges related to the
inability to resource the increasing number of interagency forums and
raised concerns that some efforts may be overlapping. We found that
DHS did not oversee the interagency forums established by its
components. Further, we also reported that while Border Patrol and other
federal partners stated that federal agency coordination to secure the



13
  The Secretary of Homeland Security established HSI pursuant to section 312 of the
Homeland Security Act of 2002. See 6 U.S.C. § 192.
14
  GAO, Border Security: Enhanced DHS Oversight and Assessment of Interagency
Coordination Is Needed for the Northern Border, GAO-11-97 (Washington, D.C.: Dec. 17,
2010), and Border Security: Additional Actions Needed to Better Ensure a Coordinated
Federal Response to Illegal Activity on Federal Lands, GAO-11-177 (Washington, D.C.:
Nov. 18, 2010).




Page 7                                                                     GAO-12-688T
northern border was improved, partners in all four sectors we visited cited
long-standing and ongoing challenges sharing information and resources
for daily border security related to operations and investigations. 15
Challenges were attributed to continued disagreement on roles and
responsibilities and competition for performance statistics used to inform
resource allocation decisions. DHS established and updated interagency
agreements designed to clarify roles and responsibilities for agencies with
overlapping missions or geographic areas of responsibility, but oversight
by management at the component and local levels had not ensured
consistent compliance with provisions of these agreements. We
previously reported that governmentwide efforts to strengthen interagency
collaboration have been hindered by the lack of agreement on roles and
responsibilities and agency performance management systems that do
not recognize or reward interagency collaboration. 16 Thus, we
recommended, among other things, that DHS provide guidance and
oversight for interagency forums established or sponsored by its
components and provide regular oversight of component compliance with
the provisions of interagency Memorandum of Understandings. DHS
concurred with our recommendation and stated that the structure of the
department precluded DHS-level oversight, but that it would review the
inventory of interagency forums through its strategic and operational
planning efforts to assess efficiency. DHS officials stated that in January
2012 the department established an intercomponent Advisory Council to
address our recommendation that DHS provide oversight of compliance
with interagency agreements. 17

We also reported in December 2010 that while there is a high reliance on
law enforcement support from partners on the northern border, the extent
of law enforcement resources available to address border security
vulnerabilities was not reflected in Border Patrol’s processes for


15
 These partners included DHS’s Offices of Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs
Enforcement, DOJ’s Drug Enforcement Administration, and USDA’s U.S. Forest Service.
16
 GAO, National Security: Key Challenges and Solutions to Strengthen Interagency
Collaboration, GAO-10-822T (Washington, D.C.: June 2010), and Interagency
Collaboration: Key Issues for Congressional Oversight of National Security Strategies,
Organizations, Workforce, and Information Sharing, GAO-09-904SP (Washington, D.C.:
Sept. 25, 2009).
17
  According to DHS officials, this intercomponent Advisory Council meets quarterly to,
among other things, identify cross-cutting issues, identify areas for closer collaboration,
and share best practices.




Page 8                                                                           GAO-12-688T
assessing border security and resource requirements. 18 We previously
reported that federal agencies should identify resources among
collaborating agencies to deliver results more efficiently and that DHS
had not fully responded to a legislative requirement to link initiatives—
including partnerships—to existing border vulnerabilities to inform federal
resource allocation decisions. 19 Development of policy and guidance to
integrate available partner resources in northern border security
assessments and resource planning documents could provide the agency
and Congress with more complete information necessary to make
resource allocation decisions in mitigating existing border vulnerabilities.
Thus, we recommended that DHS direct CBP to develop policy and
guidance necessary to identify, assess, and integrate the available
partner resources in northern border sector security assessments and
resource planning documents. DHS concurred with our recommendation
and has taken action to formulate new policy and guidance in associated
strategic planning efforts.

In our November 2010 report on interagency coordination on northern
federal borderlands in Border Patrol’s Spokane sector and southwest
federal borderlands in Border Patrol’s Tucson sector, we reported, among
other things, that Border Patrol, DOI, and USDA had established forums
and liaisons to exchange information. 20 However, while information
sharing and communication among these agencies had increased in
recent years, critical gaps remained in implementing interagency
agreements to share intelligence information and compatible secure radio
communications for daily border security operations. We reported that
coordination in these areas could better ensure officer safety and an
efficient law enforcement response to illegal activity. In addition, there
was little interagency coordination to share intelligence assessments of
border security threats to federal lands and develop budget requests,
strategies, and joint operations to address these threats. We reported that
interagency efforts to implement provisions of existing agreements in



18
 GAO-11-97.
19
  GAO, Results-Oriented Government: Practices That Can Help Enhance and Sustain
Collaboration among Federal Agencies, GAO-06-15 (Washington, D.C.: Oct. 21, 2005),
and Northern Border Security: DHS’s Report Could Better Inform Congress by Identifying
Actions, Resources, and Time Frames Needed to Address Vulnerabilities, GAO-09-93
(Washington, D.C.: Nov. 25, 2008).
20
 GAO-11-177.




Page 9                                                                     GAO-12-688T
these areas could better leverage law enforcement partner resources and
knowledge for more effective border security operations on federal lands.
Thus, we recommended that DHS, DOI, and USDA take the necessary
action to further implement interagency agreements. The departments
concurred with our recommendation. In response, Border Patrol issued a
memorandum to all Border Patrol sectors emphasizing the importance of
USDA and DOI partnerships to address border security threats on federal
lands. While this action is a positive step toward implementing our
recommendation, we continue to believe that DHS should take additional
steps necessary to monitor and uphold implementation of the existing
interagency agreements, including provisions to share intelligence and
resource requirements for enhancing border security on federal lands.

Mobilizing a Rapid Response to Border Security Threats. One of the
elements of Border Patrol’s 2004 National Strategy was to improve the
mobility and rapid deployment of personnel and resources to quickly
counter and interdict threats based on shifts in smuggling routes and
tactical intelligence. CBP reported expanding the training and response
capabilities of the Border Patrol’s specialized response teams to support
domestic and international intelligence-driven and antiterrorism efforts as
well as other special operations. Border Patrol headquarters officials
stated that “Rapid Response,” defined as the ability of Border Patrol and
its partners to quickly and appropriately respond to changing threats, will
also be a key element of the 2012-2016 Strategic Plan; and in fiscal year
2011, Border Patrol allocated agent positions to provide a national group
of organized, trained, and equipped Border Patrol agents who are
capable of rapid movement to regional and national incidents in support
of priority CBP missions. Our prior work and review of Border Patrol’s
2012 operational assessments provide observations that could inform
Border Patrol’s transition to and implementation of its new strategic plan.

Our review of Border Patrol 2012 operational assessments showed that
Border Patrol sectors had used resources mobilized from other Border
Patrol sectors or provided by law enforcement partners to maintain or
increase border security. Border Patrol, for example, mobilized personnel
and air assets from Yuma sector to neighboring Tucson sector, which
cited that the coordination of operational activities was critical to the
overall success of operations. Similarly, National Guard personnel and
resources have been used to bridge or augment Border Patrol staffing
until new agents are trained and deployed. The Department of Defense
(DOD) estimated costs of about $1.35 billion for National Guard support
of DHS’s border security mission in the four southwest border states



Page 10                                                          GAO-12-688T
(California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas) from June 2006 through
September 30, 2011.

However, Border Patrol headquarters officials stated that they had not
fully assessed to what extent the augmented mobile response resources
would be sufficient to preclude the need to redeploy personnel and
resources needed to secure higher-priority border locations at the
expense of lower-priority locations, or changes in the type or continued
need of resources from its law enforcement partners. Within Border
Patrol, for example, our review of the 2012 operational assessments
showed that Border Patrol reported difficulty maintaining border control in
areas from which resources have been redeployed. Border Patrol stations
within six of the nine southwest border sectors have reported that agent
deployments to other stations have affected their own deployment and
enforcement activities.

Border Patrol law enforcement partners also cited challenges. For
example, we testified in April 2012 that DOD officials expressed concerns
about the challenges to identify and plan a DOD role in the absence of a
comprehensive strategy for southwest border security. 21 In addition, we
reported in March 2012 that while Border Patrol expects an increase in air
support for rapid deployment of its mobile forces, it had not fully
coordinated requirements with CBP’s Office of Air and Marine (OAM). 22
OAM officials stated that while they deployed a majority of resources to
high-priority sectors, budgetary constraints, other national priorities, and
the need to maintain presence across border locations limited the amount
of resources they could redeploy from lower-priority sectors. In addition,
the agency does not have documentation of analyses assessing the
effect of these constraints and whether actions could be taken to change
the mix and placement of resources within them. 23 In response to our
recommendation, in part, that CBP reassess the mix and placement of
OAM air resources to include anticipated CBP strategic changes, DHS




21
  GAO, Observations on Costs, Benefits, and Challenges of a Department of Defense
Role in Helping to Secure the Southwest Land Border, GAO-12-657T (Washington, D.C.:
Apr. 17, 2012).
22
  GAO, Border Security: Opportunities Exist to Ensure More Effective Use of DHS’s Air
and Marine Assets, GAO-12-518 (Washington, D.C.: Mar. 30, 2012).
23
 GAO-12-518.




Page 11                                                                    GAO-12-688T
                     agreed and stated that it planned to complete such actions as part of the
                     next iteration of the Aircraft Deployment Plan 24



Border Patrol        The DHS goal and measure of operational control used in conjunction
                     with the 2004 Strategy provided oversight of five levels of border control
Progress and         that were based on the increasing availability of information and
Challenges in        resources, which Border Patrol used to detect, respond, and interdict
                     illegal cross-border activity either at the border or after entry into the
Achieving Its        United States (see table 1). The top two levels—”controlled” and
Strategic Goal for   “managed”—reflect Border Patrol’s reported achievement of “operational
                     control,” in that resources were in place and sufficient to detect, respond,
Border Security      and interdict illegal activity either at the immediate border (controlled
                     level) or after the illegal entry occurs (managed level), sometimes up to
                     100 miles away. The remaining three levels reflected lower levels of
                     border control, where Border Patrol has less ability to detect, respond to,
                     or interdict illegal activity due to insufficient resources or inaccessibility.

                     Table 1: Definitions of Border Patrol Levels of Border Security under 2004 Strategy
                      Level of border security                 Definition
                      Controlled—operational                   Continuous detection and interdiction resources at the
                      control                                  immediate border with high probability of apprehension upon
                                                               entry.
                      Managed—operational                      Multi-tiered detection and interdiction resources are in place
                      control                                  to fully implement the border control strategy with high
                                                               probability of apprehension after entry.
                      Monitored                                Substantial detection resources in place, but accessibility
                                                               and resources continue to affect ability to respond.
                      Low-level monitored                      Some knowledge is available to develop a rudimentary
                                                               border control strategy, but the area remains vulnerable
                                                               because of inaccessibility or limited resource availability.
                      Remote/low activity                      Information is lacking to develop a meaningful border control
                                                               strategy because of inaccessibility or lack of resources.
                     Source: GAO analysis of U.S. Border Patrol data.



                     DHS reported achieving operational control for 1,107 (13 percent) of
                     8,607 miles across U.S. northern, southwest, and coastal borders at the
                     time it discontinued use of this performance goal at the end of fiscal year
                     2010 (see fig. 1). Nearly 80 percent of border miles Border Patrol


                     24
                       Aircraft deployment plans are intended to match assets to operational requirements.




                     Page 12                                                                                      GAO-12-688T
reported to be under operational control were on the U.S. southwest
border with Mexico. Border Patrol sector officials assessed the miles
under operational control using factors such as operational statistics,
third-party indicators, intelligence and operational reports, resource
deployments and discussions with senior Border Patrol agents. 25 Our
analysis of the 1,107 border miles Border Patrol reported to be under
operational control showed that about 12 percent were classified as
“controlled,” which was the highest sustainable level for both detection
and interdiction at the immediate border. The remaining 88 percent of
these 1,1,07 border miles were classified as “managed,” in that
interdictions may be achieved after illegal entry by multi-tiered
enforcement operations.

Figure 1: U.S. Border Miles Reported by Border Patrol to be under Operational
Control, as of September 30, 2010




Across the 20 Border Patrol sectors on the national borders, Yuma sector
on the southwest border reported achieving operational control for all of
its border miles as of the end of fiscal year 2010. In contrast, the other 19



25
  Operational statistics generally include the number of apprehensions, known illegal
border entries, and volume and shift of smuggling activity, among other performance
indicators. Border Patrol officials at sectors and headquarters convene to discuss and
determine the number of border miles under operational control for each sector based on
relative risk.




Page 13                                                                     GAO-12-688T
sectors reported achieving operational control ranging from 0 to 86
percent of their border miles (see fig. 2). Border Patrol officials attributed
the uneven progress across sectors to multiple factors, including a need
to prioritize resource deployment to sectors deemed to have greater risk
of illegal activity as well as terrain and transportation infrastructure on
both sides of the border.

Figure 2: National Border Patrol Sectors by Percentage of Miles Reported to Be
under Operational Control, as of September 30, 2010




Our analysis of the remaining 7,500 national border miles that Border
Patrol reported as not under operational control at the end of fiscal year
2010 showed that nearly two-thirds of these border miles were
considered at the level of “low-level monitored,” meaning that some
knowledge was available to develop a rudimentary border control
strategy, but border security was vulnerable due to limited resources or
inaccessibility (see fig. 3). The approximate one-third of these border
miles remaining at the higher “monitored” level were judged to have



Page 14                                                                GAO-12-688T
substantial detection resources in place, but accessibility and resources
continue to affect Border Patrol’s ability to respond. Border Patrol
reported that these two levels of control were not acceptable for border
security. No border miles were classified at the lowest level of
“remote/low activity” as a result of insufficient information to develop a
meaningful border control strategy.

Figure 3: Status of U.S. Border Miles Reported as Not Under Operational Control by
Border Location, as of September 30, 2010




DHS transitioned from using operational control as its goal and outcome
measure for border security in its Fiscal Year 2010-2012 Annual
Performance Report, which since September 30, 2010, has reduced
information provided to Congress and the public on program results.
Citing a need to establish a new border security goal and measure that
reflect a more quantitative methodology as well as the department’s
evolving vision for border control, DHS established an interim
performance measure until a new border control goal and measure could



Page 15                                                                GAO-12-688T
be developed. As we previously testified, this interim GPRA measure—
the number of apprehensions on the southwest border between the ports
of entry (POE)—is an output measure, which, while providing useful
information on activity levels, does not inform on program results and
therefore could reduce oversight and DHS accountability. 26 Studies
commissioned by CBP have documented that the number of
apprehensions bears little relationship to effectiveness because agency
officials do not compare these numbers to the amount of illegal activity
that crosses the border. 27 CBP officials told us they would continue to use
interim measures for GPRA reporting purposes until new outcome
measures are implemented; as of April 2012 CBP officials did not have an
estimated implementation date for a new border security goal and
measure.

DHS stated that it had three efforts underway to improve the measures
used to assess its programs and activities to secure the border. However,
as these measures have not yet been implemented, it is too early to
assess them and determine how they will be used to provide oversight of
border security efforts. One of two efforts, led by CBP with assistance
from the Homeland Security Institute (HSI), is to develop a Border
Condition Index (BCI) that is intended to be a new outcome-based
measure that will be used to publicly report progress in meeting a new
border security goal in support of GPRA. The BCI methodology would
consider various factors, such as the percentage of illegal entries
apprehended and community well-being. CBP is in the process of
finalizing the BCI measure and did not provide us with a time frame for its
implementation. The second CBP effort is to create a measure of the
change in illegal flow of persons across the southwest border using a
statistical model developed by HSI, which uses data on apprehensions
and recidivism rates for persons illegally crossing the border. DHS
officials said that they had not yet determined whether results from this
model would be used for GPRA reporting in the Fiscal Year 2012 DHS
Annual Performance Plan, or for internal management purposes and
reported to Congress in support of the annual budget request. The third
effort, led by Border Patrol, is to standardize and strengthen the metrics



 GAO, Border Security: Preliminary Observations on Border Control Measures for the
26

Southwest Border, GAO-11-374T (Washington, D.C.: Feb. 15, 2011).
 For example, see Homeland Security Institute, Measuring the Effect of the Arizona
27

Border Control Initiative (Arlington, Va.: Oct. 18, 2005).




Page 16                                                                    GAO-12-688T
                   that had formerly supported the measure of “border miles under effective
                   (operational) control” that DHS removed as a GPRA goal and measure
                   beginning in fiscal year 2011. As of April 2012, Border Patrol
                   headquarters officials were working to develop border security goals and
                   measures, but did not yet have a target time frame for implementation.

                   While these new metrics are in development, Border Patrol operational
                   assessments from fiscal years 2010 and 2012 show that field agents
                   continued to use a different and evolving mix of performance indicators
                   across Border Patrol sectors to inform the status of border security.
                   These performance indicators generally included a mix of enforcement
                   measures related to changes in the number of estimated known illegal
                   entries and apprehensions, as well as changes in third-party indicators
                   such as crime rates in border communities. Border Patrol officials said
                   that the differences in the mix of performance indicators across sectors
                   and time reflected differences in sector officials’ judgment of what
                   indicators best reflect border security, given each sector’s unique
                   circumstance. Border Patrol headquarters officials said that they were
                   moving to standardize the indicators used by sectors on each border but
                   did not yet have a time frame for completing this effort.


                   Chairwoman Miller and Ranking Member Cuellar this completes my
                   prepared statement. I would be happy to respond to any questions you or
                   the members of the subcommittee may have.



GAO Contacts and   For questions about this statement, please contact Rebecca Gambler at
                   (202) 512-8777 or gamblerr@gao.gov. Contact points for our Offices of
Staff              Congressional Relations and Public Affairs may be found on the last page
Acknowledgments    of this statement. Individuals making key contributions to this statement
                   included David Alexander, Cindy Ayers, Charles Bausell, Jr., Frances
                   Cook, Michele Fejfar, Barbara Guffy, Brian Lipman, Jessica Orr, and
                   Susan Sachs.




                   Page 17                                                        GAO-12-688T
Appendix I: Characteristics of Effective
               Appendix I: Characteristics of Effective
               Security Strategies



Security Strategies

               We have previously reported on desirable characteristics of effective
               security strategies through our prior work on national security planning. 1
               These six characteristics and their elements could assist Border Patrol in
               its efforts to ensure that the 2012-2016 Border Patrol Strategic Plan
               (2012-2016 Strategic Plan) is an effective mechanism for achieving
               results.

               •   Purpose, scope and methodology. This characteristic addresses
                   why the strategy was produced, the scope of its coverage, and the
                   process by which it was developed. Border Patrol could discuss the
                   specific impetus that led to the new strategic plan, for example, a
                   terrorist event or changes in the external environment such as
                   decreases in illegal activity or changes in organizational makeup such
                   as significant increases in resources and capabilities. In addition to
                   describing what the strategy is meant to do and the major functions,
                   mission areas, or activities it covers, a national strategy would
                   address its methodology, such as which organizations drafted or
                   provided input to the document. For example, Border Patrol could
                   identify parties or stakeholders who were consulted in the
                   development of the strategy, such as federal law enforcement
                   partners, relevant state and local agencies, and tribal organizations.
               •   Problem definition and risk assessment. This characteristic
                   addresses the particular national problems and threats the strategy is
                   directed towards. Border Patrol could develop a detailed discussion of
                   primary threats—such as the illegal flow of migrants, smugglers, and
                   other criminals or persons linked with terrorism across the border—as
                   well as their causes and operating environment. 2 This characteristic
                   also entails a risk assessment, including an analysis of the threat to,
                   and vulnerabilities of, critical assets and operations. 3 Border Patrol
                   could ensure that the strategic plan is informed by a national risk


               1
                See GAO, Combating Terrorism: Evaluation of Selected Characteristics in National
               Strategies Related to Terrorism, GAO-04-408T (Washington, D.C.: Feb. 3, 2004), and
               Rebuilding Iraq: More Comprehensive National Strategy Needed to Help Achieve U.S.
               Goals, GAO-06-788 (Washington, D.C.: July 11, 2006).
               2
                If the details of the analyses are classified, an unclassified version could include a broad
               description of the analyses and stress the importance of risk assessments to
               implementing parties.
               3
                Risk assessment includes a threat assessment, a vulnerability assessment, and a
               consequences assessment (formerly referred to as a “criticality” assessment). For more
               in-depth discussion of these subjects, see GAO, Homeland Security: Key Elements of a
               Risk Management Approach, GAO-02-150T (Washington, D.C.: Oct. 12, 2002).




               Page 18                                                                          GAO-12-688T
Appendix I: Characteristics of Effective
Security Strategies




    assessment that includes a comprehensive examination of threats
    and vulnerabilities across all U.S. borders, to include key
    infrastructures and assets. A discussion of the quality of data
    available for this assessment, such as known constraints or
    deficiencies in key data on estimated volume of persons illegally
    crossing the border, could also be pertinent.
•   Goals, subordinate objectives, activities, and performance
    measures. This characteristic addresses what the strategy is trying to
    achieve, steps to achieve those results, and priorities, milestones, and
    performance measures to gauge results. For example, Border Patrol
    could identify what the strategic plan is attempting to achieve—a
    specific end state such as securing the nation’s borders—and identify
    and prioritize the specific steps and activities needed to achieve that
    end state, such as prioritizing the resourcing of sectors and stations in
    high-risk border areas. Identifying milestones and performance
    measures for achieving results according to specific time frames could
    help to ensure effective oversight and accountability. Border Patrol
    could, for example, identify milestones for developing an
    implementation plan, with time frames, which would guide the
    execution of the strategy and ensure that key steps such as
    completing a comprehensive risk assessment or developing
    appropriate outcome measures are achieved. This characteristic also
    emphasizes the importance of establishing outcome-related
    performance measures that link back to goals and objectives. For
    example, Border Patrol could develop outcome measures that show
    to what extent it has met its goal for securing the nation’s borders.
•   Resources, investments, and risk management. This characteristic
    addresses what the strategy will cost, the sources and types of
    resources and investments needed, and where resources and
    investments should be targeted based on balancing risk reductions
    with costs. 4 A national strategy could include criteria and appropriate
    mechanisms to allocate resources based on identified needs. Border
    Patrol could develop information on the costs of fully implementing the
    strategic plan, as well as a comprehensive baseline of resources and
    investments needed by sectors and stations to achieve the mission of
    securing the nation’s borders. According to our previous work, risk
    management focuses security efforts on those activities that bring
    about the greatest reduction in risk given the resources used. The



4
 Risk management also involves assessing risk through an assessment of threat,
vulnerability, and consequence.




Page 19                                                                   GAO-12-688T
Appendix I: Characteristics of Effective
Security Strategies




    strategic plan could elaborate on the risk assessment mentioned
    previously and provide guidance on how to manage resources and
    investments.
•   Organizational roles, responsibilities, and coordination. This
    characteristic addresses who will be implementing the strategy, what
    their roles will be compared to others, and mechanisms for them to
    coordinate their efforts. A strategy could clarify organizations’
    relationships in terms of partnering and might also identify specific
    processes for coordination between entities. For example, Border
    Patrol could build upon relations with federal, state, local, and tribal
    law enforcement organizations by further clarifying how these
    relationships can be organized to further leverage resources.
•   Integration and implementation. This characteristic addresses how
    a national strategy relates to other strategies’ goals, objectives, and
    activities, and to subordinate levels of government and their plans to
    implement the strategy. For example, a national strategy could
    discuss how its scope complements, expands upon, or overlaps with
    other national strategies. Border Patrol could ensure that its 2012-
    2016 Strategic Plan explains how it complements the strategies of
    other CBP agencies, such as the Office of Air and Marine and the
    Office of Field Operations, which oversees the nation’s ports of entry,
    as well as U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s overall strategy.




Page 20                                                           GAO-12-688T
Appendix II: Characteristics of Effective
               Appendix II: Characteristics of Effective
               Performance Measures



Performance Measures

               Under the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA), Border
               Patrol performance measures should be developed in the context of the
               Department of Homeland Security (DHS) mission and objectives for
               securing the U.S. border. In its Annual Performance Report for fiscal
               years 2010-2012, DHS discussed border security under Mission 2:
               Securing and Managing Our Borders. Under this mission, there were
               interim Border Patrol performance measures supporting Goal 2.1: Secure
               U.S. Air, Land, and Sea Borders, defined as preventing the illegal flow of
               people and goods across U.S. air, land, and sea borders. There were two
               objectives supporting this goal:

               •   Objective 2.1.1 Prevent illegal entry of people, weapons, dangerous
                   goods and contraband, and protect against cross-border threats to
                   health, the environment, and agriculture, while facilitating the safe flow
                   of lawful travel and commerce.
               •   Objective 2.1.2 Prevent illegal export and exit of weapons, proceeds
                   of crime, and other dangerous goods, and the exit of malicious actors.
               We have previously reported on key attributes of successful performance
               measures consistent with GPRA. 1 Some of these attributes suggest that
               U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Border Patrol consider
               the following in efforts to develop and standardize performance indicators
               and metrics:

               •   Measures should cover the core program activities that Border
                   Patrol is expected to perform. At the broadest level, the DHS goal
                   suggests measuring Border Patrol outcomes for preventing the illegal
                   flow of people across the border between the ports of entry, as well as
                   the illegal flow of goods. Border Patrol metrics comparing estimated
                   illegal entries to apprehensions could serve to show how its efforts
                   contribute to stemming the illegal flow of people across the border. As
                   of April 2012, Border Patrol did not have a metric for performance
                   related to stemming the illegal flow of goods, such as drugs, between
                   the ports of entry in support of the border security goal. Border Patrol
                   headquarters officials stated that they were not likely to develop a
                   measure, per se, on contraband seizures that would apply across all
                   sectors. According to these officials, although the Border Patrol plays
                   a vital role in seizing contraband at the borders, it views this role as



               Tax Administration: IRS Needs to Further Refine Its Tax Filing Season Performance
               1

               Measures, GAO-03-143 (Washington, D.C.: Nov. 22, 2002).




               Page 21                                                                   GAO-12-688T
Appendix II: Characteristics of Effective
Performance Measures




    part of the larger security function played by many different agencies
    at all government levels.
•   Measures should be balanced to cover CBP and DHS priorities.
    Border Patrol could establish specific performance measures that
    support CBP and DHS priorities, such as those listed in the objectives
    supporting the overall DHS goal. For example, in measuring the ability
    to prevent the illegal flow of persons, Border Patrol, in consultation
    with CBP and DHS, could choose to separately measure the illegal
    flow of migrants, smugglers, and other criminals, or persons linked
    with terrorism, crossing the border between the ports of entry.
    Similarly, in measuring the ability to prevent the flow of dangerous
    goods, Border Patrol could choose to separately measure the flow of
    weapons, illegal drugs, or proceeds of crime, such as bulk cash.
    Border Patrol could also establish separate performance measures for
    its ability to prevent the entry and exit of persons and goods across
    the border.
•   Measures should link and align with measures of other
    components and at successive levels of the organization. DHS
    could ensure that performance measures established by Border Patrol
    align with measures at the CBP and departmental level, as well as
    those established by other components that contribute toward the
    goal to secure our borders, such as Customs and Border Protection’s
    Office of Field Operations (OFO), which has responsibility for securing
    the border at the ports of entry. For example, Border Patrol metrics
    estimating the flow of illegal entries between the ports of entry aligns
    with OFO metrics to measure for the illegal flow of persons through
    the ports of entry, 2 and metrics of both components could be aligned
    with an overall effort by CBP to measure the overall flow of persons
    illegally crossing the southwest border. DHS could also choose to
    establish a performance measure informing on the flow of persons
    into the United States who overstay their authorized period of
    admission or other means that could similarly link to the overall DHS
    estimate of persons illegally residing in the United States. Linking
    performance measures such as these across the organization informs



2
  OFO uses a statistical program (model), COMPEX, which estimates the total amount of
illegal activity passing undetected through U.S. ports of entry—including persons
transporting illegal drugs, guns, or other banned substances—to calculate the
apprehension rate and gauge the effectiveness of Customs and Border Protection officers
to interdict them. As of March 2011, OFO officials said COMPEX was used at air and land
ports of entry, but not sea ports of entry, and at land ports of entry it was used for
passenger vehicles, but not cargo vehicles or pedestrians.




Page 22                                                                    GAO-12-688T
Appendix II: Characteristics of Effective
Performance Measures




    on how well each program or activity is contributing toward the overall
    goal to prevent illegal entry of persons, reinforces accountability, and
    ensures that day-to-day activities contribute to the results the
    organization is trying to achieve.
•   Measures should reflect governmentwide priorities, such as
    quality, timeliness, and cost of service. Border Patrol could
    establish performance measures that are consistent with any
    measures developed by CBP and DHS to reflect the time frames and
    cost efficiencies in securing the border across locations. For example,
    CBP and DHS could establish measures that reflect the overall cost or
    timeframe to secure the border as indicated by changes in the illegal
    flow of persons or goods relative to its investment across components
    and programs. At the Border Patrol level, such a measure could
    compare the relative cost efficiencies achieved across border
    locations that use a different mix of personnel, technology, or
    strategies to secure the border.
•   Measures should have a numerical goal, be reasonably free from
    significant bias or manipulation, and be reliable in producing the
    same result under similar conditions. As of April 2012, Border
    Patrol was working to improve the quality of its border security
    measures to reflect a more quantitative methodology to estimate the
    number of illegal entries across the border compared to
    apprehensions, and other metrics. 3 However, Border Patrol officials
    said that comparable performance measures should not be applied to
    the northern or coastal borders, providing an inconsistent picture of
    security for the majority of U.S. border miles. 4 We reported that in
    circumstances where complete information is not available to
    measure performance outcomes, agencies could use intermediate
    goals and measures to show progress or contribution to intended
    results. 5 For example, Border Patrol could lack the detection capability
    necessary as a first step to estimate illegal entries across most of the
    northern border and some other border locations. In these
    circumstances, Border Patrol could choose to establish performance
    measures tracking progress in establishing this detection capability.


3
 For example, Border Patrol officials said they were working to standardize the
methodology used by sectors to estimate the number of illegal entries.
4
 Border Patrol headquarters officials stated that this was because the threat of illegal
entries differs across borders.
5
 GAO, Agency Performance Plans: Examples of Practices That Can Improve Usefulness
to Decisionmakers, GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-69 (Washington, D.C.: Feb. 26, 1999).




Page 23                                                                         GAO-12-688T
Appendix II: Characteristics of Effective
Performance Measures




    Once Border Patrol achieves the ability to detect illegal activity across
    its borders, it could then transition to measures for reducing the flow
    of illegal activity and for interdiction. On the southwest border, Border
    Patrol could also choose to establish intermediate measures in
    reaching southwest border security goals. Such intermediate
    performance measures could include those that use Global
    Positioning System data for each apprehension to show Border Patrol
    progress in apprehending persons at or close to the border compared
    to enforcement tiers located miles away.




Page 24                                                           GAO-12-688T
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           Page 27                                                        GAO-12-688T
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