This asterisk leads to a footnote that appears to lay blame for the lack of progress on delays in deploying SBInet -- the so-called "virtual fence" that was supposed to help the Border Patrol catch clandestine border crossers with the help of sensors and other technologies -- and on the fact that during the coming year, hundreds of Border Patrol agents are going to be moved from the Mexican border to the Canadian border while only a "small increase" will be made in the new agents assigned to the southern border.
"The program plans to move several hundred Agents from the Southwest Border to the Northern Border to meet the FY 2010 staffing requirements, with only a small increase in new agents for the Southwest Border in the same year," says the footnote. "In addition, limited funding is being dedicated toward purchasing legacy technologies on the Southwest Border until the upgraded technology associated with SBInet is fully deployed. Given these factors, the program expects the miles of effective control to remain constant in FY 2010."
"Effective control" is defined in the department's strategic plan for 2008-2013 as follows:
"Border miles under control as defined in the National Strategic Plan is when the appropriate mix of personnel, equipment, technology and tactical infrastructure has been deployed to reasonably ensure that when an attempted illegal entry is detected, the Border Patrol has the ability to identify, classify and respond to bring the attempted illegal entry to a satisfactory law enforcement resolution."
Press officers at the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection failed to respond to inquiries I made about the DHS annual performance report over the course of several days.
On Friday, the nation will commemorate the eighth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.