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Customs and Border Protection Unveils New Five-Year Strategy

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Posted: Dec 19, 2020 7:30 PM
Customs and Border Protection Unveils New Five-Year Strategy

Source: AP Photo/Eric Gay

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is laying out a new five-year strategy to better focus the law enforcement agency on its critical mission of protecting the American people, safeguarding the country's borders, and enhancing the nation's economic prosperity. 

"Great organizations have strong identities," CBP Acting Commissioner Mark A. Morgan said in a statement. "They have an unshakeable sense of purpose. And they adapt to change effectively and efficiently, recognizing that change is constant and inevitable. Our ability to deliver on our mission depends on our ability to navigate through change in the present, embracing it as we plan for the future while never losing sight of our purpose."

CBP's new five-year strategy for 2021-2026 lists three important goals: to protect the American people and facilitate trade and travel, build a sustainable and capable workforce that is adaptable and resilient in the face of dynamic challenges, and improve the agency's capability to support operationally focused, threat-based, intelligence and data-driven execution.

To better protect the American people and facilitate trade and travel, the agency plans to leverage its data holdings, intelligence enterprise and partnerships in a coordinated counter network approach to deal with cross-border threat networks. The agency plans to better facilitate trade and travel by implementing biometric identification to transform traveler verification and dramatically reduce the need to verify physical travel documents. 

CBP has already made substantial progress on the biometric front, working to develop an integrated biometric entry-exit process at international airports in coordination with carriers and other stakeholders. CBP has expanded real-time testing of biometric exit to a total of 24 airports. 

When it comes to building a sustainable and capable workforce, CBP plans to recruit, hire, and train the most qualified people to join its ranks. Despite the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic, CBP hired over 2,000 officers since May of 2019 and enough air and Marine pilots to exceed its attrition for the first time in a decade. 

In 2019, the agency employed 61,506 men and women, including 19,648 Border Patrol agents and 24,511 officers. CBP also employed some 2,465 agricultural specialists, 597 pilots, 339 marine agents, 296 aviation enforcement agents and 979 trade personnel.

Over the next five years, CBP also aims to improve its intelligence capabilities and data-driven execution by maintaining reliable data and advanced analytics to inform strategic and tactical decision making. Such capabilities are paramount to an agency tasked with quickly identifying and addressing current and emerging threats against the country. This includes securing our borders, combatting transnational crime and countering terrorism. 

On average, CBP made 2,354 apprehensions between U.S. ports of entry, 23 arrests of wanted criminals, and 790 inadmissible-person refusals at ports of entry every day in the previous year.

"The 2021–2026 strategy will guide our strategic decisions and shape our agency’s future," wrote Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan in a foreword. "CBP’s success as a threat-based, intelligence and data-driven, operationally focused enterprise absolutely depends on how well we focus on our mission priorities to make CBP stronger, more efficient, and more effective."