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Highlights

Since the mid-1990s--and especially since September 11--the government has focused attention and resources on preventing illegal aliens, drug smugglers, and potential terrorists from entering the United States across its land borders with Mexico and Canada. The Border Patrol is responsible for protecting the nation's borders. However, a significant portion of the borderlands are federal or tribal lands managed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, and Forest Service. Realizing the importance of coordinating federal law enforcement efforts, GAO agreed to assess: (1) border-related law enforcement challenges for land management agencies in Arizona and Washington, (2) resources land management agencies have received to address these challenges, and (3) how the Border Patrol and land management agencies coordinate border-related law enforcement efforts.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Directorate of Border and Transportation Security 1. To help ensure that federal law enforcement resources are being effectively focused on the areas of greatest need along the Mexican and Canadian borders, the Secretaries of Homeland Security, the Interior, and Agriculture should require their respective law enforcement components to consult with each other when developing their strategic plans and accompanying implementation plans and to ensure these plans establish, at a minimum, goals regarding coordinating the development and sharing the results of threat assessments and other risk assessments of border areas encompassing federal lands.
Closed - Implemented
In March 2006, the Secretaries of Agriculture, Homeland Security, and Interior signed a memorandum of understanding to provide, among other things, consistent goals, principles, and guidance for the coordination and sharing of information on threat assessments, plans for infrastructure and technology improvements on federal lands, and operation and law enforcement staffing changes. This coordinated interagency approach establishes a basis for the Border Patrol and land management agencies to resolve conflicts, develop and use consistent communication protocols, and cooperate with each other to help secure the borders of the United States.
Department of Agriculture 2. To help ensure that federal law enforcement resources are being effectively focused on the areas of greatest need along the Mexican and Canadian borders, the Secretaries of Homeland Security, the Interior, and Agriculture should require their respective law enforcement components to consult with each other when developing their strategic plans and accompanying implementation plans and to ensure these plans establish, at a minimum, goals regarding coordinating the development and sharing the results of threat assessments and other risk assessments of border areas encompassing federal lands.
Closed - Implemented
In March 2006, the Secretaries of Agriculture, Homeland Security, and Interior signed a memorandum of understanding to provide, among other things, consistent goals, principles, and guidance for the coordination and sharing of information on threat assessments, plans for infrastructure and technology improvements on federal lands, and operation and law enforcement staffing changes. This coordinated interagency approach establishes a basis for the Border Patrol and land management agencies to resolve conflicts, develop and use consistent communication protocols, and cooperate with each other to help secure the borders of the United States.
Department of the Interior 3. To help ensure that federal law enforcement resources are being effectively focused on the areas of greatest need along the Mexican and Canadian borders, the Secretaries of Homeland Security, the Interior, and Agriculture should require their respective law enforcement components to consult with each other when developing their strategic plans and accompanying implementation plans and to ensure these plans establish, at a minimum, goals regarding coordinating the development and sharing the results of threat assessments and other risk assessments of border areas encompassing federal lands.
Closed - Implemented
In March 2006, the Secretaries of Agriculture, Homeland Security, and Interior signed a memorandum of understanding to provide, among other things, consistent goals, principles, and guidance for the coordination and sharing of information on threat assessments, plans for infrastructure and technology improvements on federal lands, and operation and law enforcement staffing changes. This coordinated interagency approach establishes a basis for the Border Patrol and land management agencies to resolve conflicts, develop and use consistent communication protocols, and cooperate with each other to help secure the borders of the United States.
Directorate of Border and Transportation Security 4. To help ensure that federal law enforcement resources are being effectively focused on the areas of greatest need along the Mexican and Canadian borders, the Secretaries of Homeland Security, the Interior, and Agriculture should require their respective law enforcement components to consult with each other when developing their strategic plans and accompanying implementation plans and to ensure these plans establish, at a minimum, goals regarding coordinating the development of plans for infrastructure and technology improvements to be placed on or near federal lands.
Closed - Implemented
In March 2006, the Secretaries of Agriculture, Homeland Security, and Interior signed a memorandum of understanding to provide, among other things, consistent goals, principles, and guidance for the coordination and sharing of information on threat assessments, plans for infrastructure and technology improvements on federal lands, and operation and law enforcement staffing changes. This coordinated interagency approach establishes a basis for the Border Patrol and land management agencies to resolve conflicts, develop and use consistent communication protocols, and cooperate with each other to help secure the borders of the United States.
Department of Agriculture 5. To help ensure that federal law enforcement resources are being effectively focused on the areas of greatest need along the Mexican and Canadian borders, the Secretaries of Homeland Security, the Interior, and Agriculture should require their respective law enforcement components to consult with each other when developing their strategic plans and accompanying implementation plans and to ensure these plans establish, at a minimum, goals regarding coordinating the development of plans for infrastructure and technology improvements to be placed on or near federal lands.
Closed - Implemented
In March 2006, the Secretaries of Agriculture, Homeland Security, and Interior signed a memorandum of understanding to provide, among other things, consistent goals, principles, and guidance for the coordination and sharing of information on threat assessments, plans for infrastructure and technology improvements on federal lands, and operation and law enforcement staffing changes. This coordinated interagency approach establishes a basis for the Border Patrol and land management agencies to resolve conflicts, develop and use consistent communication protocols, and cooperate with each other to help secure the borders of the United States.
Department of the Interior 6. To help ensure that federal law enforcement resources are being effectively focused on the areas of greatest need along the Mexican and Canadian borders, the Secretaries of Homeland Security, the Interior, and Agriculture should require their respective law enforcement components to consult with each other when developing their strategic plans and accompanying implementation plans and to ensure these plans establish, at a minimum, goals regarding coordinating the development of plans for infrastructure and technology improvements to be placed on or near federal lands.
Closed - Implemented
In March 2006, the Secretaries of Agriculture, Homeland Security, and Interior signed a memorandum of understanding to provide, among other things, consistent goals, principles, and guidance for the coordination and sharing of information on threat assessments, plans for infrastructure and technology improvements on federal lands, and operation and law enforcement staffing changes. This coordinated interagency approach establishes a basis for the Border Patrol and land management agencies to resolve conflicts, develop and use consistent communication protocols, and cooperate with each other to help secure the borders of the United States.
Directorate of Border and Transportation Security 7. To help ensure that federal law enforcement resources are being effectively focused on the areas of greatest need along the Mexican and Canadian borders, the Secretaries of Homeland Security, the Interior, and Agriculture should require their respective law enforcement components to consult with each other when developing their strategic plans and accompanying implementation plans and to ensure these plans establish, at a minimum, goals regarding coordinating and sharing information about changes in the number and uses of law enforcement personnel on or near federal lands and the potential consequences for all the agencies.
Closed - Implemented
In March 2006, the Secretaries of Agriculture, Homeland Security, and Interior signed a memorandum of understanding to provide, among other things, consistent goals, principles, and guidance for the coordination and sharing of information on threat assessments, plans for infrastructure and technology improvements on federal lands, and operation and law enforcement staffing changes. This coordinated interagency approach establishes a basis for the Border Patrol and land management agencies to resolve conflicts, develop and use consistent communication protocols, and cooperate with each other to help secure the borders of the United States.
Department of Agriculture 8. To help ensure that federal law enforcement resources are being effectively focused on the areas of greatest need along the Mexican and Canadian borders, the Secretaries of Homeland Security, the Interior, and Agriculture should require their respective law enforcement components to consult with each other when developing their strategic plans and accompanying implementation plans and to ensure these plans establish, at a minimum, goals regarding coordinating and sharing information about changes in the number and uses of law enforcement personnel on or near federal lands and the potential consequences for all the agencies.
Closed - Implemented
In March 2006, the Secretaries of Agriculture, Homeland Security, and Interior signed a memorandum of understanding to provide, among other things, consistent goals, principles, and guidance for the coordination and sharing of information on threat assessments, plans for infrastructure and technology improvements on federal lands, and operation and law enforcement staffing changes. This coordinated interagency approach establishes a basis for the Border Patrol and land management agencies to resolve conflicts, develop and use consistent communication protocols, and cooperate with each other to help secure the borders of the United States.
Department of the Interior 9. To help ensure that federal law enforcement resources are being effectively focused on the areas of greatest need along the Mexican and Canadian borders, the Secretaries of Homeland Security, the Interior, and Agriculture should require their respective law enforcement components to consult with each other when developing their strategic plans and accompanying implementation plans and to ensure these plans establish, at a minimum, goals regarding coordinating and sharing information about changes in the number and uses of law enforcement personnel on or near federal lands and the potential consequences for all the agencies.
Closed - Implemented
In March 2006, the Secretaries of Agriculture, Homeland Security, and Interior signed a memorandum of understanding to provide, among other things, consistent goals, principles, and guidance for the coordination and sharing of information on threat assessments, plans for infrastructure and technology improvements on federal lands, and operation and law enforcement staffing changes. This coordinated interagency approach establishes a basis for the Border Patrol and land management agencies to resolve conflicts, develop and use consistent communication protocols, and cooperate with each other to help secure the borders of the United States.

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