Securing the nation's borders from illegal entry of aliens, contraband, terrorists and weapons of mass destruction, is a long-term challenge. In November 2005, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) launched the Secure Border Initiative network (SBInet)--a program which was to provide the Border Patrol, within DHS's U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), with the tools to detect breaches and make agent deployment decisions by installing surveillance systems along the border. Alternative (Southwest) Border Technology is DHS's new plan to deploy a mix of technology to protect the border. This testimony is based on GAO's ongoing work conducted for the House Committee on Homeland Security and provides preliminary observations on (1) the status of SBInet and user views on its usefulness, and (2) the Alternative (Southwest) Border Technology plan and associated costs. GAO reviewed planning, budget, and system documents, observed operations along the southwest border, and interviewed DHS officials.
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