Border conference
FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas " Richard Chavez (center, speaking), director, Office of Operations Coordination and Planning, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, makes introductory remarks during the senior leader briefing following the DHS/Department of Defense Fiscal Year 2013 Requirements Conference here Jan. 101. (From left to right) Edward Young, executive director of operations, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Office of Air and Marine; Tony Crowder, executive director, Air and Marine Operations Center, CBP Office of Air and Marine; Luis Sierra, operations chief for Southwest border, Homeland Security Investigations, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement; John Stanton, executive director, Joint Operations Directorate, CBP; Chavez; Maj. Gen. Francis Mahon, director of Strategy, Policy and Plans, U.S. Northern Command; and Maj. Gen. Walter Davis, deputy commanding general, U.S. Army North, introduced themselves and made introductory remarks before being briefed on the conclusions of the conference.

FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- U.S. Army North facilitated the Department of Homeland Security/Department of Defense Fiscal Year 2013 Requirements Conference here Jan. 10-11.
The conference brought together more than 75 planners and officials from more than 20 government and military organizations as part of a new DHS/DoD strategic approach to protecting the Southwest border of the United States.
"It is a whole-government approach," said Christian Abbott, deputy director, plans division, DHS. "We are initially focusing on the Southwest border, but we are applying a foundation that will apply nationally. We are doing things more efficiently and more effectively."
Representatives at the conference included those from DHS -- to include U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Northern Command, the U.S. Coast Guard, which are components of DHS -- along with those from U.S. Army North, Joint Task Force -- North, the National Guard Bureau and representatives from Calif., Ariz., N.M., and Texas, the U.S. Department of the Interior and many other departments, agencies and units. They discussed border threats, the availability of DoD resources and capabilities, and plans to streamline and integrate the DHS and DoD processes.
"The focus of the conference was the identification of fiscal year 2013 requirements and to build an enduring process for non-Stafford Act support requirements (DoD) and other federal partners," said David Mantiply, chief, Special Plans Branch, Army North. "This enhanced collaboration among federal and state partners during the planning process helped to build a common understanding of threat operations and friendly operations, identify areas for potential cost savings and greater effectiveness, provide a clear delineation of supporting DoD forces and increase integration of stakeholders at key planning and coordination activities."
The U.S. military supports border protection in many ways, including day and night ground and air reconnaissance, transportation, medical evacuation, law enforcement and geospatial intelligence support, the construction of roads, bridges and barriers, counter-drug field tactical police operations, tunnel detection, sustainment operations, training and other forms of support.
Transnational criminal organizations, terrorism and other threats have made border protection more important than ever -- and more complex.
"We understand that it takes a network to defeat a network," said Mickey Valdez, associate chief, integrated plans, CBP. "Army North's support in this conference allows us to improve operational discipline in regard to planning."
Representatives from the border states of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas said they felt the conference was productive.
"The conference gives the states the ability to show DHS what we have available, and it gives us a chance to help them understand some of the constraints upon the use of military forces and assets," said Col. Jerry Madison, Joint Counter Narco-Terrorism Task Force, Arizona National Guard. "It also helps us understand what type of support DHS might ask the military to provide."
Madison thanked Army North for facilitating the conference.
"Army North has done a great job taking the lead in this effort to foster greater understanding and cooperation amongst the DHS and DoD organizations working to protect the Southwest border of the U.S.," said Madison.
Luis Sierra, operations chief SW Border, ICE, said that, ultimately, the conference has an important impact.
"We can learn to better utilize and work with the DoD," Sierra said.

Page last updated Mon January 30th, 2012 at 00:00