“Protecting Our Northern Border: Enhancing Collaboration and Building Local Partnerships”: Senate Homeland Security Committee to Hold Trade Promotion/Border Security Field Hearing July 12

Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) will chair a field meeting of the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in Havre, MT this Friday.

The field hearing, titled “Protecting our Northern Border: Enhancing Collaboration and Building Local Partnerships,” “seeks to identify some of the challenges confronting that task, including overlapping jurisdictions of government agencies that could impede our efforts and potentially create critical gaps in security along the border” and highlight ways to foster private-private partnerships to enhance cross-border trade and security.

While the Canada-Montana border region may not grab headlines, it’s a critical border-area that has received increased attention following troubling border security findings in a 2011 GAO report.  From Anthony Kimery’s 2011 report at HSToday.com:

Despite the panoply of intelligence sharing and inter-agency cooperation reforms that were implemented following the 9/11 attack, GAO concluded that the pre-9/11problems that required these reforms continue to exist along the roughly 4,000 miles of the US’s border with Canada, and that as a result, they pose a serious gap in the nation’s Northern border defenses.

“This is very important – the Northern border is a very different environment with a very different set of problems than what we have on the Southern border,” Homeland Security Today was told by a government official intimately familiar with the GAO’s investigation.

In the report of its audit of Northern border security efforts, Enhanced DHS Oversight and Assessment of Interagency Coordination is Needed for the Northern Border, Congress’ investigative arm stated that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) believes the terrorist threat on the Northern border is “higher” because of the large expanse of area with limited law enforcement coverage.

 The official familiar with the GAO’s audit of Northern border security who talked to Homeland Security Today on background agreed. He said unlike the Southern border, there are much larger areas of the US/Canadian border that have little or no effective monitoring and surveillance.

Learn more about the hearing below or here:

The hearing, titled “Protecting Our Northern Border: Enhancing Collaboration and Building Local Partnerships,” will feature two panels to discuss how federal, state and local officials can better work together with community, business and tribal leaders to strengthen security and promote trade along Montana’s 545-mile border with Canada.

Panelists include:

  • Don Bostrom, Hill County Sheriff
  • Nathan Burr, Border Patrol, Havre Sector Vice President, National Border Patrol Council
  • Kumar Kibble, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, Special Agent in Charge
  • Christopher Richards, Border Patrol, Havre Sector Chief

More panelists are likely to attend the hearing, which is free and open to the public.

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