Discussion Questions: The United States Government is striving to have a “secure” border under the present administration. What would be the consequences/impact to the United States if the border was suddenly made less open and more “secure”? This is a strategic security question and not a political one. What is the role of the Department of Defense in border and coastal security? What is the DOD’s relationship with the Department of Homeland Security as it pertains to border security? Why was there such an increased?
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1. By focusing on strategic security rather than politics we can objectively analyze the potential outcomes for the United States in terms of national security. Strengthening border control measures like improved surveillance, enhanced technology, and additional personnel could help prevent unauthorized entries and potential threats. Effectively managing and securing the southern border the US could mitigate risks related to drug tracking, terrorism concerns and other crimes.
The Department of Defense (DOD) plays a large role in ensuring the security of the borders and coastal areas. The DOD’s role in border security is primarily focused on supporting law enforcement and enhancing situational awareness along the southern border. In certain instances, the DOD can provide resources and technology to assist in border control efforts, like when National Guard personnel are deployed along the border. The efforts can be described as surveillance, intelligence sharing, logistical support, and infrastructure enhancement. The personnel from the National Guard are deployed in only support roles with the goal of enhancing interagency cooperation.
The DOD and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have a significant relationship when it comes to border security. The DOD and DHS collaborate very closely when it comes to border security to enhance the overall effectiveness of border control operations. DHS runs point for ensuring the borders are secure but relies on DOD assets for various intelligence and support. There are several factors that have contributed to the increased cooperation between the DHS and DOD. One being the evolving landscape of current threats. The nature of the newest threats of transnational organized crime, drug trafficking, and potential terrorist activity has necessitated a more of a robust and collaborative approach. Another factor is the resources available from the DOD. The DOD possesses large amounts of technology and a large amount of personnel that can be thrown at the southern border to assist the DHS in border security, which in turn generates a more effective border control effort.
2. If the United States (US) were to suddenly close its border, there could be significant implications and impacts. Even though it may help limit drug trafficking and illegal immigration to the country, it could also hinder legitimate travel and trade, which can have a “severe” impact on diplomatic and economic relations between the United States and its neighbors and allies.
The flow of workers and goods across national borders is a major profit center for “majority” firms in the U.S. The U.S. population “benefits” from lower production costs due to the free trade of goods in and out of the country. About 30% of the U.S. gross domestic product is derived from exports and imports (Are Trade Agreements Good for Americans? – Room for Debate – NYTimes.com, 2016). It will take longer for things to travel from outside the US into the US if border regulations are altered, and labor will not be as readily accessible. Due to the high operating costs, this will result in a situation where US enterprises will suffer.
Department of Defense (DOD) maintains security at the country’s borders and along its coastline. To defend the nation’s ports of entry and borders, DOD is responsible for many tasks linked to border security, including subscribing to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Regarding border security, the DHS and DOD work together hand in hand to secure the nation. The DOD assists DHS as needed and backs its efforts through the continuous sharing of information. In turn, DHS collaborates closely with the US Department of Defense to identify and prioritize risks to border security as well as to develop and put into action prevention measures.
Some elements, including the changing nature of threats to national security, or the expansion of smuggling and trafficking networks, as well as the rise of transnational criminal organizations well increase the role of the DOD. Consequently, the US government has acknowledged the need for a more thorough and integrated strategy to border and coastal security, involving the coordinated efforts of numerous departments, including the DHS and DOD.