U.S. Representative Candice Miller (MI-10), Chairman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security, today introduced the Mandatory Operational Control Reporting and Performance Measures Act of 2012, a bill to resume measuring miles of border under operational control. Under this bill, the Department of Homeland Security would be required to continue to report the border security's progress using the measurement by the number of miles of border under Operational Control until a new measurement is vetted by an appropriate national laboratory. Representative Jeff Flake (AZ-06) joined Miller in introducing this bill as original co-sponsor.
"Since 2010, the Department of Homeland Security failed to provide Congress, whose job it is to conduct oversight, a measure to determine the status of border security," Miller said. "It has now been more than two years since the Government Accountability Office reported that only 44 percent of the southwest border was under operational control and less than two percent of the northern border under control. Since the Department has yet to produce a new border security measurement system, but yet claims that the border is more secure than ever, it is well past time that the Department resumes reporting the number of miles under Operational Control until a new measure is completed and independently verified. It boils down to trust, but verify."
"Operational control is the most effective measurement of border security we've got, so it's unacceptable that DHS has abandoned it," said Flake. "Since the Administration cannot demonstrate that they are achieving operational control, it seems to be more convenient for them to simply abandon the definition."
Note: Up until recently, our border security progress was measured by the number of miles of border under Operational Control. In fact, the U.S Border Patrol's National Border Patrol Strategy was predicated on the concept of gaining and maintaining operational control of the border and that strategy declared, "All of our efforts must be -- and are-- focused on this goal." However, since 2010 the Department stopped reporting Operational Control statistics to the Congress, while it prepared a new, allegedly more holistic, border security measurement.
The Mandatory Operational Control Reporting and Performance Measures Act will fill the gaps currently in place since the Department stopped reporting Operational Control statistics to the Congress and until a new verifiable border security measurement is in place. In addition to reporting Operational Control, this bill would require the Department to report on a wide variety of measures to give the Congress and the American people an accurate assessment of border security effectiveness.
This bill builds on Miller's Secure Border Act (H.R.1299), which passed the U.S. House on May 30, 2012 unanimously by voice vote, which requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to submit a comprehensive measurement system to the House Homeland Security Committee within 180 days that analyzes the effectiveness of security at all at all land, air, and sea ports of entry.