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Sunday, March 26th, 2023

Bill targets enhanced anti-trafficking efforts

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U.S. Reps. Chris Pappas (D-NH) and Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL) joined nine colleagues in forwarding correspondence to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), seeking maritime domain awareness clarity.

The legislators are requesting that DHS adopt a common operating platform, which they maintain would enable the agency to expand the success of its existing pilot program by keeping precursor chemicals associated with the production of fentanyl and other illegal drugs off of the nation’s streets.

“We are writing to support a programmatic request of $7 million to establish a common operating platform (COP) for maritime domain awareness within the Department of Homeland Security,” the lawmakers wrote in the letter to Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee Chairwoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) and Ranking Member Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN). “Recently, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), in coordination with the Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection, have been piloting a common operating platform (COP) with great success…through the use of this technology, HSI’s investigative and enforcement operations have led to the collection of approximately $450 million in forfeitures related to sanctions violations as well as seizures of precursor chemicals associated with fentanyl production, illegal drugs and more. Given the significant return on investment that has resulted from the use of this technology, it should be utilized for an enterprise-wide solution for maritime domain awareness across DHS.”

The lawmakers indicated the platform would enable Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Coast Guard, and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to share intelligence and operations information in the maritime environment.