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Monday, April 22nd, 2024

Sens. Peters, Collins press for centralized point of coordination on Northern Border

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Through introduction of the Northern Border Coordination Act, U.S. Sens. Gary Peters (D-MI) and Susan Collins (R-ME) seek to create a new center to improve border coordination and security under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and other authorities.

“The federal government must ensure the needs of the Northern Border are met and that DHS personnel have what they need to effectively secure the Northern Border,” Peters, chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said. “Selfridge Air National Guard Base already houses a number of DHS missions and this Center will work hand-in-hand with existing resources and capabilities, allowing the Department to further enhance efforts to ensure that the Northern Border’s security needs remain a priority.”

The center’s goal will be to pull together the various aspects of DHS currently operating out of Selfridge Air National Guard Base and improve their communication and cooperation with state, local and Tribal governments, along with other stakeholders in the region. It would be collocated with an existing U.S. Border Patrol sector headquarters, the U.S. Border Patrol Northern Border Coordination Center, an Air and Marine Operations Branch, and a U.S. Coast Guard air station.

Those air and marine operations would also be required to maintain quick reaction capabilities from the new center in order to support border security along the northern border.

“The Northern Border Coordination Center established by this bipartisan bill will support border operations and enhance domain awareness with the shared goal of keeping Maine safe and secure,” Collins said. “This legislation is a valuable step forward in assessing and prioritizing the efforts on the ground at our Northern Border.”

In their announcement, the senators called out the dangers of illegal cross-border drone activity in particular, but noted that the center’s efforts overall would support the larger northern border security strategy. From there, staff would also help track security metrics, train DHS personnel and test new border security technologies.