Analyst: border security deserves more funding

Friday - 6/25/2010, 10:40am EDT

Steve Atkiss, principal, Command Consulting Group

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By Suzanne Kubota
Senior Internet Editor
FederalNewsRadio.com

Earlier this week, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced new steps to bolster the security along the Southwest border while extolling the efforts of the Obama administration:

"Over the past 18 months, this administration has devoted more resources-including manpower, technology and infrastructure-to the Southwest border than at any point in America's history," said Secretary Napolitano.

Steve Atkiss, former Bush-era Chief of Staff at Customs and Border Protection and now principal with Command Consulting Group said the increased manpower and unmanned drones are "extremely important', but it's not enough to get the mission accomplished.

For example, said Atkiss, take a look at the funding. The president has requested $500 million for border security as "part of a $66 billion dollar war supplemental and that's on top of the $660 billion dollar DoD annual budget."

According to Atkiss, the fractional $12 billion spent on border security is not in line with its priority and "it's just not enough to get the job accomplished."

"I would argue," said Atkiss, "that that level of resource is just nowhere near where it needs to be for us to truly secure the border."

When asked what he expects will be the biggest challenge for the measure, Atkiss said "getting through the political rhetoric."

While "people who have spent time down on the border", like Secretary Napolitano, understand the needs of CBP, said Atkiss, too many in Congress consider border security to be directly tied to immigration reform.

Atkiss said it's impossible to have immigration reform without border security. "You have to secure the border first," said Atkiss, "and then you can have meaningful, comprehensive immigration policy that determines how you handle who's already here and who you're going to allow to continue to come in."