As a former U.S. attorney, attorney general and governor of Arizona, I spent more than 15 years working in the Southwest and watching the challenges of our shared border evolve over time. Since the beginning of the Obama administration, our response to these challenges has evolved as well.
The change is needed.
For the past eight years the federal government approached the Southwest border as having a set of problems that were somehow independent from our nation's broader challenges with immigration, security, counternarcotics enforcement and international cooperation.
But there's a more strategic, more cooperative path, and we are taking it.
The Obama administration's approach is to view border security, interior immigration enforcement and counternarcotics enforcement as inextricably linked.
At the top of our border security mission is combating violence by Mexico-based drug cartels. To be sure, we haven't seen anything like Mexico's cartel violence here in the U.S. But the smuggling organizations are transnational, and the Obama administration is giving this issue the highest-level attention.
Over the past six months, we have forged a true partnership with Mexico's President Felipe Calderon, while building stronger relations with agencies across the federal government, and at the state, local and tribal level.
From Federal Computer Week, on Secure Flight:
Aug 14, 2009 Airlines will start asking passengers to provide their birth dates and gender on Aug. 15 as the Transportation Security Administration continues to take over from airlines the responsibility of screening travelers against subsets of the government's terrorist watch list.
The additional information will be required from passengers as part of TSA's Secure Flight passenger vetting program. However, if passengers aren't prompted to provide the additional information by a particular airline, they shouldn't worry as it won't affect their travel, TSA said in a statement.
As part of that multibillion-dollar, multi-phase information technology program, aircraft operators will be required to provide every passenger's information to TSA.
That agency, which is part of the Homeland Security Department, will then compare that information to the relevant watch list subsets and tell the airline whether it is authorized to print a boarding pass.
From the Associated Press, on current storm activity:
Tropical Storm Claudette made landfall on the Florida Panhandle near Fort Walton Beach early Monday while Hurricane Bill became the first hurricane of the 2009 Atlantic season.
Claudette, the first named storm to hit the U.S. mainland this year, was weakening as it moved farther inland Monday. But even before its arrival, the storm dumped heavy rains in some areas Sunday. It was not expected to cause significant flooding or wind damage.
Elsewhere, Hurricane Bill had maximum sustained winds near 75 mph but was expected to strengthen.
"We do believe (Bill) could become a major hurricane during the next couple of days," said Daniel Brown, a hurricane specialist for the National Hurricane Center in Miami.
Bill was centered about 1,160 miles east of the Lesser Antilles and moving quickly west-northwest at 22 mph. The first hurricane of the 2009 Atlantic hurricane season ironically shares the same name as National Hurricane Center Director Bill Read.
10:30 AM CDT
Secretary Napolitano will deliver remarks about Gulf Coast rebuilding efforts and participate in a media availability with Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator (FEMA) Craig Fugate and Federal Coordinator for Gulf Coast Rebuilding Janet Woodka
Southern University at New Orleans
6400 Press Drive
New Orleans, La.
National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) Director of Software Assurance Joe Jarzombek will deliver remarks about national efforts for deploying software systems at the annual METROCON Technical Conference
Sheraton Arlington Hotel
1500 Convention Center Drive
10:30 AM PDT
ICE Assistant Secretary John Morton will be participating in a pen and pad with Los Angeles-area media
300 N. Los Angeles Street
Los Angeles, California
12 PM Local
U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Thad Allen will participate in a media availability about Arctic Domain Awareness
Army National Guard Hanger
500 Bering Street