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Combating Transnational Organized Crime

Posted by Public Affairs

Today, the Obama Administration announced the release of the President’s Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime. In the words of the message from President Obama that accompanies the Strategy: “This strategy is organized around a single, unifying principle:  To build, balance, and integrate the tools of American power to combat transnational organized crime and related threats to our national security—and to urge our partners to do the same.

As the Cabinet agency charged with securing our nation, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) plays an integral role in the Obama Administration’s efforts to combat transnational organized crime (TOC) both at home and with our partners abroad.

Due to the DHS’s mission, the Department is uniquely positioned to leverage and deploy resources of many components in the fight against TOC, while working closely with other federal, state and local agencies, foreign governments and partners in the private sector.

The most effective way of curbing corruption and other illicit activities, including cybercrime, drug and human trafficking, and terrorism, is through enhanced intelligence gathering and information sharing throughout the federal government. Examples include:
  • In November 2010, the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis established the Border Intelligence Fusion Section (BIFS)—in collaboration with the Departments of Justice and Defense, and the U.S. intelligence community— to provide law enforcement, border enforcement, and investigative agencies with multi-source intelligence to support investigations and operations conducted along the Southwest border.
  • In support of this strategy, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is implementing a new "Illicit Pathways Attack Strategy," which will prioritize, and integrate its authorities and resources in a focused and comprehensive manner to attack criminal organizations along the entire pathway, or continuum of crime, both at home and abroad.  
Once TOC threats have been identified, the Department works with our partners to interdict them through strengthened interdiction, investigations, and prosecutions. Some examples of these include:
  • Cybercrime—As a result of close collaboration with the private sector regarding developing technologies and trends in the financial payments industry, the U.S. Secret Service has apprehended individuals charged with committing some of the world’s most advanced cybercrimes.
  • Securing our borders—In 2006, ICE and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) worked with other federal, state, local, and foreign partners to establish the BEST, in order to break down TOC networks that attempt to conduct illegal activities across and along our borders. Since the inception of this initiative, there are now 21 BESTs spread out along the Southwest and Northern borders as well as at major seaports.  .
In addition to securing our nation’s Southwest and Northern borders to disrupt drug trafficking, DHS has multiple maritime agreements with our international partners to facilitate cooperation in counterdrug operations in U.S. and foreign waters. Earlier this month, DHS unveiled an unprecedented cross-component Maritime Operations Coordination plan to enhance the Department’s coordination capabilities, and the U.S. Coast Guard utilizes intelligence gathered across the federal government to intercept and apprehend traffickers before they reach the United States.
Last Updated: 09/20/2018
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