By Suzanne Kelly
The Chief of U.S. Customs and Border Protection is expected to lay out his new strategy for securing the border Tuesday morning on Capitol Hill.
Testifying before a Subcommittee on Homeland Security, Michael J. Fisher will try to convince lawmakers that a strategy focused less on blanket resources and more targeted to areas of risk is the best way to keep the country from terrorists, drug smugglers and human smugglers while still curbing the numbers of undocumented immigrants trying to cross.
Changing strategy does not mean that CBP will require less resources in the future. It now has nine unmanned aerial surveillance systems in its fleet, better known as drones, and it is expected to take delivery of a 10th this year.
It also relies on a series of foot sensors, fence, horses and an aerial fleet that includes a Blackhawk helicopter.
But its most effective tool to date has been the 23,000 border patrol agents who still take the lead in directing use of the department's resources across the wide span of sometimes inhospitable terrain.
The chief is expected to get some pushback on the new strategy from lawmakers who are calling for a more blanketed approach that covers as much of the border as possible.
"Just because we may not have resources in a particular area (agents, cameras, etc.) does not mean the border is ‘not secure,’" Fisher told CNN. "Security (and the extent we have it) is more dependent on known or anticipated threats."