Budget pressures, here and abroad, may cut into security initiatives.
But Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Tuesday those same money pressures argue for improved coordination between the U.S. and its allies.
"Budget pressures I think, on all of us, requires us to act more internationally," Napolitano said. "We have to leverage resources with one another."
"We are actually exploring some (pilot programs) where we leverage inspections and checks abroad with other countries. We'll do some; they'll do some, all to the same standards," Napolitano said.
Some U.S. inspectors will be embedded with those overseas, and vice versa, to ensure that standards are maintained, Napolitano said.
Although Napolitano did not mention any country by name, the U.S. recently signed an agreement with Canada designed to improve security while minimizing duplication of effort. Among other things, the agreement calls on the two nations to work towards an integrated entry-exit system, so that documented entry into one country serves to verify exit from the other country.
The Department of Homeland Security's budget was largely immune to cuts during the first years of the recession, growing from $39 billion in fiscal 2004 to about $55 billion last year. But it is now flattening out as Congress looks for ways to cut expenses.
Napolitano made her comments during a panel discussion on international aspects of homeland security at the Aspen Institute's Homeland Security Group.