CBP Border Patrol Agents are trained in self defense and take down techniques at the training facility in Artesia New Mexico. (CBP photo)

OIG Report: DHS Needs Training Upgrades to Hire 15,000 Border Patrol, ICE Agents

The Department of Homeland Security must upgrade training facilities, retain qualified instructors and finalize a strategic plan to fulfill the White House’s order to hire 15,000 Border Patrol agents and immigration officers, according to a DHS Office of the Inspector General report published Nov. 26.

On Jan. 27, 2017, President Trump directed DHS to hire the additional employees, which was followed by memorandums from DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen directing the Border Patrol and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to implement the order.

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The OIG found that the two current CBP and ICE training facilities were aging and needed remodeling and support from the construction of new facilities. Border Patrol agents attend a 117-day training camp at a facility in Artesia, N.M., which graduated 648 students in fiscal year 2018 — a sharp increase from the 262 graduates the previous year. ICE conducts a 20-week training camp in Glynco, Ga., and graduated 195 graduates last year, an increase of 61 students over FY2017.

Funding limitations will delay improvements at training facilities, according to the report.

“Congress did not approve the Department’s FY 2017 request of $63 million for FLETC venues and facilities to support USBP and ICE law enforcement officer training. Consequently, FLETC (Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers) requested $101.8 million in funding for training venues and facilities for FY 2019,” the report said. “According to the funding justification, this request includes modular classrooms, offices, dormitories, skid ranges, a transportation checkpoint, a processing center, a non-lethal training ammunition shoot house, a tactical training awareness center and tactical training venues. Even if FLETC receives the requested funding in FY 2019, there are still significant lead times associated with the facilities that the components will have to consider.”

OIG recommended:

  • The DHS Undersecretary of Homeland Security for Management, in collaboration with FLETC, USBP, and ICE, develop and implement a comprehensive plan to identify, prioritize and complete training venue and facility improvements, and identify a strategy to address housing needs in the most cost-efficient manner.
  • The undersecretary of management collaborate with officials from across the department — including, but not limited to, the Office of the Chief Human Capital Officer, FLETC, USBP, and ICE — to develop and implement standards and procedures to establish a rotation policy for instructors.
  • The director of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers convene training officials from relevant agencies to finalize a strategic plan for fiscal years 2019–22.

READ THE FULL REPORT HERE 

Multimedia journalist James Cullum is Managing Editor of Homeland Security Today's Federal Pages. He has reported for over a decade to newspapers, magazines and websites in the D.C. metro area. He excels at finding order in chaotic environments, from slave liberations in South Sudan to the halls of the power in Washington, D.C.

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