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Using Pattern Analysis and Systematic Randomness to Allocate U.S. Border Security Resources

Using Pattern Analysis and Systematic Randomness to Allocate U.S. Border Security Resources

Joel B. Predd
Henry H. Willis
Claude Messan Setodji
Chuck Stelzner
Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 62
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  • Book Info
    Using Pattern Analysis and Systematic Randomness to Allocate U.S. Border Security Resources
    Book Description:

    This report investigates how the Office of Border Patrol could employ pattern and trend analysis and systematic randomness to increase interdiction rates and mitigate smuggler adaptation. The analysis shows how approaches that combine the techniques yield higher interdiction rates than approaches using either technique alone, and it examines the circumstances in which combined approaches are competitive with perfect surveillance.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-7773-8
    Subjects: Political Science, Technology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
    Andrew Morral
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  4. Figures and Tables
    (pp. vii-viii)
  5. Summary
    (pp. ix-xii)

    The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has the responsibility to protect and control U.S. borders against terrorist threats, criminal endeavors, illegal immigration, and contraband. Unfortunately, due to budgetary and other resource constraints, DHS cannot “see and be” everywhere at once along America’s long and porous border. As a result, DHS officials continually face the question of where, when, and how to position people and technology on the border.

    Confronting this problem in the context of the land-based border between ports of entry, agents from the Office of Border Patrol (OBP) are investigating how pattern and trend analysis and systematic...

  6. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  7. Abbreviations
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  8. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-4)

    The borders of the continental United States span approximately 6,000 miles of land between Canada and Mexico; 5,000 miles of coastline along the Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, and Gulf of Mexico; and 5,000 miles of the shoreline of the Great Lakes and connecting rivers (Beaver, 2006). The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is responsible for securing these vast borders (DHS, 2010). One objective of DHS border security missions is to interdict illegal trafficking, cross-border crime, illegal migration, and potential terrorists (DHS, 2010; Willis, Predd, et al., 2010).

    To meet this objective, DHS manages more than 60,000 officers, agents, pilots,...

  9. CHAPTER TWO Resource Allocation, Pattern Analysis, and Systematic Randomness
    (pp. 5-12)

    In this chapter, we present results from our field studies that show how OBP conceptualizes resource allocation. We also discuss fundamental relationships between resource allocation, pattern and trend analysis, and systematic randomness.

    OBP conceptualizes the border in three levels of spatial resolution. The most elementary unit of the border is termed a zone. The size of each zone is chosen based on the operational art of border patrol, but in practice, it might be a few hundred meters or a few miles; it represents a part of the border where individual patrols are positioned. A station is a set of...

  10. CHAPTER THREE Simulation Model of OBP Patrol-Smuggler Interaction
    (pp. 13-20)

    In this chapter, we describe an agent-based simulation model developed at RAND to explore how different approaches to using pattern and trend analysis and systematic randomness affect interdiction rates.

    Our model is a multi-agent-based simulation based on S+P agents, with S representing smugglers and P representing patrol agents. The interaction between agents and smugglers is determined largely by the strategies that they use to position themselves along the border each day over the course of a simulated year.

    The border is modeled as a set of Z crossing sites (or “zones”). Each day, OBP chooses the crossing sites at which...

  11. CHAPTER FOUR Findings from the Analysis of the Simulation Model
    (pp. 21-32)

    In this chapter, we describe how we used our simulation model to explore how interdiction rates are affected by different strategies and by factors such as the number of patrols, the number of crossing sites, and the daily rate of smugglers. Our focus is on two questions:

    What explains the variation in interdiction rates across positioning strategies?

    Which strategies are best, and under what circumstances?

    We ran the model over a wide range of input parameter settings, described in Table 4.1. Parameters were varied in increments of five, ten, and 15 for P, S, and Z, respectively, and the model...

  12. CHAPTER FIVE Comparison of Border Patrol Stations
    (pp. 33-36)

    Our simulation model suggests measures that may be predictive of interdiction rates and that could be used to compare border patrol stations and determine whether two stations are likely to benefit from similar approaches to using pattern and trend analysis and systematic randomness. The purpose of this chapter is to describe an exploratory data analysis of the similarities and differences between actual border patrol stations using the approximations of the metrics proposed by our model.

    OBP supplied RAND with several data sets covering fiscal years (FYs) 2004 through 2009. Included were databases of historical apprehension data, geographic information system (GIS)...

  13. CHAPTER SIX Experimental Design for Evaluating the Contributions of Pattern Analysis and Systematic Randomness
    (pp. 37-40)

    The preceding analysis suggests the value of appropriate combinations of pattern and trend analysis and systematic randomness for improving interdiction rates. A natural next step for OBP would be to implement some of these strategies. But in doing so, OBP must choose among countless implementation options and would be wise to proceed with a measured approach that empirically evaluates the contributions that such changes can make to the border security mission. In this chapter, we sketch an experimental design that OBP could use to evaluate the contributions of pattern and analysis and systematic randomness to its mission.

    Suppose OBP settles...

  14. CHAPTER SEVEN Conclusions and Recommendations
    (pp. 41-44)

    To summarize, our analysis supports several findings.

    Resource allocation approaches that combine pattern analysis and randomness yield greater interdiction rates than approaches that use either strategy alone.

    The value of pattern and trend analysis and systematic randomness in border control depends on how representative historical interdiction data are of future illegal flow. In circumstances in which adversaries adapt and OBP coverage is relatively low, there may be multiple explanations for why historical interdictions are higher or lower in a given area and for why smugglers employ certain tactics. OBP can control the representativeness of historical interdiction data by making different...

  15. Bibliography
    (pp. 45-46)