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Gregory Giddens, partner at Potomac Ridge Consulting and former executive director of the Secure Border Initiative Program Office at CBP, discusses the role of technology in border security, and why it should be used alongside people on the ground.

Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) recently said that technology should play a major role in securing the southern U.S. border. His words have clout as both someone who represents a border district, and one of the leading tech voices in the House. While many agree with Hurd’s ideas, executing them has proved difficult in the past. Gregory Giddens, partner at Potomac Ridge Consulting and former executive director of the Secure Border Initiative Program Office at CBP, says that the border presents multiple challenges to technology and personnel deployment.

 

“There are places, if you can’t get a signal close to the border, you’re more likely to be on a Mexican network than a U.S. network. That remoteness, particularly in a communications perspective, Border Patrol agents will a lot of times go out solo and being able to maintain that communication and give them situational awareness before they arrive on scene is really critical,” Giddens said. “In most things, the problem is multifaceted and that requires a solution that is also multifaceted. Think about three different dials and how do you dial which one of these for this particular area, almost mile by mile? We don’t like to do business that way. We want to get a solution that we can spread out evenly and it’s all good, but that’s not how it plays on the border.”

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