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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    UA leads $15 million border center

    While border issues remain a controversial topic across the country, the UA is taking an active approach to solving border security issues.

    The UA is leading a team of 12 universities in the establishment of the Center of Excellence for Border Security and Immigration to deal with issues concerning the U.S. borders with Mexico and Canada.

    The center will focus on such issues as border security communication, surveillance, situational awareness and risk management. It will also seek to continue the development of new technology and necessary training of border security professionals.

    The formation of the six-year, $15 million center is a culmination of over two years of collaboration by several states and educational institutions, said Elyse Golob, director of the UA Center for Management of Information.

    Universities involved with border security project
    University of Arizona
    University of Texas at El Paso
    Arizona State University
    New Mexico State University
    New Mexico Tech
    San Diego State University
    University of Texas – Pan American
    University of Minnesota
    University of Washington
    West Virginia University
    University of Southern California
    University of Albany

    Jay Nunamaker Jr., UA professor of management information systems and director of the UA’s Center for Management of Information, will lead the Center of Excellence for Border Security and Immigration.

    The leadership duties to be bestowed upon the UA include creating and further developing long-term border security research projects, as well as managing much of the research assembled by other universities in the center.

    While the UA will be leading the research functions, the University of Texas at El Paso will head up the educational and training aspects of the center. These training duties include instructing researchers, as well as guiding those currently working in the field as customs agents and border security personnel, Golob said.

    The UA was elected unanimously by the other educational institutions to serve as the leader of the research aspects of the center, since the UA is already a national leader of research excellence, she said.

    “”(The UA) is a top-tier research university, and there is a great depth of research that (the center) requires,”” Golob said.

    Last year, the UA and several other universities in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas teamed up to coordinate the Southwest Border Security Consortium, a group designed to manage and research border security. After realizing the importance of developing a relationship with several northern states, the universities collaborated to create the center, Golob said.

    The inclusion of both U.S. borders is a necessary step in the fight to properly enforce immigration laws and border issues, as the U.S. needs to stay one step ahead of security threats in a post-9/11 world, she said.

    “”This is very collaborative and participatory,”” she said.

    Following Sept. 11, a series of centers of excellence were formed to deal with homeland problems. Among these centers are the University of Minnesota-led National Center for Food Protection and Defense and the National Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events, led by the University of Southern California.

    The geographic position of the Center of Excellence for Border Security and Immigration universities is a pivotal part of the center’s development, because the Southwest knows all too well the ramifications of issues raised by border security, Golob said.

    While the center’s work will begin immediately, certain inner details of the project are yet to be determined, most notably specific contract negotiations expected to be resolved within the next few months.

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