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Agency unveils $30M security center at Selfridge base

by Candice Miller on March 28, 2011

March 25, 2011          
Agency unveils $30M security center at Selfridge base
The Detroit News
Harrison Township— The federal agency that guards the nation’s borders unveiled Thursday a $30 million facility designed to enable its officers — as well as state, local and Canadian authorities — to share information about security threats.
Officials with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the agency’s Operational Integration Center on the Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Harrison Township.
The facility is the first of its kind on the country’s northern border for the CBP, officials said. “This center will enable us to get information out to agents, officers, the law enforcement on the ground doing the job day-in and day-out,” said Associate CBP Chief James Wainer, director of the center. “It’ll get the information into their hands, so they can act upon it.”
The facility will serve as a clearinghouse of information related to potential threats crossing the U.S.-Canadian border.
It features a high-tech control room where authorities can monitor the video feeds from the network of cameras along the St. Clair River as well as those from Coast Guard helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles.
Authorities can also track boats on waterways with radar.
The center is part of the government’s $40 million initiative to boost security along the northern border.
Another part is a network of 22 high-tech cameras and 11 towers along the St. Clair River.
U.S. Customs officials were joined Thursday by U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Detroit; U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, R-Harrison Township; U.S. Rep. Hansen Clarke, D-Detroit; and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder.
Levin said the center and its operations are critical to the country’s defense, especially given a recent report from the Government Accounting Office said the U.S.-Canadian border has a less than one percent acceptable level of security.
“I think we all know the most critical element in deterring threats is information,” he said. “This center is just the right thing to do for the protection of our country and (Selfridge) is the right place to do it.”
Snyder said the center is an exciting development for the state and that it has Michigan’s full support. And as a man who campaigned for governor as “one tough nerd,” Snyder said he could spend days just checking out the new center’s gizmos and gadgets.
“It’s very exciting to have (the center) here in Michigan,” he said. “I think it’s a great illustration of … working together we need to continue … in our country.”

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