A mobile and technology-enabled workforce capable of responding to real-time threats now underpins Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS) operations, according to comments made by outgoing Chief Michael Pezzullo in ACBP’s 2013-14 Annual Report.
On 1 July 2014, ACBPS launched its $98.5 million Strategic Border Command (SBC). The 24/7 command centre, headquartered in Canberra, coordinates operational activity and provides 'real time’ direction to its regional offices in NSW, QLD, VIC and WA.
The SBC is responsible for the National Border Targeting Centre “which brings together nine law enforcement and national intelligence partner agencies to analyse and target high-risk passengers and cargo.”
A desire for greater efficiency at a time when the agency is facing staff cuts of 600 whilst international passengers are projected to increase 25 per cent from 34.3 million in 2013-14 to 42.9 million by the 2016-17 financial year, is driving the need for technology innovation.
To support its technology directions, ACBP received $257 million in the 2014-15 Budget.
A further key priority listed in the ACBP’s 2013-14 Annual Report is to improve its “capability to process ‘big data’ holdings”.
The ACBP introduced new mobile technology including Microsoft Windows 8 tablets and smartphones to its cargo division and in August 2013, signed a contract with Telstra to provide 3G and 4G access for agency “Service” mobile phone users.
From 1 July 2015, the ACBP will be merged with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, forming the Australian Border Force (ABF). Pezzullo commenced in the role of Secretary at the Department of Immigration and Border Protection on 13 October, 2014.