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Who Is Securing the Texas Border? How Private Contractors Mislead the Public, Then Get Rich Off Taxpayer Money

Private contractors have taken over Texas border security operations, but are falsely identifying themselves as affiliates of state programs.

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The audit raises fresh questions about McCraw’s ability to manage the large state agency. The shocking findings of DPS management of DHS and DOJ funding to support Texas homeland and border security programs also underscores rising skepticism about the “go-it-alone” and “can-do” boasting of the Texas border hawks critical of the Obama administration.  

Outsourcing Strategy and Propaganda

It would be hard to exaggerate the degree to which Governor Perry and DPS Chief McCraw have outsourced state border-security, homeland-security, and public-safety programs to Washington Beltway contractors.  

ALIS, according to the August 2010 “emergency contract,” was, among other things, hired to do everything from formulating strategy to running operations to managing public relations – not only for Operation Border Start but also for the Texas Rangers and DPS itself. 

The “emergency” contract for $1.5 million ALIS services, which was signed by McCraw and ALIS Chief Operating Officer on August 31, 2010, underscored the central role of ALIS in shaping and directing border security operations in Texas. 

Echoing the expansive scope of the language used in earlier contracts, DPS once again hired ALIS to:  

Develop and refine border-wide security strategies and plans for seamless integration of interagency law enforcement border security operations in the State of Texas. 

With a staff of at least 17 analysts and information specialists -- many with military backgrounds --ALIS was contracted to provide the vision and the structural foundation for Operation Border Star. Initially, Border Star had been little more a commitment by the Perry administration to support the newly formed Texas Border Sheriffs Coalition and its Operation Linebacker, using federal criminal-justice funds controlled by the governor’s office, along with an occasional show of force by DPS police in Texas border counties.  

Over the years, with each successive contract, the extent of responsibility outsourced to ALIS expanded dramatically. One of the first contracts gave ALIS the task of developing a computerized crime-mapping system for the greater Texas border region, which is known as TexMap. By late 2010, however, DPS was paying ALIS to, among other things:  

  • “Define and write a Border Security Strategic Vision.” 
  • “Manage and operate the Border Security Operations Center (BSOC).” 
  • “Develop border-wide strategies and plans to support interagency effectiveness.” 
  • “Refine and update Operation Border Star 2012-2013.” 
  • “Develop plans for border-related Mass Migration contingencies.” 
  • Develop plans for “Texas Ranger operations,” and develop standard operating procedures for “Ranger Renaissance Teams” (including the new gunboat operations). 
  • “Facilitate creation of the Border Operations Planning Group.” 
  • “Develop a Border Security media/public information outreach strategy.” 
  • “Provide sufficient manpower to provide leadership, subject-matter expertise, and quality assurance/control in areas of border security planning and operations.” 
  •  “Support and sustain the six Joint Operations Intelligence Centers (JOICs),” which are situated along the Texas border and Gulf Coast.
  •  “Conceptualize a Sensor Master Plan for the border region,” as part of the “web-based” electronic surveillance systems created by the governor’s officer and   DPS. 
  •  “Develop and refine DPS Agency Strategic Plans,” including the DPS Strategic Plan 2011-2015. 
  •  “Facilitate development of a DPS policy document outlining roles, responsibilities, and authorities of Regional Commanders, Ranger Captains, DPS Divisions, and JOICs with regard to countering crime and terrorism in the border region.” 

The Aug. 31, 2010 emergency contract with ALIS built on earlier contracts, which steadily reinforced the centrality of the homeland security contractor not only to execute assigned tasks but also to formulate strategy and direct operations. An earlier contract had empowered ALIS to formulate the drafts of the Texas Border Security Campaign Plan, the governor’s 2010-2015 Homeland Security Strategy Plan, and the DPS Agency Strategy Plan 2010. That’s worth repeating. This little-known, upstart consulting agency from the Washington Beltway had been hired by the state’s public safety and homeland security director to: write the campaign plan for the governor’s border security campaign, conceptualize and write the state’s strategy statement for homeland security, and produce the strategy plan for DPS itself.