Office of Air and Marine Operations Moved to U.S. Customs and Border Protection

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For Immediate ReleaseOffice of the Press SecretaryContact: 202-282-8010November 2, 2004

The Under Secretary for Border and Transportation Security (BTS), AsaHutchinson today announced that the Office of Air and Marine Operations (AMO)has been transferred intact from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).  This planned move furthersthe Departments intent to integrate air and marine law enforcement personnel,missions and assets and is consistent with Congressional action in the FY 2005Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Appropriations bill.

This transition is occurring in two phases.  Phase I, the movement ofAMO intact from ICE into CBP has now been completed, effective12:01 AM onOctober 31, 2004.  To affect this move, BTS chartered a transition team,with representatives from CBP, ICE and BTS to ensure that this change occurswith minimal disruption to the personnel affected while current levels and scopeof mission performance are not degraded in any way.

The integration of all CBP air and marine personnel, missions and assets willoccur in Phase II.  Completion of this full effort is expected by the endof FY 05.

The Department of Homeland Security was created to streamline and focusour efforts to secure the United States, said Under Secretary Hutchinson. This merger is another large step in that direction.  Our goal isto achieve greater operational and cost efficiencies as we strive to makeAmerica even more safe.

The former ICE Office of Air and Marine Operations is comprised of more than1,000 pilots, air and marine enforcement officers (AEO/MEOs), detection systemsspecialists, support personnel and Headquarters staff.  All of the pilotsand AEO/MEOs are Federal Law Enforcement Officers who have graduated from theFederal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Glynco, GA.  There areapproximately 470 pilots and 50 AEOs who operate 42 helicopters and 92 fixedwing aircraft and 93 marine enforcement officers operating 73 high performancemarine vessels.  

Throughout this merger, efforts will be made to find efficiencies withaviation and marine operations, locations and acquisition and recapitalization. While efficiencies will be gained, at no time will there be a drop in airor marine support to legacy missions in ICE, CBP or the other many agenciesserved by these resources.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within theDepartment of Homeland Security charged with the management, control, andprotection of our Nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry.CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the countrywhile enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.