Border Security and Surveillance
Barry Harris, Senior Advisor to Proelium Law LLP and UK military veteran, shares operational expertise on border security.
WHY BORDER SURVEILLANCE?
In times of peace, a Border Security and Surveillance System helps stabilise a government and its economy by contributing to the prevention of:
- Cross-border terrorism
- Illegal immigration
In times of increased national tension, a Border Security and Surveillance System helps:
- Secure national boundaries
- Provide information to Intelligence Services
- Become an integral part of the National Security Infrastructure, and defence.
BORDER SURVEILLANCE SYSTEM FUNCTION
A well designed and integrated Border Surveillance System has two primary roles:
- DETER – The system should act as a deterrence to incursions
- DETECT – The system must reliably and accurately detect pre- incursion activity, and must reliably and precisely detect incursion attempts when they occur
- RECOGNISE – The system must enable the operator the ability to understand the type of intrusion (i.e. human, vehicle, animal, etc.), and empower the operator with the capacity to gain definitive recognition features (i.e. facial identity, colours, vehicle registration numbers) for further exploitation.
- REACT – The system should integrate completely with response forces to quickly respond to an incursion, intercept or neutralise the threat
- Provide maximum warning and response time
- Facilitate immediate investigation and analysis.
KEY FUNDAMENTALS OF A BORDER SURVEILLANCE SYSTEM
A Border Surveillance System will require the successful integration of the following elements:
- INTRUSION DETECTION SYSTEMS – such as:
- Alarmed Fence Systems
- Buried Cable Intrusion Detection Systems
- Remote Ground Sensors (RGS)
- Battlefield Ground Radar (BGR)
- Video Motion Detection (VMD)
- PHYSICAL ELEMENTS – for example:
- Natural Barriers (Mountains, Rivers, etc.)
- Man Made Barriers (Walls, Fences, Tank Traps, cratering, wire,
steel and concrete fixed obstacle and entanglements, etc.)
- RESPONSE CAPABILITY:
- Trained Manpower
- Dedicated Quick Reaction Force (QRF)
- Ground or Air mobility for rapid deployment
- Weapon systems.
The key element, vital to the success of the Border Surveillance System, is the implementation of a reliable detection system. The type of detection system selected may vary with the topography, and threat assessment varies along a given border. The detection system will:
- Achieve maximum security with the minimum use of personnel
- Alert security forces to the point of incursion
- Provide accurate information for the direction of surveillance systems to acquire, observe and track targets
- Provide accurate information on where to direct response forces
ALARMED FENCE SYSTEMS – High-quality systems can pinpoint intrusion to within zones of 15 meters accuracy. Alarm activations can be displayed on a map display unit. Activations can be used to direct Electro-Optic (EO) and Thermal Imaging surveillance sensors to the point of detection. False alarms from blown debris, animal movement, and local environmental conditions are possible on low-end equipment.
BURIED CABLE INTRUSION DETECTION SYSTEMS – These can detect to an accuracy according to the zone size (10-meter minimum – 200-meter maximum zone sizes). Alarm activations can be displayed on a map display unit. Activations can be used to direct over watching EO and TI optical surveillance systems to the point of detection. False alarms from blown debris, animal movement, and local environmental conditions are common on most equipment types. These are not considered as useful or cost-effective for linear targets (borders) of many kilometers. They are more suited to perimeter detection in the sterile ground around compounds.
REMOTE GROUND SENSORS (RGS) – RGS are best adapted to linear targets such as tracks, paths, and roads, established border crossing points. They can be left unattended for long periods. RGS can be overtly or covertly deployed (overtly they are exposed to theft, damage, and attack). RGS are best used to cover dead ground to other sensor systems, on likely or known approaches generated as a target for a special operation by intelligence gained from another source. RGS can transmit an alarm signal by Very High Frequency (VHF) radio link to a distant base up to 50 kilometers away (with radio relays). RGS deployments and alarm activations can be displayed on a map display. RGS can be used to cue EO and TI sensors, and are best used in conjunction with an effective reaction plan. RGS detect using a wide range of transducers, such as:
- SEISMIC GEOPHONE – These can differentiate between man-made footfall and vehicle movement, they can determine the direction of But they may cause nuisance alarms due to weather or animal movement. RGS require skilled, careful, and planned deployment. RGS should be deployed in multiples and not a single sensor that cannot be corroborated.
- PASSIVE INFRARED (PIR) – PIR cannot differentiate between man-made footfall and vehicle movement, however it can determine the direction of travel. PIR may cause nuisance alarms due to weather, vegetation, or animal movement, and require skilled, careful, and planned deployment. PIR should be deployed in multiples and are best deployed with other transducer types on other RGS to form a better understanding of the detected incursion.
- MAGNETIC ANOMALY (MAG) – Whilst MAG can differentiate between man-made footfall and vehicle movement, MAG cannot determine the direction of It does not make false alarms due to weather or animal movement as it requires a specific condition to create an alarm condition. MAG requires skilled, careful, and planned deployment and should be deployed in multiples. MAG is best deployed with a Seismic Geophone to display if the seismic detection has a metal content such as a car, or possibly a person carrying a weapon.
- PRESSURE MATS – Pressure mats cannot differentiate between man-made footfall and vehicle movement, and individually they cannot determine the direction of They do not create a false alarm. They require skilled, careful, and planned deployment, and are most suited to a choke point such as a door, gate or sty, where activity is guaranteed to be captured. This is a specialised trigger suited to targeted special operations and short-term deployments.
- TRIPWIRES – Tripwire cannot differentiate between man-made footfall and vehicle movement, and cannot determine the direction of travel. Tripwires do not create a false alarm. They require skilled, careful, and planned As with pressure mats, they are most suited to a choke point such as a door, gate or sty, where activity is guaranteed to be captured. They are suited to targeted special operations and short-term deployments, but can be detected and avoided by highly trained and motivated personnel.
BATTLEFIELD GROUND RADAR (BGR) – Battlefield Ground Radar can differentiate between personnel and vehicle movement, also low-flying objects, and can determine the direction of travel, target coordinates, and velocity. Radar does not create a false alarm. Radar requires skilled, careful, and planned deployment and operation. BGR is most suited to wide area coverage, deployed on high ground or towers to maximise detection ranges and can cover vast areas in depth. Radar is suited to the static site or mobile platform borne system. It is active and can be detected and jammed or deceived by advanced Electronic Warfare (EW) suites. Relatively poor resolution limits its use in target identification. BGR is an all-weather, day/night, long–range, device capable of detecting small moving targets and ideal for auto alarm systems or the triggering and cueing of EO and TI sensors. It suffers from being active and therefore detectable and can be jammed or attacked, and its resolution makes it unsuitable for resolution purposes. Multiple BGR deployments can be fused to provide a complete display of an entire border, and networked to a central command and control facility.
VIDEO MOTION DETECTION (VMD) – Video Motion Detection can only be used in conjunction with an EO or TI sensor. The VMD detects alarms and can cue video recording and alert operators. VMD detects motion in pre-determined areas on an image; these areas can be configured to suit the target area being viewed. The sensor is required to be still in order not to cause a false alarm. Advanced VMD’s can differentiate between personnel and vehicle movement, and can determine the direction of travel. They can be programmed to ignore certain types of action to minimise false alarms. VMD’s are a technology added to an EO sensor and cannot be detected.
Alarms from any detection system require confirmation before a reaction force is committed. Verification and identification by EO or TI surveillance are essential.
INTEGRATED SURVEILLANCE SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS
- Addresses areas of high risk
- Fixed Installations of EO and TI sensor systems provide a 24-hour capability
- Multi-sensor capability provides full functionality for short,
medium, long and extremely long-range requirements
- Directly integrated into the detection system such as Fence Alarm, RGS, or Radar to be cued by their detection of incursion, thus covering the widest possible arcs at all times.
Mobile Systems provide a capability to reinforce a particular area, or mount a targeted operation
- Rapidly deployable systems to respond to changing threats
- Mobile systems deployed by the response forces
- “Plug in” to an existing communications network(s)
- Integrated with the incursion detection system.
PORTABLE SYSTEMS FOR QRF AND SPECIAL OPERATIONS
Handheld and man-portable equipment are to enhance the performance of personnel deployed on the ground for interception of a detected incursion.
COMMAND, CONTROL, AND COMMUNICATION
COMMAND & CONTROL
Live activity on the border is displayed as images and alarms to the operators of control centres. Continuous updates of intruders and patrols are presented to enable quick assimilation of the situation and control of the appropriate response.
COMMUNICATIONS It is essential that Observation Posts (OP) installations along a border have excellent, secure and robust communications with each other and rearwards to central command and control facilities. This can be implemented by communications links such as:
- FIBRE OPTIC – This can be made reasonably secure against interception and jamming. Fibre optics have a high bandwidth and can be used to carry video, data, sensor telemetry, and voice communications. A fibre optic network can also have fixed “Points Of Presence” (POP) where mobile forces can connect to the network.
- MICROWAVE – This is made reasonably secure against intercept and jamming. The microwave has a high bandwidth and can be used to carry video, data, sensor telemetry, and voice communications. Microwave sites are fixed “Points of Presence” (POP) where mobile forces can connect to the network. Microwave can also be deployed by mobile forces to integrate to a fixed fibre optic or microwave network temporarily. The microwave is limited by a requirement for Line of Sight (LOS), and a fixed static position from the transmitter to the receiver.
- CODED ORTHOGONAL FREQUENCY DIVISION MULTIPLEXING (COFDM) – COFDM is highly resistant to intercept and jamming. COFDM has a high bandwidth and can be used to carry video, data, sensor telemetry, voice and data COFDM is suited to mobile units and can be operated on the move to fixed “Points Of Presence” (POP) on a network. A major benefit of COFDM is that it can achieve NLOS communications.
- COMBAT NET RADIO (CNR) – Combat Net Radio can be the target of radio surveillance, jamming and deception. CNR can be used for the passage of limited quality video to a distant base (limited by the CNR transmission range and available bandwidth). It is highly portable, mobile and in – service.
- SATELLITE – Satellite can be made reasonably secure against intercept and It can have a high bandwidth and can be used to carry video, data, sensor telemetry, voice and data communications. Network connection by mobile forces requires specialist equipment and highly trained personnel. It may be deployed by mobile forces to temporarily integrate to network and communicate rearwards to a central command and control facility. Satellite is limited by a requirement for line of sight, and a fixed static position from the transmitter to the satellite. It is a high-cost solution.
- 3G and 4G NETWORKS – Although 3G and 4G networks can be the target of intercept, they can be used for the passage of limited quality video to a remote base (limited by the network coverage). Smartphones are highly portable and mobile. Nationwide infrastructures are in place for exploitation.
Sophisticated smuggling operations and well-equipped terrorists often use radio communications in their activities and exploit the borderline as a method of preventing hot pursuit. Surveillance, monitoring, direction finding, recording and analysis of traffic from these types of groupings can gain intelligence that can be exploited by reaction forces or targeted special operations.
The effectiveness of any border system that provides maximum operational availability is one that remains serviced and operating to specified parameters, is future proof and not made redundant, outmoded, or outdated due to component obsolescence. This includes regular training of operators and first line maintainers.
Border security depends on precise and real-time information. Security can be provided by reliable integrated surveillance systems. Situational awareness is a key factor for airports, ports, coast guards and land borders.
Recent events increase focus and demands for efficient border control and surveillance. Smuggling, illegal immigration, organised crime, and terrorist threats must be controlled. A factor in providing improved control of these issues is border surveillance and control.
Systems to address border protection scenarios require the capability to Detect, Recognize and Identify (DRI) activity, to securely communicate the sensed event to a control facility, and for that data to be of a quality and timeliness that allows commanders to respond to intercept with appropriate resources. Control centres, communications networks, sensor sites, observation posts, patrols, guards, and reaction teams are all part of a Border Security and Surveillance system.
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