Magazine article National Defense

Top Dogs

Magazine article National Defense

Top Dogs

Article excerpt

Canines' contributions to homeland security missions documented

As the Department of Homeland Security spends billions on high-technology solutions to secure the border, it's easy to overlook the humble working dog.

A recent Department of Homeland Security Inspector General's report gave insight into the esoteric world of canine procurement, and highlighted the animal's contribution to homeland security.

House Homeland Security Committee Rep. Chairman Bennie G. Thompson. D-Miss., requested the report to find out whether Customs and Border Protection was overpaying for untrained canines. That prompted inspectors to fan out to airports, border crossings and the CBP's two training facilities to investigate the role of canine teams. Their conclusion: CBP, when compared to the Defense Department and other agencies, was paying a competitive price. The $4,535 per canine cost was fair even though the vendors were in Europe and the dollar exchange rate has been unfavorable.

The byproduct of their in-depth investigation was a 28-page report highlighting the importance of dogs in securing the homeland.

CBP bought 322 untrained dogs from April 2006 to June 2007. The new dogs cost taxpayers $1.46 million, but their contributions are nothing to sniff at. …

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