Transition is often difficult to identify by those being transformed. However, when the insight is simplified, an agency can embrace an intentional shift in their regulatory and enabling responsibilities as well as in its relationship with industry. This allows a new future to take root as government agencies and industry truly cooperate and co-create initiatives together.
While the merits of a good idea can drive this change, government agencies – especially Customs Services around the world – will be forced to take this tact to address shrinking budgets and higher demands for efficiencies. In an environment of fiscal austerity, organizations, both public and private, must find new ways of doing business. Global border management will take on an even more critical role in enabling economic prosperity and standing in front of efforts to rebuild and strengthen national economies.
To accomplish this transformation, agencies responsible for border management will have to take a number of actions that shift focus from staffing and technology alone to improving capability, which better articulates future needs. As technology improves, as creative initiatives are implemented, strict measures for personnel increases become outdated. For example, self-service programs for trusted shippers and travelers allow border officials to focus attention on more specified threats. This causes a demand for initial investment, but an expenditure that is recovered in personnel savings in out years. Furthermore, because creativity alone is not enough, we see a shift towards more public-private investment partnerships. Giving flexibility to the private sector to manage the workload placed on government entities is critical to future expansion. These are just a few examples of how new budget norms require government agencies and private industry to have the insight to look within for transformative solutions to stay effective and relevant.