A. Improving Bilateral and Regional Cooperation on Border Security

Good Practice #1

Employ a risk assessment framework in developing and implementing border security measures. Given the geographic expanse of the Sahel, a risk-based approach to border security can help allocate appropriate and sufficient resources to minimize the likelihood that “hot pursuit” will be necessary. Development of effective risk assessments requires a regular exchange of information among the information services of the border countries. Threats may be inaccurately assessed if one of the states does not have input from the other. These exchanges should be systematized in terms of their frequency, the ways in which they will take place, and precisely what will be exchanged, working from most urgent to less urgent, and mitigating any gaps. In this sense, the establishment of Bilateral Police Cooperation Centers at certain points of the border could help the exchange of information at a tactical level, lead to the development of an effective joint risk assessment model, streamline communications, and improve management of border operations on both sides of the border, all of which would reduce the need for "hot pursuit.”

 

Good Practice #2

Cooperate with and among trans-border communities to foster links that can function as an informal part of the border security system. Border security initiatives that involve civil society, particularly in areas that are lightly patrolled, will provide greater awareness and reduce the need for “hot pursuit.” In cooperating with border communities, many of which straddle both sides of any given border, it is important to reassure them of their safety, to build trust by meeting some of their needs, if possible, for supplies (e.g., health care and medication), and infrastructure. It is also necessary to learn about these communities, their customs, and their conflict resolution cultures.

 

Good Practice #3

Initiate or build upon bilateral and sub-regional joint border patrols and training exercises. National, bilateral, and multilateral training at the tactical and central command levels will greatly improve the effectiveness of border security operations, responses, and increase the likelihood of positive outcomes in disrupting terrorists’ movements and related criminal activity. Potential options for enhancing these resources include the creation of special units which periodically mobilize to carry out border security operations, including “hot pursuit,” or a permanent sub-regional force (with troop contributions from relevant countries) in place or at the ready, to be activated when deemed necessary. This does not release each country from seeking to secure its borders by recruiting each year, or on a periodic basis, additional defense and security forces, a good part of which may be sent to the borders, making use of a rotation or relief system as needed. Thus, states should consider standardizing this good practice throughout the Sahel region.

 

Good Practice #4

Provide relevant authorities on both sides of a border with up-to-date information about border security rules and procedures, and threat assessments, including posters, standard operating procedures, and contact rosters. This information can serve as guidance during actual border security events and as checklists for practitioners. Contact rosters can be used for periodic communications tests with neighbors and can help facilitate working relationships, while rules and procedures can be built into periodic drills designed to maintain readiness. Posters and SOPs should build upon joint border patrols and serve as foundational documents for future joint workshops.

 

Good Practice #5

Host joint workshops and exercises on border security operations, including hot pursuit, between border authorities on both sides of a border to build knowledge and trust. These workshops and exercises should be conducted on a frequent basis (they can be small, but spaced closely together), and should be appropriately tailored and scalable to have immediate and meaningful results. These exercises may not all be alike; rather, they will be specifically tailored to deterring and preventing terrorism, terrorist movement across borders, and related criminal activity, in locations where there are signs of these phenomena or where they are recurrent.