In a post-pandemic world, homeland security and border control agencies are being tasked with transforming how they respond and operate in a highly digitalized environment, while ensuring safety and prosperity of citizens and country.

Critical challenges that agencies face include the increasing volume of incidents and emergencies, overly complex trade and immigration processes, and evolving threats to borders and customs. Governments can leverage data, AI, intelligent automation, and other emerging technologies to address these complex challenges—while also freeing up critical human resources for high value missions.

To address these key issues, the IBM Center for The Business of Government hosted an international dialogue in September 2021 attended by CIOs and IT leaders with the Australia Department of Home Affairs, the Singapore Ministry of Home Affairs, and U.S. Department of Homeland Security Customs and Border Protection. These three dynamic leaders engaged in an interactive dialogue, joined by nearly 50 attendees from across the globe.

Professor Kevin DeSouza of the Queensland University of Technology and the Brookings Institution has drawn on this discussion to produce a report providing keen insights about leveraging technologies to improve operations and security across borders. Participants addressed supply chain assurance, opening borders amidst the global fight against COVID-19, and the role of data, AI, and other technologies to support border security. The wide-ranging discussion also touched on addressing the needs of the future, anticipating new threats, and developing response strategies. These strategies—which rest on hybrid, multi-cloud environments—include operational capabilities that can stand up “on demand” to address rapidly shifting threats.

This report builds on the Center’s body of work that addresses how governments can best leverage emerging technologies to drive effective outcomes. Most recently, this includes Professor DeSouza’s report, Artificial Intelligence in the Public Sector: A Maturity Model, as well as Gwanhoo Lee’s Creating Public Value Using the AI-Driven Internet of Things, and Alan Shark’s Innovation and Emerging Technologies in Government: Keys to Success.

We hope that Professor Desouza’s report enables government leaders to draw on insights and lessons learned from across the world.