355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
One of the many exhibitions at the 2012 Thunder and Lightning over Arizona here this weekend will be the U.S. Customs and Border Protectionâ€™s Office of Air and Marine.
Attendees will be able to check out some of the organizationâ€™s fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, talk to OAM agents, and learn about how the USCBP fits into the overall picture of national defense.
As the worldâ€™s largest aviation and maritime law enforcement organization, the mission of the OAM is to protect the American people and the nationâ€™s critical infrastructure through the coordinated use of integrated air and marine forces to detect, interdict and prevent acts of terrorism and the unlawful movement of people, illegal drugs and other contraband toward or across the borders of the United States.
This specialized law enforcement capability allows OAM to make significant contributions to the Department of Homeland Security, as well as to federal, state, local, and tribal agencies. In those efforts, OAM utilizes more than 900 federal agents, along with more than 290 aircraft of 22 different types and more than 225 maritime vessels.
Those agents and assets are stationed in 79 strategic locations along the U.S. border. In addition, OAM interdiction aircraft are frequently assigned on a rotating basis to drug source and transit zone locations, such as Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Aruba. OAM aircraft also deploy when necessary to sites in Panama, Peru, Belize, El Salvador, and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Components of the OAM mission include:
* Providing support to USCBPâ€™s antiterrorism mission at U.S. borders, including air-to-ground interception of people and contraband illegally crossing land borders, air-to-air interception of aircraft, and air-to-water interception of transportation vessels
* Providing support for USCBPâ€™s traditional work, such as border interceptions unrelated to terrorism and other DHS missions
* Conducting air operations in support of other federal, state and local needs, such as disaster relief