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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, August 23, 2004
Contact: Michael Orenstein
Tel: 202-606-2402

Director James Announces Merger of Inspection and Enforcement Occupations Under Single, Revised Standard

18,000 employees covered by "one face on the border"

Action also will help DHS combat terrorist threat

Washington, D.C. -- With an assist from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the Department of Homeland Security has terrorism-fighting capabilities that are much-improved, as well as a keener ability to oversee legitimate trade and travel.

OPM recently issued a new occupational series and related qualification standard that bring several inspection and enforcement functions at the Homeland Security Department under a single series, improving the agency's overall business plan.

"Through the combined efforts of OPM and DHS, we have created a contemporary classification series and qualification standard that reflect the real-life duties of federal employees who serve on the front-lines in the War on Terror and protect the interests of travelers and commercial business," said OPM Director Kay Coles James. "For many employees covered by the new series, their decades-old job standards had been tailored to help America fight the Cold War. And just as our servicemen and servicewomen cannot use antiquated weapons to fight those who threaten America today, our public servants who work in law enforcement along our borders, who inspect shipments of goods, and who keep out disease-carrying agricultural products from entering the country cannot operate effectively in a system that fails to recognize their current roles and contributions."

Creation of the Customs and Border Protection Officer position (series 1895) brings under one occupational series approximately 18,000 current Department of Homeland Security (DHS) employees who previously worked as immigration inspectors (series 1816) at the Immigration and Naturalization Service; customs inspectors (series 1890) at the Department of Customs; and agriculture inspectors (series 436) at the Department of Agriculture.

Employees working in these positions were transferred to the DHS in March 2003, when components of 22 agencies were merged to create the law enforcement and national security agency.

Customs and border protection officers work at airports, land border ports and seaports. Creation of the new series integrates the work of each function, supports DHS' "one face on the border"-initiative, and creates cross-training opportunities that will result in more versatile and highly skilled DHS employees.

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Our mission is to Recruit, Retain and Honor a World-Class Workforce to Serve the American People. OPM supports U.S. agencies with personnel services and policy leadership including staffing tools, guidance on labor-management relations and programs to improve work force performance.


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