Homeland security is a global mission. From securing the border to protecting global supply chains, virtually every aspect of preventing terrorist attacks has an international dimension that requires the United States to work effectively with friends and allies. Only through international cooperation can the United States succeed in securing the homeland. The priorities for international collaboration are aviation and maritime port and cargo security, immigration and border control, information security, counterterrorism operations, and disaster preparedness. In addressing that "to do" list two countries jump to the top of the list--Canada and Mexico. The US has a healthy relationship with Canada, and a growing one with Mexico, principally, the Merida Initiative, a bi-lateral effort to combat transnational drug cartels. The problem is there is no effective instrument to promote operational cooperation among the three nations on issues of common interest. An effective mechanism for harmonizing activities would build trust and confidence between the countries while respecting the sovereignty of each nation.
There is an obvious answer to address the shortfall Western Hemispheric security--NORAD. According to recent research paper from the Heritage Foundation, "Expand NORAD to Improve Security in North America" by James Carafano, Ph.D. , Jena Baker McNeill , Ray Walser, Ph.D. and Richard Weitz, Ph.D., the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) has repeatedly adapted to meet a range of national security concerns. First created to confront the growing Soviet bomber threat, NORAD's mission has been expanded to provide aerospace and maritime warning for North America. However, U.S. and Canadian security interests do not end at the U.S.-Mexico border. To enable NORAD to better fulfill its mission, the United States and Canada should invite Mexico to join NORAD. Mexican participation would greatly enhance NORAD's aerial and maritime missions.