In an op-ed published today in the Washington Times, Security Debrief contributor Asa Hutchinson makes the argument for why the congressional mandate to scan 100 percent of all cargo coming into the United States is bad policy. Hutchinson notes the growing opposition to the “100 percent security model” among security experts as well as the additional and potentially crippling impact the mandate would have on the nation’s already struggling economy and trade sector.
During my years of services in the government, I have spent a great deal of time studying and managing the spectrum of threats to our borders, as well as the diverse ways in which those threats are moved across the border. Based on this experience, I can tell you that by focusing our energies on inspecting all cargo entering our country – indiscriminately, no matter whether it is shipped by known secure trading partners or by high-risk unknowns – we will be forced to divert resources and attention from the highest-risk cargo.
Is the threat of components of weapons of mass destruction being smuggled through a port via a shipping container greater than the threat of such components being smuggled in via mule along one of the unsecured regions of our southern or northern land borders? Both are of equal concern and we must focus resources on targeting those carriers.
Moreover, efforts to scan – much less physically inspect – every single container will result in massive delays across the supply chain, leading to backups of cargo left waiting to be transported. Consider those vulnerability hours. Both customs agents and security experts will tell you that cargo is most susceptible to exploitation when it is not in motion.
Besides these troubling national security concerns, there is an additional reason to hesitate at implementing this questionable regulation: national economic security.
Carrying out new regulations that have questionable security value and will assuredly disrupt the global supply chain process and further undermine American commerce, jobs and the economy at large seems like a remarkably bad idea.