As C-TPAT has matured, Customs and Border Protection’s emphasis on compliance is sensible, and CBP is to be commended for ensuring that the program is a real security program and not merely a “paper program.” But CBP also must be careful to ensure that suspension and revocation decisions are made consistently across C-TPAT membership and that decisions are made in a timely way and in accordance with transparent procedures. There is anecdotal information that consistency and transparency are not yet hallmarks of CBP’s compliance efforts.
Maritime and Seaport Security
June 29th, 2012 - by Stephen Heifetz
April 13th, 2012 - by Janice Kephart
For the past month, the Homeland Security Show I host is spotlighting issues in homeland security without the interlude of media packaging stories into three minute segments or subjected to political hyperbole from Capitol Hill. This is not a show about thrillers, even if some of the content is more twisted and strange than most science fiction. Here is a rundown of my guests and show topics and some of our upcoming broadcasts.
March 29th, 2012 - by Rich Cooper
Despite Defense Department budget cuts and ongoing military operations, pirates in the waters off the coast of Somalia won’t see a decrease in naval military presence any time soon. NATO allies recently agreed to continue through 2014 the Ocean Shield operation – a counter-piracy naval operation off the Horn of Africa protecting merchant ships from pirate attack. This is welcome news to many ship owners and charters, which have seen an increase in the number of pirate attacks in the Indian Ocean. The pirate threat and the international response seem only to be escalating.
February 13th, 2012 - by Rich Cooper
If you mention the word “piracy” to someone, chances are images of Johnny Depp’s character from Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, but the sobering facts are that savagery on the high seas is very real and becoming a costly circumstance that deserves more attention. The waters around the Horn of Africa are growing more dangerous, with pirates from Somalia continuing attacks on commercial ships. These attacks contribute to the $7 billion-$12 billion that maritime piracy costs the international economy each year. To address and discuss this international challenge with national impact, the National Chamber Foundation will host “High Risk on the High Seas: The Economic Impact of Piracy in the Indian Ocean.”
As the U.S. fleet of icebreakers continues to age and fall behind the world’s arctic maritime community, the vision and fortitude of U.S. decision makers continues to wane. The recent announcement by Shell Oil to launch their $200 million arctic icebreaker in April 2012 should send a shiver up the spine of every Coastguardsman and mariner who has considered how the United States will deal with the future of operations in the high latitudes.
December 27th, 2011 - by Guest Contributor
By Nelson Balido
Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Alan Bersin last Thursday announced his resignation effective December 30. For folks who monitor border trade and security issues, this wasn’t exactly a surprise. But it was still a disappointment. Nevertheless, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano made the right choice in naming deputy commissioner David Aguilar as the new acting commissioner.
Earlier this month, I was at Rutgers University and fortunate to hear retired U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Thad Allen speak at the 2nd annual Maritime Risk Symposium. In his address, Adm. Allen developed a theme in discussing resilience that I believe bears greater and deeper discussion. He discussed the Joplin, Missouri, tornado devastation this past spring. At the center of this lesson is a school teacher – it is the story of Dr. C.J. Huff, the young teacher-turned-school superintendent who demonstrated resilience in practice.
July 11th, 2011 - by James Carafano
No part of the federal government is more at risk in Washington’s mindless approach to budget cutting than the U.S. Coast Guard. By every responsible measure, the service is blinking red when it comes to the challenge of matching vital missions to capability. Yet, Congress appears ready to gut the service to preserve funding for “pork barrel” grants. No wonder the Coast Guard is singing the blues.
The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) accounts for about one-quarter of the staff of the Department of Homeland Security. Its role in protecting the homeland is vital. The White House is poised to make the bad state of the service’s aging fleet worse, cutting back even further on the anemic plans to refurbish and replace aging vessels. This disaster in the making will have consequences nowhere worse than in the Pacific, where the oceans are as big as U.S. interests.
May 3rd, 2011 - by Jena McNeill
Last week, news reports indicated that 18 pirates apprehended after attacking a Singaporean vessel in the Indian Ocean were released to “an undisclosed location” because no nation was willing to detain or prosecute them. Why? The first problem was that while the pirates attacked a Singaporean vessel, they were saved by a Finnish one. And this isn’t the first time this has been a problem.
April 18th, 2011 - by Rich Cooper
It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since the BP Oil Spill occurred. There are a lot of important voices to be heard, but for me, the most important one comes from the man who led the months-long response efforts, Admiral Thad Allen, the former Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard.
February 28th, 2011 - by James Carafano
The Coast Guard is an integral part of DHS, though it has never gotten its fair share of resources. That is nowhere more the case than when it comes to fulfilling its responsibilities for looking after U.S. interests in the Arctic. DHS Inspector General recently concluded that the Coast Guard has neither sufficient ships nor budgetary authority to accomplish its current missions.
February 27th, 2011 - by Rich Cooper
With the sad news of the murder of four Americans by Somali pirates off the coast of Africa, the United States and the international community once again have to realize that ignoring the situation in East Africa is not a viable or productive option. For decades, the lawlessness of the area has allowed piracy to become the de facto career choice for young men desperate for money and to do the unthinkable to those who unfortunately come within range of their coastal waters.
By Elaine Bussjaeger
The notion of the “citizen watch” is tried and tested. In communities throughout the country, neighborhood watch programs operate on a simple principle – you watch my back, and I’ll watch yours. In the ever-advancing technological age, how can this basic concept be modified for a new generation of smart phone-using, social media-minded citizens? The Department of Homeland Security, with its Small Vessel Security Strategy, has taken steps to rally citizens through social media as a kind of nautical “neighborhood watch.”
December 10th, 2010 -
This is the second video from the US Chamber’s forum on supply chains and cargo security. Officials from TSA and CBP join representatives from the private sector to discuss where policy might be going.
December 9th, 2010 -
The US Chamber of Commerce hosted a forum on global supply chain this week, which of course had to include a discussion on international cargo security. Check out the video of CBP Commissioner Alan Bersin speaking to the group.
November 12th, 2010 -
Next week, the Hudson Institute will host an address from Admiral Gary Roughead, Chief of Naval Operations and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, titled, “America’s Dwindling Naval Force: Future Consequences for U.S. Security.”
October 5th, 2010 -
Having recently completed the president’s request to oversee the response and clean up for BP’s oil spill, former U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Thad Allen has joined the RAND Corporation as a senior fellow.
It’s not at all unusual for a Hollywood celebrity to make an appearance on Capitol Hill. Whether they are advocating for a particular cause or issue, their public visibility has the ability to shine a greater light on a particular subject matter than what might otherwise be offered. That’s why I greet the news that Oscar winner Kevin Costner is serving as a witness before the House Homeland Security Committee with some cautious enthusiasm. At the Wednesday hearing, Costner will be just one of several witnesses that hopefully will provide some lessons learned from what has been and continues to be the disaster with no end – the Gulf oil spill.
August 30th, 2010 - by Rich Cooper
It’s hard to say what the real ground zero of Hurricane Katrina was. For most Americans, they think of the City of New Orleans. For as awful as each of those events were, similar catastrophes were experienced by St. Bernard and Jefferson Parishes, as well as Plaquemines and Slidell, LA. While the media certainly covered the earth-shattering events that occurred there, it seems to me that the Gulf Coast of Mississippi seems to have been lost in the coverage. The only word I used to describe what I saw back then was very simply Hiroshima. The destruction was beyond catastrophic.