There are few places that you can drive in America where you can go over 50 miles and not hit a traffic light. Such is the stretch of highway along Louisiana Highway 23, running straight through the center of Plaquemines Parish. Located just south of New Orleans, Plaquemines is literally a peninsula with the mighty Mississippi River going right through the center of it. When Katrina struck, surges of water crossed over the levees, parking shrimp boats in the center of the Highway 23 and farmer’s fields while cattle and other farm animals were left dangling in the surrounding trees. It’s an open debate by many Plaquemines residents as to what is worse: the impact of Katrina, the BP oil spill or the drilling moratorium. One thing they can all agree on is their concern about their future.
Maritime and Seaport Security
August 27th, 2010 - by Rich Cooper
August 18th, 2010 - by Steven Bucci
Next week, the Heritage Foundation will host “Homeland Security 2010: The Future of Defending the Homeland.” This will be a week-long series of panels aimed at providing a good background for Congressional Staffers new to Homeland Security issues. Heritage did this last year, and it was an excellent event. I will be sitting on two of the panels – maritime security and cybersecurity. The panels are open to the public and all are welcome. I highly recommend it.
August 17th, 2010 - by Chris Battle
Back in 2006, before George W. Bush’s approval ratings dropped through the basement into somewhere around the fourth circle of hell, it made political sense for the congressional Democrats to attack the Republican administration on cargo security. They were fighting to regain control of Congress and had to show that they, too, were capable of protecting the American people from another terrorist attack. They found themselves an effective–if inaccurate–sound bite in accusing the administration of screening a mere 5 percent of cargo coming into the country. But are they seriously going to continue this bizarre effort? Even President Obama’s Administration thinks this is a terrible idea.
July 22nd, 2010 - by Kevin McCarthy
The piracy question and how to deal with it is huge and is about to become a much larger question in the global supply-chain management continuum. A Presidential Executive Order EO issued in April prevents U.S. citizens/entities from making payments to certain named individuals. It also has the potential to prevent any payments to individuals or groups involved in or supporting piracy in Somalia. Given the recent Shabaab attack in Kampala, Uganda, in which at least one U.S. citizen was killed, one can reasonably expect enforcement measures for the executive order to be forthcoming. The new adage, “bring lawyers, guns and money,” is certainly apt.
July 21st, 2010 -
The hunt for someone to lead the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) began in 2009, but it wasn’t until June this year that the Senate confirmed John Pistole as administrator. Security Debrief followed the confirmation process every step of the way and found the latest development in this week’s Air Cargo Week.
June 11th, 2010 - by Brian Peterman
It has been over a month since the tragic Deepwater Horizon explosion, and at this writing, oil continues to pour into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and onto adjacent land and marsh areas. It is clear that the oil companies worked diligently to produce technologies that could bring oil from deep wells to the surface. It is also clear that they did not develop, on a parallel track, the multi-layered technologies needed to stop and respond to an emergency on the deep ocean sea floor. It is like trying to repack your parachute while in a freefall.
June 7th, 2010 - by Akram Elias
On July 11, 1947, a ship carrying more than 4,000 Jews sailed from the south of France and headed to Palestine. The Zionist movement endeavoring to create the State of Israel as a home for the Jews sought to “break the embargo imposed by Great Britain on immigration to Palestine.” On May 30, 2010, more than 500 Palestinian activists and sympathizers sailed from Turkey aboard the Mavi Marmara ship as part of the “Free Gaza Flotilla” in an effort to “break the siege imposed by Israel on Gaza.” Will the Mavi Marmara end up having the same historical significance to Palestinians as did the Exodus 1947 for Jews? Only time will tell.
May 25th, 2010 - by Rich Cooper
On Tuesday, a man much of America recognizes for his leadership following the occurrence of a “bad day” will relinquish his command of one of our country’s oldest branches of federal service, the U.S. Coast Guard. Having served the past four years as Commandant, Thad Allen has become one of those unique, iconic American figures that when you see him or mention his name, you almost immediately think of words, “trust,” “competent” and “leader.” Allen’s career has been about two things: leadership and service to others – an unprecedented service that he will continue to fulfill even after his tenure as Commandant ends on Tuesday.
April 1st, 2010 -
Think you’ve heard it all? We beg to differ. For this special April Fools edition, we’ve collected recent news reports that the rest of the media somehow missed.
By Justin Hienz
Perhaps America’s most critical infrastructure is its national electrical grid. It has served us well to this point, supporting all our grandiose and astounding technological innovations. But the grid is getting old, and it doesn’t keep up with our innovations (and electronic appetites) as well as it should. So, we’re upgrading – to a Smart Grid. It is clear the Smart Grid touches on every aspect of homeland security, and the time to improve Smart Grid security is now, while we are developing it.
December 19th, 2009 -
With all of the attention on global warming coming out of Copenhagen, we thought it worth reposting Security Debrief contributor Scott Borgerson’s article in Foreign Affairs journal, arguing that, thanks to global warming, the Arctic icecap is rapidly melting, opening up access to massive natural resources and creating shipping shortcuts that could save billions of dollars a year. But there are currently no clear rules governing this economically and strategically vital region. Unless Washington leads the way toward a multilateral diplomatic solution, the Arctic could descend into armed conflict.
December 2nd, 2009 - by Guest Contributor
By Jena Baker McNeill
Homeland Security Policy Analyst at The Heritage Foundation
Today, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano testified before the Senate Commerce Committee on the topic of transportation security. What she said about cargo security was something lots of folks in the homeland security community have been saying for the past two years. There are a number of serious challenges that stand in the way of the 100 percent scanning mandate.
The Coast Guard adopts new policies after scare on the Potomac. Don’t expect the same from CNN.
October 28th, 2009 - by Chris Battle
In truth the Fiasco on the Potomac was the sloppy result of various parties, all of whom deny having engaged in any sloppiness whatsoever except for the Coast Guard. So kudos to them.
Why did it take so long for the Obama Administration to name a chief for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, one of the nation’s premiere federal law enforcement agencies? One reason might be that the initial appointment of a “Border Czar” in the DHS Policy shop diminished the power of the CBP Commissioner to do his or her job. Another might be worries about the Administration’s commitment to immigration enforcement. No one wants to volunteer for failure.
Unregulated small boats pose greatest vulnerability to U.S. maritime security, says Coast Guard Commandant
August 11th, 2009 - by Chris Battle
Admiral Thad Allen, commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, has been on a mission for going on three years now: To raise awareness of the security vulnerabilities presented by small boats on America’s largely unregulated and unrestricted waterways.
Americans have been lulled into a false sense of security since being so far removed from the attacks of September 11, 2001. Though many suggestions of the 9/11 Commission have been enacted, there are still many significant holes in our country’s maritime and port security.
July 10th, 2009 - by Guest Contributor
By Jena Baker McNeil
Sen. Sessions’ amendment to make E-Verify permanent and mandatory is a good step forward in terms of maintaining immigration enforcement efforts.
June 9th, 2009 - by Chris Battle
Ted Alden of the Council on Foreign Relations offers an excellent analysis of what’s wrong with our immigration process – or at least, one of the things that is wrong with our broken immigration process. In a nutshell, his is an argument – a desperate plea really – for a return to risk-based security procedures that use intelligence and information to prioritize threats rather than the hopelessly ineffective but increasingly popular notion on Capitol Hill that we can prevent 100 percent of all threats we may face.
Something happened recently that did not garner much media attention but is worth noting among the Homeland Security set. Each and every Transportation Security Officer TSA recently completed a two-day training course called ENGAGE, which is an experiential, hands-on training effort aimed at calming the checkpoint to improve security.