As the GAO report shows, C-TPAT is not perfect. As with so many areas of homeland security, there are still a number of challenges that must be addressed and improved. Most critical among them is the lack of systematic follow-up by Customs and Border Protection officials to ensure that full implementation of their security requirements are met before granting benefits. Anyone who reads this report, however, will be struck by the degree of improvement C-TPAT has undergone since it was formally adopted, as well as the sophistication of DHS’s overarching risk-based approach to security. It is the very opposite of the model called for by some critics, who want to replace this model with the so-called 100 Percent model.
The Heritage Foundation will host next week a forum on cargo security entitled Homeland Security and Inspecting Shipping Containers: Debating the Way Forward. Two of Security Debrief’s contributors will participate – former DHS Undersecretary Asa Hutchinson, who is also now head of the Safe Commerce Coalition, and Dr. James Carafano, who is the senior fellow for foreign policy, homeland security and counter-terrorism issues at the Foundation.