We are providing too much money in port security not to invest pennies to save dollars. DHS, through the CEDAP and SAVERS Program, have provided a significant amount of financial assistance to first responders conducting objective assessments and validations on commercial equipment and systems – a process that has been crucial to ensuring we are investing our security funding wisely. Yet Congress is now considering reducing the funding for these programs significantly, or cutting them altogether – steps that would have serious implications for the security of our nation’s ports.
Global resistance is growing to a looming Congressional mandate that will require the scanning of all containers entering U.S. ports by 2012. The World Customs Organization (WCO) released a new report on Tuesday analyzing the 9/11 Bill’s requirement for 100% cargo scanning – a measure that Le Havre University researchers found will have significant “technical and organizational difficulties.”
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.
One of the great things about the Internet is that anyone with anything on their mind can say anything they want, regardless of how informed and insightful they might be. To illustrate this point I present Exhibit A – David Axe of Wired Magazine’s latest posting, “It’s a Major Prize,” attacking Admiral Allen and the U.S. Coast Guard.