Magazine article Security Management

Crate Expectations for Cargo Security Strategy

Magazine article Security Management

Crate Expectations for Cargo Security Strategy

Article excerpt

In a draft national cargo security strategy, the Department of Homeland Security sets a "zero-tolerance policy" toward the arrival of weapons of mass destruction at U.S. borders. The goal is to inspect 100 percent of "designated high-risk" cargo.

But the question is: How sure can you be that a cargo container not designated as high risk wasn't the box a terrorist chose as the perfect hiding place?

Basing screening on risk is tricky, says the Homeland Security Institute (HSI), a federally funded think tank. It writes in its assessment of DHS's cargo strategy that screening only high-risk cargo could be "catastrophic."

The report states: "Simply put, there is no truly secure substitute for 100% checking of all cargo for WMD, particularly given the adaptive and shifting strategies of terrorists."

Inspection of all high-risk cargo is one of five missions laid out in the national cargo strategy, which is currently being revised to reflect the comments from industry and HSI. The others include enhancing the physical security of the supply chain via such means as mechanical seals on in-bound shipments, identifying high-risk cargo through data analysis, partnering with business and the international community, and making the international cargo-transportation system more efficient.

International security standards for cargo security are in the offing, as well. In the draft strategy, DHS notes that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has been discussing the issue with the World Customs Organization and the European Union. …

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