Archives For Department of Homeland Security

US Customs CSI Inspection in the Port of Durban, South Africa

US Customs CSI Inspection in the Port of Durban, South Africa

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has not assessed risks at select foreign ports with U.S.-bound shipments since 2005, part of a string of failures that has left key ports without a CBP presence, the Government Accountability Office says. (Hmm, never mind the impact caused to Customs administration in the host countries……)

In examining CBP’s Container Security Initiative program, GAO found that the agency developed a model for ranking additional seaports according to risk in 2009, but never implemented it because of budget cuts, according to the report.

GAO applied that risk model to 2012 cargo shipment data and found that the CSI program had no presence at about half the ports CSP found high risk. Meanwhile, 20 percent of existing CSI program ports were at lower-risk locations, according to the findings (.pdf).

Although GAO acknowledged host countries are not always willing to accommodate a CSI presence, and that removal of a CSI presence can negatively affect diplomatic relations, auditors said periodic assessments of cargo shipped from foreign ports could help CBP better guard against terror-related shipments.

Although there have been no known incidents of cargo containers being used to transport WMD, the maritime supply chain remains vulnerable to attacks. We recognize that it may not be possible to include all of the higher-risk ports in CSI because CSI requires the cooperation of sovereign foreign governments.

To better ensure the effectiveness of the CSI program, GAO recommends that the Secretary of Homeland Security direct the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection to periodically assess the supply chain security risks from all foreign ports that ship cargo to the United States and use the results of these risk assessments to (1) inform any future expansion of CSI to additional locations and (2) determine whether changes need to be made to existing CSI ports and make adjustments as appropriate and feasible.

Such assessments “would help ensure that CBP is allocating its resources to provide the greatest possible coverage of high-risk cargo to best mitigate the risk of importing weapons of mass destruction or other terrorist contraband into the United States through the maritime supply chain,” GAO said.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) concurred with the recommendation and said CBP would complete its first assessment by Aug. 12, 2014. To access or download the GAO Report on CSI, Click Here! Source: US Government Accounting Office

Foreign Ports That CBP Coordinates with Regarding Maritime Container Shipment Examinations, as of July 2013

Foreign Ports That CBP Coordinates with Regarding Maritime Container Shipment Examinations, as of July 2013 (Table: GAO)

 

A US statutory requirement to scan all incoming containers at foreign ports will take effect at the beginning of July, a date thrown into sharp relief as the House of Representatives homeland security committee approved a revamped bill that retains the clause.

The draft bill gave the industry minor cause for cheer for unrelated reasons, as it will postpone the requirement for workers to renew their transportation worker identification cards in the absence of Department of Homeland Security regulations on biometric card readers. But the 100% scanning requirement has proved its resilience yet again.

Since 2006 shippers, spearheaded by associations that include the National Retail Federation, have been campaigning to get the requirement eliminated on grounds that it is impractical and costly and could trigger foreign government retaliation against cargoes originating from the US. US homeland security secretary Janet Napolitano has pointed out the impracticality of the law and proposed a two-year postponement.

These calls went unheeded in the house, as the homeland security committee on Wednesday approved the Securing Maritime Activities through Risk-based Targeting for Port Security Act, known as the Smart Port Security Act. The Smart Port Security Act reauthorises the Security and Accountability for Every Port Act, known as the Safe Port Act, which became law in 2007.

The Safe Port Act implements the 9/11 Commission’s recommendations, including the contentious provision that all US-bound containers will be scanned at origin from July 2012. A fig leaf in the Safe Port Act allows the homeland security secretary to grant waivers to individual ports, under conditions that are somewhat vague. Last year, a Safe port reauthorisation draft in the Senate proposed a broad waiver of the 100% scanning requirement.

With the clock now ticking to July 1, shippers were particularly anxious to get the house bill to remove the 100% scanning clause permanently.

The homeland security committee passed a version that allows DHS to recognise other countries’ trusted shipper programmes and allows the US Coast Guard to recognise other governments’ port security threat assessments, but stops short of jettisoning the 100% scanning clause.

Republican congresswoman Candice Miller, chair of the subcommittee on border and maritime security, hailed the new bill, saying: “Securing our waterways is an essential component of a layered approach to security.

“This bill enhances risk-based security measures overseas before the threat reaches our shores, emphasising a stronger collaborative environment between customs and border protection and the US Coast Guard in sharing port security duties and leveraging the maritime security work of our trusted allies.”

Comment: Huh!, to whom does this refer? Such a statement flies in the face of its own C-TPAT program and bilateral overtures with foreign ports (supposedly based on risk). Perhaps its time for the ‘trusted allies’ to deport CSI teams who have not necessarily endeared themselves to their respective host nations.

Source: Lloydslist.com

U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano unveiled  the Obama administration’s National Strategy for Global Supply Chain Security at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland yesterday (25 January). The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is committed to facilitating legitimate trade and travel, while preventing terrorists from exploiting supply chains, protecting transportation systems from attacks and disruptions, and increasing the resilience of global supply chains.

The National Strategy for Global Supply Chain Security outlines clear goals to promote the efficient and secure movement of goods and foster a resilient supply chain system. It also provides guidance for the U.S. government and crucial domestic, international, public and private stakeholders who share a common interest in the security and resiliency of the global supply chain. (Why call it a “National” strategy when it impacts the international community?)

DHS works with leaders from global shipping companies and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) on developing preventative measures, including terrorism awareness training for employees and vetting personnel with access to cargo. Fulfilling a requirement of the 9/11 Act, 100 percent of high risk cargo on international flights bound for the United States is screened.

In addition, through the Container Security Initiative currently operational in over 50 foreign seaports in Europe, North, Central and South America, Africa, the Middle East, and throughout Asia, U.S. Customs and Border Protection helps our partner countries identify and screen U.S.-bound maritime containers before they reach the U.S..

Following the release of the National Strategy for Global Supply Chain Security, DHS and the Department of State will lead a six month engagement period with the international community and industry stakeholders to solicit feedback and specific recommendations on how to implement the Strategy in a cost-effective and collaborative manner. You can find the Strategy by clicking here! Also, for a summary of the strategy in presentation format, click here! We wait with bated breath to find out whats going to be new here, besides more onerous reporting requirements!

Source: US Press Secretary and The White House Blog.