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Friday, July 22, 2005

Port insecurity

Excellent read from Government Computer News on Port insecurity
“Over 90 percent of the nation’s $5.3 billion annual investment in the Transportation Security Administration goes to aviation,” said the authors of the 9/11 Commission report, warning of investment skewed to “fight the last war. The current efforts do not yet reflect a forward-looking strategic plan systematically analyzing assets, risks, costs and benefits.”

“We think of the individual in very high terms in our [national] psyche, so we look at protecting people,” said John Hensley, former assistant commissioner for enforcement and operations at Customs and Border Protection. Hensley, a vice president at San Diego-based Science Applications International Corp., said many people still think “seaport security is ‘only’ protecting cargo.’’ “

Despite chronic underfunding, local, state and federal authorities are taking steps to manage the risks, with the help of a variety of emerging technologies.

Federal officials say the only practical way to approach port security is to build a layered defense, starting as close to a container’s point of origin as possible and subjecting it to numerous checks as it approaches and then enters the country.

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