Chaff Launch

Monday, July 03, 2006

Port Security

This article tipped me to a very nice study of port security done in California. It's 300 page document and I'm about half way through, so a report will be posted later. It has a couple of nice opposite views of economic damage that might be done by an attack on a large port:
Terrorists believe they can hurt America most by damaging our economy. They may be wrong, contend two contributors to the report. The attack on the World Trade Center failed to provoke a recession. Nor did the natural disaster of Katrina send the U.S. economy into recession. The economy is more resilient than we might suppose.

Other contributors rate the cost of an attack as far higher - especially if a radiological bomb were sneaked into the country and detonated.

“The only reason terrorists would attack a port is the impact on the economy,” said Jon Haveman, a contributing editor and a researcher at the institute. “But if you can reduce the economic damage, the less likely they are to attack.”

Damage would ripple through the country, affecting suppliers, and their employees, who depend on international shipping.

Reducing the economic impact of an attack includes designing responses that quickly would put a port back in business.

Such a strategy may sound callous, as if an attack is accepted as unavoidable, but it is merely realistic. After all, the report is about “balancing” safety and cost.
More later.

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