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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Terrorists, WMD and the "Global Supply Chain," Oh My!

Found at the Council of Foreign Relations is The Limitations of the Current U.S. Government Efforts to Secure the Global Supply Chain against Terrorists Smuggling a WMD and a Proposed Way Forward - Council on Foreign Relations, with some interesting words that carry the argument beyond the port issue:
In short the stakes are enormous. But there are four factors associated with the scenario that I just laid out that usefully informs the focus of this hearing. First, the threat is not so much tied to seaports and U.S. borders as it is global supply chains that now largely operate on an honor system because the standards are so nominal. Second, no transportation provider, port operator, or border inspector really know what are in the containers that pass through their facilities and the radiation portal technology currently being deployed at U.S. borders and as a part of the Second Line of Defense and Megaports programs can be evaded by placing light shielding around a weapon. Third, private companies must be a part of the solution since they have huge investments at stakes. Fourth, the scenario I just laid out involved Vancouver as the offload port in North America, highlighting that the challenge of securing global supply chains can involve both port security and border security measures simultaneously.
I believe that we are living on borrowed time when it comes to facing some variation of the scenario I have just laid out. This is because both the opportunity for terrorists to target legitimate global supply chains remain plentiful and the motivation for doing so is only growing as jihadis gravitate towards economic disruption as a major tactic in their war with the United States and the West. Let me elaborate on this latter point.
And the author, Stephen E. Flynn, does just that with thoughts such as this one :
Against this strategic backdrop, I believe there remains too little appreciation within the U.S. government that global supply chains and the intermodal transportation system that supports them remains a very vulnerable critical infrastructure to mass disruption. Instead, U.S. border agencies and the national security community have been looking at supply chains as one of a menu of smuggling venues.
Amen, Brother, tell it!

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