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Homeland Security

Prepared Witness Testimony
The Committee on Energy and Commerce
W.J. "Billy" Tauzin, Chairman

Port Security: A Review of the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection's Targeting and Inspection Program for Sea Cargo
Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations
December 16, 2003
1:00 PM
Delaware River Port Authority, One Port Center, 11th Floor Board Room, 2 Riverside Drive, Camden, New Jersey

Mr. Charles Bartoldus
Director, National Targeting Center
Bureau of Customs and Border Protection Department of Homeland Security
1300 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Washington, DC, 20229

Good afternoon Chairman Greenwood, members of the Subcommittee. Thank you for this opportunity to testify, and update you on the advancements U.S. Customs and Border Protection continues to make in the areas of targeting and inspecting sea cargo.

People, technology, automation, electronic information and partnerships are critical concepts that facilitate the progress we have, and will continue to make with regards to securing the nation's seaports and the cargo that traverses them. These concepts help the Department of Homeland Security expand our borders and reinforce the components of the Department's layered defense. Although these layers are closely interwoven and no one layer more important than the others, I would like to focus on those CBP layers most closely associated with the targeting and inspection of sea cargo.

  • The National Targeting Center (NTC) - A single location for targeting technology and subject matter expertise;
  • The Automated Targeting System (ATS) - The premier tool employed by CBP personnel to identify high-risk targets in the ocean, as well as other cargo environments;
  • The Container Security Initiative (CSI) - A means of pushing our borders outward by screening cargo overseas and working jointly with host nation customs agencies on exams prior to lading U.S. bound cargo;
  • The Customs - Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) - A vehicle for securing global supply chains and the development of smart and secure containers;
  • And Non-Intrusive Inspection Technology - Advanced inspection equipment to screen shipments rapidly for WMD, nuclear or radiological materials, terrorist weapons, and other contraband.


An adversary may circumvent any single defense, so CBP does not rely on any one enforcement strategy, facilitation program, inspection process, or technology. CBP employs these "layers" in combination to substantially increase the likelihood that weapons of terror will be detected.


The National Targeting Center (NTC) has made significant progress since it initiated round-the-clock operations on November 10, 2001 and began the task of re-orienting narcotics based targeting methods and technologies for anti-terrorist and national security concerns. By January of 2003, the NTC staff relocated to a state of the art facility in Northern Virginia that accommodates representatives from all CBP legacy disciplines, agriculture, customs, and immigration, as well as personnel from the Office of Border Patrol and the Office of Intelligence.

Broadening the scope of CBP targeting, NTC has established a direct liaison with the U.S. Coast Guard and an indirect liaison with the Office of Naval Intelligence in an exchange of personnel with the National Marine Intelligence Center. The Transportation Security Administration has assigned, and the Department of Energy has designated liaison staff to the NTC. The NTC provides targeting expertise to the Department of Homeland Security Operations Center to support the timely and accurate flow of information pertaining to national security and terrorist activity.

Most recently, the Food and Drug Administration is establishing a Prior Notice Center at the NTC that will work with CBP in targeting high-risk shipments under the Bio-Terrorism Act.


The ATS is a flexible, constantly evolving system that integrates enforcement and commercial databases. It is a targeting tool that helps CBP focus its inspection efforts on high-risk cargo. ATS analyzes electronic data related to individual shipments prior to arrival and ranks them in order of risk based on the application of algorithms and rules. The scores are divided into thresholds associated with further action by CBP such as document review and inspection.

CBP works constantly to enhance and refine the ATS. The November 21, 2003 deployment of the ATS Findings Module is an important milestone in this effort. The Findings Module is available to CBP personnel at both domestic and CSI locations. This module improves the capability to record examination activities and results and apply them back to ATS targeting techniques.

The industry data that feeds the ATS is substantial. The 24 Hour Manifest Rule that requires detailed and accurate information for all shipments destined for the U.S. 24 hours prior to lading on the vessel overseas is key to CBP's targeting success in the sea environment. The 24 Hour Manifest Rule and the monitoring by the NTC of the information transmitted is providing timely, better quality data which allows earlier detection. The scope and reliability of this data is reinforced by the publication of the Trade Act Final Rule on December 5, 2003 that mandates advance electronic cargo information inbound and outbound for all modes of transportation.

Although advance manifest data is a major component of what is analyzed, ATS also sorts through intelligence and data contained in government law enforcement and trade databases. The ATS is able to access and analyze entry data when it is available. Entry data is some of the most detailed and accurate information available for targeting. CBP will continue to look for ways to improve the quality of the data that feeds the ATS; however, it should be noted that the ATS can detect anomalies in both accurate and inaccurate data.


The Container Security Initiative (CSI) came into being as a direct result of the events of 9-11. CSI is another layer in CBP's defense, the purpose of which is to push our nation's borders outward. Nineteen of the twenty ports shipping the greatest volume of containers to the United States have committed to join CSI. These original 20 ports are points of passage for approximately two-thirds of the containers shipped to the U.S. Primary benefits of greater security will result from:

  • Establishing security criteria for identifying high-risk containers based on advance information,
  • Pre-screening containers at the earliest possible point; and
  • Using technology to quickly pre-screen high-risk containers;
  • And developing tamper-evident containers.

CSI also uses both automation (the ATS) and advanced inspection technology as force multipliers. For example, CSI has requisitioned 150 Personal Radiation Devices (PRD's), three per CSI port to be deployed as CSI locations become operational. Additionally, CSI has requisitioned 33 Radio-Isotope Identifier Devices (RIID's) for deployment to operational CSI ports with host country approval.


The Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) also came into being as a result of events of September 11th. CBP began to work with the trade to devise a strategy to protect the global trading network or supply chain. Some of the basic tenets of C-TPAT are:

  • Strengthening and enhancing supply chain security - C-TPAT partners CBP with the trade community to strengthen our borders while facilitating the legitimate flow of persons, cargo and conveyances;
  • Developing a seamless, security conscious environment throughout the entire commercial process;
  • Providing a forum in which the business community and CBP can exchange ideas, concepts and information that are increasing the security of the entire commercial process from manufacturing through transportation and importation, to ultimate distribution;
  • Engaging a number of trade associations and international organizations in developing unique industry wide global security standards for specific sectors that will enhance security, not only locally, but globally as well.

Participation in C-TPAT has grown, almost exponentially. In the first year,

C-TPAT enrolled 1000 members. Currently there are over 4500 participants or partners.

C-TPAT is now moving to the next level, not only in terms of protecting America and the global supply chain, but also in terms of making the movement of commerce across our borders more efficient, even more efficient than it was before 9-11. One thing we are doing to make this happen is making sure that our C-TPAT partners are honoring their commitments.

Members of C-TPAT submitted information telling CBP of the measures they are taking or have taken to secure their supply chains. We are now sending CBP teams of C-TPAT Supply Chain Specialists all over the globe to visit them, their vendors and their plants to verify that these steps have been taken.

Supply chain security is inextricably linked to the Department's cargo security initiatives. Secure containers will be essential to achieving comprehensive supply chain security. A terrorist must not be able to open a container in transit, introduce a bomb or weapon of mass destruction, and undo the efforts of the government and trade community.

CBP takes a multi-layered approach to container security:

  • CBP supports ISO standards for the use of high security mechanical seals, specifically ISO /PAS 17712 for the use on containerized cargo.
  • In order to be deemed "tamper evident", alternatives to the door handle locking mechanism shall be incorporated into the sealing process. This change, coupled with standardized seals and container security devices designed to detect evidence of tampering, is designed to strengthen the integrity of containerized cargo throughout the importation process.
  • CBP is working with other agencies internal and external to the Department of Homeland Security to ensure that our initiatives are consistent with those currently under development elsewhere within DHS. For example, CBP and the Department of Transportation co-chair the executive steering committee for Operation Safe Commerce (OSC) - a $58 million dollar effort coordinated with the U.S. Coast Guard, the Transportation Security Administration, and major container load centers such as the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, to examine various technology and business practices with an eye towards increasing end-to-end supply chain security.

The goal is for these efforts is to culminate in a smart and secure container that prevents and deters tampering, alerts government and trade when tampering does occur, and is inexpensive.

Non-Intrusive Inspection and Radiation Detection Technologies

Non-Intrusive Inspection Technology (NII) is another cornerstone in our layered strategy. Technologies deployed to our nation's sea, air, and land border ports of entry include large-scale X-ray and gamma-imaging systems as well as a variety of portable and hand-held technologies to include our recent focus on radiation technology.

NII technologies are viewed as force multipliers that enable us to screen or examine a larger portion of the stream of commercial traffic while facilitating the flow of legitimate trade, cargo, and passengers.

Today, CBP has 137 large-scale NII systems deployed to our nation's air, land, and sea ports of entry. The systems include the Vehicle and Cargo Inspection System (VACIS), Mobile VACIS, Truck X-ray, Mobile Truck X-ray, Rail VACIS, Mobile Sea Container Examination Systems, and the Pallet Gamma-ray system. 51 of these large-scale systems are deployed to seaports on both coasts and the Caribbean.

CBP is also moving quickly to deploy nuclear and radiological detection equipment, including Personal Radiation Detectors (PRD's), Radiation Portal Monitors (RPM's) and Radiation Isotope Identifiers (RIID's) to our ports of entry.

CBP is also initiating the deployment of RPM's in the maritime environment with the ultimate goal of screening 100% of all containerized imported cargo for radiation. A variety of configurations have been developed and CBP is working with stakeholders to ensure that radiation screening does not significantly impact operations within a port.

Additionally, CBP has 8,951 PRD's deployed at ports of entry with an additional 1,973 on order. A total of 319 RIID's have also been deployed CBP-wide.

Used in combination with our layered enforcement strategy, these tools provide CBP with a significant capacity to detect nuclear or radiological materials.


CBP's targeting and inspection programs depend on each other to operate at full potential, and we are constantly looking for ways to make them stronger. Thank you again, Chairman Greenwood, and the members of the Subcommittee for this opportunity to testify. I would be happy to answer any questions you may have.



Protecting The Public: Security, Inspection, and Targeting of Vessel Containers At U.S. Seaports Can Be Improved, OIG-03-074, March 28, 2003

Protecting The Public: Security, Inspection, and Targeting of Vessel Containers At the Ports of New York And Newark Can Be Improved, OIG-03-066, March 20, 2003

Protecting The Public: Security, Inspection, and Targeting of Vessel Containers At the Port of Charleston Can Be Improved, OIG-03-063, February 28, 2003

Protecting The Public: Targeting, Inspection, and Security Of Vessel Containers At the Port of Philadelphia Can Be Improved, OIG-03-060, February 21, 2003

Protecting The Public: Security, Inspection, and Targeting of Vessel Containers At the Port of Los Angeles Can Be Improved, OIG-03-041, December 26, 2002

Narcotics Interdiction: Customs' Drug Interdiction Efforts For Vessel Containers At Port Everglades Need Improvement, OIG-02-092, May 23, 2002

The Committee on Energy and Commerce
2125 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225-2927


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