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Homeland Security

Washington File

13 June 2003

Homeland Security Department Outlines Approach to Port Security

(Explains overall strategy; measures to boost exiting programs) (2710)
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced new measures
to enhance port and container cargo security. Following is a June 13
fact sheet explaining overall department's port security strategy and
related new initiatives:
(Note: In the fact sheet "billion" equals 1,000 million.)
(begin fact sheet)
Office of the Press Secretary
June 2003 - Fact Sheet
An Overview of Our Strategy.
-- Enhancing our Nation's Security. With 95 percent of our nation's
international cargo carried by ship, port security is critical to
ensuring our Nation's homeland and economic security.
-- Shielding our Maritime Borders and Ports. DHS is implementing an
integrated and collaborative process among international, federal,
state, local and private partners to protect our ports and maritime
infrastructure by gaining the greatest intelligence about the people,
cargo, and vessels operating in our waters and ports.
-- Managing the Threats. Port security threats vary and could come
from different avenues including the crew of a ship, the vessel, or
the cargo itself. Threats are not limited to container ships. Cruise
ships, tankers, bulk cargo ships, ferry boats, small pleasure craft,
port facilities and vital coastal infrastructure are all entities
potentially at risk.
-- Coordinating our Response. Protecting ports, both in the United
States and abroad, demands a comprehensive layered defense approach
incorporating regulations, inspections, information sharing,
vigilance, technology, and presence. By enhancing security at each of
these layers the Department of Homeland Security is now able to screen
and board high risk vessels.
-- Providing Leadership. Immediately after the 9-11 [September 11]
attacks, President Bush directed that port security measures be
enhanced and a comprehensive layered strategy be put into place to
protect and secure the vessels, the cargo and the port facility itself
from possible attack.
New Initiatives and Funding.
Enhancing Container Security - The Container Security Initiative
(CSI). The Container Security Initiative is an existing Department of
Homeland Security program that incorporates side-by-side teamwork with
foreign port authorities. It is designed to identify, target, and
search high-risk cargo. The program has been expanded to strategic
locations beyond the initial 20 major ports to include areas of the
Middle East such as Dubai as well as Turkey and Malaysia.
The top 20 ports account for 68 percent of all cargo containers
arriving at U.S. seaports. Governments representing 19 of these ports
have agreed to implement CSI during the first phase including an
agreement with the government of Thailand for the Port of Laem Chabang
that was signed by Secretary Ridge and Thailand's Foreign Minister on
June 11, 2003. Phase 2 of CSI will enable the Department to extend
port security protection from 68 percent of container traffic to more
than 80 percent -- casting the safety net of CSI far and wide.
-- Supporting DHS Agencies with Resources. The Department of Homeland
Security has provided over $1 billion to fund port security needs this
year alone. Supplemental DHS funds in Fiscal Year 2003 went to:
U.S. Coast Guard    $628 million   Increased port security and
war on terrorism
Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (BICE)
BICE                $170 million   More personnel at maritime
entry points,
                                   US-VISIT system development
Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (BCBP)
BCBP $90 million Port radiation detection and monitoring
                     $35 million   Container Security Initiative
Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
TSA                 $170 million   Port Security Grants
                     $58 million   Operation Safe Commerce
-- Targeting Grants to Key Ports.  The Department of Homeland
Security has provided significant investments in infrastructure
security protective measures, security enhancements, training,
exercises, equipment, planning, and information sharing. Grants
were provided as follows:
                    $170 million   TSA port security grants
                    $75 million    Office for Domestic
                                   Preparedness for port security
                    $58 million    TSA for funding of security
                                   projects in Operation Safe
Implementing the Strategy
The Vessel: Cargo, Crew and Ship
-- International Ship and Port Facility Security Code. Through United
States leadership at the UN's International Maritime Organization, the
majority of countries have now adopted the International Ship and Port
Facility Security Code -- the first multilateral ship and port
security standard ever created. With implementation scheduled for
2004, the code requires all nations to submit port facility and ship
security plans. Result: Port security responsibility is now the shared
responsibility of all nations and shipping authorities.
-- Container Security Initiative. Nineteen of the world's largest
ports work side-by-side with the Department of Homeland Security to
identify, target, and search high-risk cargo. The Container Security
Initiative is fully functional in 40 percent of these high volume
ports with increased implementation daily. Result: Potential suspect
containers are targeted and identified before being loaded onto
-- 24-Hour Advanced Manifest Rule. Every ship bound for the United
States must now provide a detailed cargo list 24 hours before loading.
Failure to meet the 24-hour Advanced Manifest Rule results in a "do
not load" message and other penalties. Result: We have greater
awareness of what is being loaded onto ships bound for the United
-- Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT). Thousands of
commercial importers have taken steps to secure their entire supply
chain. Under the C-TPAT plan participating private industry providing
verifiable security information will receive preferential treatment
during the shipping process. Result: Security enhancements put in
place by private sector shippers allows DHS to devote more of our
resources to suspect activities.
-- 96-Hour Advance Notification of Arrival. The United States requires
all ships to provide 96 hour advance notice of arrival with detailed
crew, passenger, cargo, and voyage history. Information is collected
and disseminated to agencies by DHS's new National Vessel Movement
Center. Advance notice gives security and boarding teams additional
time to determine suspect ships and take action before the ship ever
reaches our shores. Result: We now know far in advance more
information about what is coming to our shores and can take early
action to stop suspect vessels.
-- Mariner Documents. We have increased security screening measures
for documents held by over 100,000 U.S. merchant mariners. Result: We
have carefully screened our mariners, revoked documents if necessary,
and, in concert with unions and shipping authorities, have ensured
that our ships are operated by professional mariners.
-- Offshore Strategic Boardings. We position key assets to conduct
strategic and random boardings of merchant ships miles off our coasts.
Result: Ships with suspect indicators are not immune from our
vigilance and inspections, even hundreds of miles from the U.S.
-- High Interest Vessels. Certain vessels are closely watched based on
their flag state, historical information about the ship, and
intelligence. Information on these ships is shared among federal,
state and local authorities and a coordinated plan for allowing these
ships into port is developed. Result: Working together we are able to
quickly assimilate information and develop and implement a protective
plan to guard against high interest vessels.
-- Integrated Deepwater System. To eliminate potential threats before
they reach our shores, the Coast Guard will replace its aging cutters,
aircraft, and offshore command and control system with a $17 billion
Integrated Deepwater System, its biggest acquisition in history.
Result: Coast Guard forces will have superior capability to be aware
of maritime threats and deploy forces when needed.
The Port: Protecting the Port
-- 2002 Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA). The Maritime
Transportation Security Act of 2002 is designed to protect the
nation's ports and waterways from a terrorist attack, and to equip the
country to respond in the event of such an attack. We have taken
action on many of the provisions of this legislation since it was
signed in November, and this summer we will take another step forward
with the publication of the maritime security regulations. This
landmark legislation requires port security committees, security plans
for privately owned port facilities, and vessel security plans among
its many measures. Result: The MTSA significantly strengthens and
standardizes security measures of our domestic port security team of
federal, state, local, and private authorities.
-- Port Security Committees. Federal, state, local, and private
authorities in major ports work together as a team to maintain and
enhance security. This type of teamwork enables us to rapidly respond
to both general and specific threats. Increased communication,
teamwork and coordination is a great example of the public and private
sectors working together to secure our homeland. Result: The
leadership team, the responders, and the organizations are in-place
and working together to ensure security in our ports.
-- Sea Marshals. An innovative program that places armed Coast Guard
teams on ships to ensure they both arrive safely and depart our ports
safely. Result: Sea marshals are a deterrent, a protector, and an
immediate response force to assure that ships will not be used as
weapons against our infrastructure and citizens.
-- Maritime Safety and Security Teams. We created four specially
trained maritime safety and security teams, or MSSTs, to protect and
shield our most important economic and strategic ports. These Coast
Guard teams operate high speed boats and are trained in special
security and boat tactics. We are training two more teams now and the
President has proposed six more MSSTs in the FY 04 [fiscal year 2004]
budget. Result: The Nation now has dedicated and highly trained forces
whose mission is to protect our domestic ports. They can be moved
around the nation with little notice to protect areas of specific
-- Armed Helicopters. We deployed armed helicopters trained in special
use of force tactics to key port areas around the Nation to be ready
to respond to potential terrorist activity. Result: Our port security
forces can now effectively counter security threats with well
coordinated tactics from the sea, the shore, and the air.
The Port Facility: Security at the Facility and Infrastructure
-- Operation Safe Commerce. Seven million containers are imported to
the United States. annually. "Safe Commerce" is a pilot program that
will analyze current technology to uncover security gaps at all points
in the commerce supply chain and test solutions to plug these gaps at
the ports of Seattle-Tacoma, Los Angeles-Long Beach, and the New
York-New Jersey Port authority. Result: Technology is allowing us to
guarantee the security and integrity of cargo as it moves through the
-- MTSA. MTSA's emphasis on advance security measures and plans deters
threats and provides a strong framework for response and recovery in
the event of an attack. Result: The security of our ports improve
everyday due to the diligence of the men and women who work there.
-- U.S. Automated Targeting System (ATS). Powerful computers analyze
years of shipping data to determine if a container poses a potential
risk. Result: Sophisticated analysis of cargo information sorts high
risk cargo from low risk cargo.
-- Radiation, Chemical, and Biological Screening. Sophisticated
radiation detection portals screen for even slight traces of radiation
and specially trained dogs are utilized to spot suspicious chemicals
in incoming cargo. Result: Radiation screening is available for
designated containers while not interrupting the free flow of
-- Port Vulnerability Assessments. Every aspect of port security is
being thoroughly analyzed and assessed by special teams to ascertain
the strengths and weaknesses of the system. This information will give
us a clear picture of ports where increased security measures or
funding is needed. Result: We must know where our strengths and
weaknesses are, assign resources, and increase security if necessary.
Preliminary assessments have been completed at 47 port areas.
-- Dangerous Cargo Handling. Many of our vital industries depend on
cargoes that must be carefully handled. Port facility inspectors have
plans in place to ensure that these cargoes are kept secure and
handled safely. Result: Vital commodities continue to flow efficiently
and reliably to keep our economy healthy.
"Watching Container Number 3091778"
A fictional container of auto parts (Container Number 78) is being
shipped from a supplier in China through the Port of Hong Kong on its
way to the Port of Los Angeles. The container is being shipped from
the Chinese manufacturer to a large auto parts supplier in Riverside,
Before it leaves:
-- The company responsible for the container's shipment has taken
steps on its own to prevent unauthorized access to the container, by
joining the Department's Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism
(C-TPAT). As a result of the company's supply chain security audit,
they took steps to increase lighting at their shipping facility,
improve fencing and upgrade video surveillance equipment.
-- The shipping company transmits the complete DHS-required manifest
information, 24 hours before the container is loaded on the ship.
-- The DHS Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) analyzes the
manifest information by checking it against a sophisticated Automated
Targeting System (ATS).
-- CBP officers stationed in the Port of Hong Kong (under agreement
with the Government through the Container Security Initiative -- CSI)
review the results of the automated analysis and consult with their
host country counterparts.
-- After the analysis and local review, the shipping company is given
an "OK to load" message.
-- Through Operation Safe Commerce [Department], DHS and DOT
[Department of Transportation] are jointly exploring new innovative
methods and utilizing technology to ensure that no one can gain
unauthorized access to the container at this or at any point in the
journey to its final destination.
The Voyage:
-- Once the vessel is on its way to the Port of Los Angeles, CBP
transmits the manifest information to the Coast Guard and TSA.
-- No later than 96 hours before entering the United States, the
vessel operator sends an electronic message to the Coast Guard,
identifying the ship and all crew members on board.
-- The Coast Guard uses the cargo manifest information along with the
information about the crew and the vessel itself to determine whether
or not the vessel should be considered a high threat vessel. If
necessary, a large cutter could intercept the ship hundreds of miles
-- Though the cargo in container number 3091778 is deemed low risk,
the Coast Guard finds serious questions about several members of the
crew and orders a boarding party to meet and board the vessel before
it enters Long Beach harbor.
-- As the vessel approaches the California coast, it is acquired on
radar by the joint Coast Guard/Marine Industry-operated Vessel Traffic
Service (VTS). The VTS alerts the local Coast Guard office, and an
armed boarding party, consisting of specially trained members of the
Coast Guard-Sea Marshals, and CBP, board the vessel outside the port
and interview the captain and crew.
-- Satisfied that the vessel and the crew are a low threat, they allow
the vessel to proceed to its berth for unloading, but maintain a
vigilant presence in key areas on the ship during its transit. If
there was continued suspicion about the ship, it might have been held
outside the harbor at anchor.
Docked at a U.S. port:
-- The vessel is met by members of the CBP Contraband Enforcement Team
(CET), who with a copy of the manifest in hand, verify that only those
containers expected to be offloaded are in fact, all that are
-- Despite its low risk status, container number 3091778 is selected
for a non-intrusive screening. Inspectors noted that the container was
stowed on the ship in an area with ready access by crew members. The
seal on the container door appeared to have been scratched by a sharp
-- As the cargo is being unloaded, a Coast Guard port state control
team arrives to examine the vessel and ensure it complies with safety
requirements set by the International Maritime Organization. Results
of the examination, including the details of any deficiencies, will be
entered into data bases documenting its record.
-- While awaiting further screening, the container is observed by new
video surveillance equipment purchased with a federal port security
grant. New fencing and lighting in the container yard, also purchased
with federal grant money, prevents unauthorized persons from gaining
access to the terminal facility and the container.
-- Within hours of being offloaded, container number 3091778 is
screened by a non-intrusive full-truck gamma ray system. Inspectors
note that the contents appear to be automobile parts, which matches
the document description.
-- Container number 3091778 is released to be picked up for
transportation to the importer's premises.
-- Container number 3091778 arrives at its destination in Riverside,
California with its cargo intact.
(end fact sheet)
(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

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