DHS: Progress and priorities, I

percent at the northern border are scanned for radiation, and more than 98 percent are scanned at our seaports. Three years ago, only 22 percent of incoming seaborne containerized cargo was being scanned for radiological and nuclear threats.

  • Ports, waterways, and coastal security: Under Operation Neptune Shield, the U.S. Coast Guard escorts vessels carrying especially hazardous cargo, protecting them — and nearby population centers and infrastructure — from external attack.  In 2007 alone, the Coast Guard escorted over 1,100 vessels/barges carrying such hazardous cargoes.
  • Increased narcotics seizures: The U.S. Coast Guard removed more than 355,000 pounds of cocaine at sea in fiscal 2007 — a record-breaking 160 metric tons — worth an estimated street value of more than $4.7 billion. CBP frontline personnel seized more than 3.2 million pounds of narcotics at and between ports of entry. In fiscal 2007 alone, ICE seized 241,967 pounds of cocaine, 4,331 pounds of heroin, 2,731 pounds of methamphetamine and 1.3 million pounds of marijuana.  Additionally, ICE drug investigations led to 8,920 arrests and 5,539 convictions of individuals associated with narcotic violations.
  • Stemming the flow of weapons, cash, and counterfeit goods: ICE’s Shield America program has achieved new successes in intercepting illegal exports of weapons, military equipment and sensitive technology, significantly increasing results with 188 arrests and 127 convictions in fiscal 2007. A new ICE initiative targeting unlicensed money services businesses that illegally transfer funds yielded 39 arrests, 30 convictions and seizures of more than $7.9 million. 
  • Reducing risk from small vessels: The U.S. Coast Guard has worked with small boat manufacturers, industry groups and the public to identify mitigation strategies to address the security risks posed by small vessels. The Coast Guard’s 12 Maritime Safety and Security Teams, part of a 3,000 person Deployable Operations Group, are stationed at strategic ports nationwide and are uniquely trained to counter the small vessel threat. The Coast Guard and DNDO are collaborating with local authorities on a pilot program in Puget Sound and San Diego waterways on small vessel radiation detection.
  • BioWatch: Through aerosol collectors deployed by the Office of Health Affairs in more than thirty jurisdictions across the nation, the BioWatch program provides critical early detection capability of dangerous biological pathogens. In the event of a widespread aerosolized anthrax attack, or other form of a weaponized biological agent, early detection and rapid distribution of life-saving medical countermeasures will be critical to saving countless lives. A next-generation BioWatch capability that could reduce detection time from up to 34 hours down to 4 to 6 hours is currently under development in partnership with the Science & Technology Directorate.  Enhanced capabilities will continue to ensure rapid and reliable detection of the presence of dangerous biological agents.
  • Tomorrow: Progress and proirities in protecting critical infrastructure, developing a more effective emergency response, and strengthening and unifying operations and management.