• Task force releases Secure Communities report amid internal discord

    Last week, a government task force created to offer recommendations on how to fix the controversial Secure Communities immigration program released its findings to a chorus of internal disagreement; the committee recommended that DHS restart Secure Communities and “reintroduce” the program due to its unpopularity among immigration advocates, local residents, as well as state and local officials; as an act of protest, five of the nineteen committee members resigned because they did not agree with the report’s conclusions

  • TSA finalizes air cargo screening mandate

    The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced on Tuesday that it had implemented the final part of the 9/11 Commission’s requirement for air cargo screening; under Tuesday’s finalized rule, air cargo companies may apply to become a Certified Cargo Screening Facility (CCSF) — CCSFs carry out a TSA-approved security program offsite and transport it to the airport securely without the need for rescreening

  • ASIS Conference: Securing the global supply chain

    At the upcoming annual ASIS International security conference, attendees will have the opportunity to learn more about protecting the global supply chain at one of the many educational sessions; officials fear that a terrorist attack on a seaport could cripple a local economy and have global repercussions. As nearly 90 percent of the world’s goods are still shipped via containers on massive transport ships

  • U.S. no longer mandating 100 percent screening of cargo containers

    DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano announced that the United States is no longer going to screen every cargo container before it enters the United States; she said, “We believe the so-called 100 percent requirement is probably not the best way to go”; in 2007 Congress mandated that all containers entering the United States must be scanned at their ports of exit by 2012; the 2007 bill empowers DHS to extend the 2012 deadline if the agency believed that the goal was not achievable and in the past Napolitano has expressed doubts about the feasibility of screening 100 percent of the cargo entering the United States

  • Milwaukee studying Israel's homeland security practices

    This week, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clark along with about a dozen other police chiefs and county sheriffs are visiting Israel to study the country’s homeland security tactics; American law enforcement officials will learn more about Israeli practices in airport security, intelligence analysis and sharing, mass casualty management, and bomb disposal practices; the trip began on 10 April and will conclude on 16 April

  • Monitoring Mexican trucks operating in the U.S.

    The U.S. plan to equip Mexican trucks with electronic recorders for driver logs would be a limited, temporary program undertaken because it is the only way the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FCMSA) can ensure that the Mexican trucks will be monitored, the U.S. government says; under (NAFTA), the United States cannot require Mexican carriers to do anything that U.S. carriers are not required to do, but the government still must provide a way to monitor Mexican carriers for compliance with both the hours of service rules and the cabotage rules that restrict freight hauling between points in the United States

  • Air cargo screening lagging

    The Government Accountability Office says the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is still contending with issues reported last June that could affect the agency’s ability to meet an end-of-year deadline for screening all international cargo on passenger aircraft

  • ICE dive unit targets drug smuggling containers

    The intense law enforcement focus on drug trafficking through Mexico could push some cocaine smuggling operations to U.S. coasts and ports; in an effort to prevent another era of “cocaine cowboys” in Miami, circa the 1980s, U.S. officials are not leaving the security of ports and international maritime shipments to chance; “If you cut off one way for drugs to get in, they will find another way,” one ICE agent said

  • Revamping inbound mail security

    After an explosive printer cartridge was found last year en route to the United States in UPS and FedEx shipments, DHS and industry are now collaborating to establish “precautionary” security measures and improve the flow of parcels and packages

  • TSA brings 100% cargo screening forward to 2011

    The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has brought forward its 100 per cent cargo screening target to 31 December 2011; the earliest possible implementation date for 100 per cent screening was initially thought to be 2013, given the complex challenges associated with screening international inbound cargo carried on passenger aircraft; now 100 per cent of the cargo that is uplifted on passenger aircraft bound for the United States must be screened by the end of this year

  • Coping with tough air-cargo inspection requirements

    It has been four months since TSA began to implement the 100 percent air cargo screening requirement; two industries in particular faced added difficulties: agriculture, which relies on air transport to ship highly perishable, high value-added crops such as cherries, strawberries, asparagus, and more to overseas markets; and the art world: even the faint possibility of an airline inspector with a screwdriver uncrating a Calder sculpture or an early Renaissance tempera painting is enough to keep many in the art world awake at night

  • Overflights over U.S. are not top-priority security concern

    Terrorists who are trying to exploit cargo planes to launch an attack on the United States may find a security weakness in screening of cargo planes flying over, though not into, the United States; planes that go over the United States but are not supposed to land here are not routinely screened according to U.S. standards; U.S. officials say terrorist networks are trying to exploit cargo planes because it is so much harder to get operatives onto U.S. flights with weapons or explosives; security experts say targeting overflights for protection is a waste of scarce resources; a former TSA intelligence official said that part of the reason behind the lesser concern with overflights is that the “vast majority” of overflights originate in Canada, and the Canadians know how to screen; it is “not some Third World country,” according to the official

  • Congress to decide risk-based vs. 100% screening debate on air cargo security

    One of the many aviation security-related issues Congress will have to grapple with is cargo security; TSA argues that risk-based strategies are adequate; Congress, though, is pressing for 100 percent screening of air cargo; the problem with a 100 percent security screening mandate is cost: the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates a $250 million cost in the first year and $650 million per year for the following five years to implement the mandate for 100 percent baggage screening on passenger aircraft; the Congressional Research Service (CRS) estimates that the mandate could cost more than $700 million just in the first year and perhaps as high as several billion dollars annually

  • Securing rails: doable, if complicated, endeavor

    For a long time, the primary concern when it came to rail security was people wanting to steal a freight train’s contents, shoot the crew or rob the passengers; the U.S. post-9/11 focus on security, however, is shining a new spotlight on other hazards surrounding railroads; the desire to protect the railroads, their employees, and passengers must be balanced by what can really be done given that rail is used to move large numbers of people and large quantities of goods; railroad security — whether for passenger rails, commuter lines, or freight trains — is thus a complicated endeavor

  • Port of L.A. heist raises questions about port security

    The Los Angeles-Long Beach port complex uses the latest — together with the simplest — technology in trying to prevent weapons of mass destruction from being smuggled through the port. Among these means used: a $3 million high-tech screening ship, a radiation-detecting helicopter and a badge-carrying black Labrador retriever that can sniff out chemical and biological weapons; all these security measures, and more, could not prevent an old-fashion heist of cargo containers from the port; the damage to the companies involved aside, the ease with which garden variety robbers could enter the port, over-power security guards, and leave with three large trailers raises questions about what more sophisticated terrorist might be able to do