Container Security

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Status Brief


Developmental Milestones/Developments to Date:

Current Assessment/State of the Field:




Fiorill, Joe, “U.S. Promises New WMD Detection Capabilities Within a YearGlobal Security Newswire. February 23, 2004 [] Last Checked October 6, 2013

  1. “WASHINGTON — The United States will over the next year develop new capabilities for detecting nuclear material in shipping containers and a new generation of biological- and chemical-agent detectors, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said today.”
  2. “They included greater cooperation with business; better interoperability of communications and other emergency management equipment; better citizen preparedness; and a more standardized, integrated picture of the terrorist threat and of the level of vulnerability to attack around the country.”
  3. “”Over the year,” he said, “Homeland Security will be buttoning up our lab coats a little higher and committing to specific goals ― developing new capabilities for detecting the presence of nuclear materials in shipping containers and vehicles and developing next-generation biological and chemical detectors, ones uniquely sensitive enough to redirect air flow to allow evacuation of buildings if a dangerous pathogen is detected.””
  4. “Ridge predicted “real-time nationwide connectivity between all 50 states and territories” within the year, including “cyberconnectivity” within three months; a secure videoconferencing network in all governors’ offices by July; an integrated national database of critical infrastructure by December; and the expansion of the Container Security Initiative, which currently provides increased scrutiny of shipping containers at 17 foreign ports, to 10 more such ports within the next 12 months.”
  5. “Ridge named the WMD detection programs as his top priorities for the department’s Science and Technology Directorate.”

Container Security, WMD, CSI, Homeland Security


Scrivo, Karen, L, “GAO Evaluates Programs Targeting Cargo OverseasGlobal Security Newswire. March 12, 2004. Last Checked October 12, 2013.

  1. “WASHINGTON — Spurred by the security concerns of a bipartisan group of lawmakers, the GAO has launched an investigation into the effectiveness of two Bush administration initiatives aimed at targeting suspicious overseas cargo before it reaches U.S. ports.”
  2. “The investigation comes as the Homeland Security Department is asking Congress to approve a $25 million increase for the Container Security Initiative, which is designed to screen U.S.-bound cargo in foreign ports, and $15.2 million more for the Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism program, which seeks to help importers and ocean freight companies improve security.”
  3. “Several lawmakers, including Senate Governmental Affairs Chairwoman Susan Collins and Governmental Affairs Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) have told the GAO they are concerned that the programs may not be doing enough to block terrorists from sneaking nuclear or bio-chemical weapons and other dangerous materials aboard ships bound for busy U.S. ports.”
  4. “The delegation discovered a low percentage of containers were actually inspected, according to one participant on the trip. At Hamburg, U.S. Customs personnel were miles away from the port and their foreign counterparts. Because the CSI program is voluntary, foreign port inspectors can refuse requests by Customs officials for further scrutiny of suspicious freight containers, this source said.”
  5. “Under the CSI program, officers from the Homeland Security Department’s Customs and Border Protection Bureau work with their foreign counterparts at participating ports overseas to target high-risk cargo containers.”
  6. “Since CSI has been operational — not many containers have been checked, according to Stephen Flynn, an expert on transportation security at the Council on Foreign Relations. This is due in part to the department’s limited resources, the program’s dependence on the host country’s friendliness and concerns about “crying wolf” too often, he said.”
  7. “Decisions to inspect containers are often based on the cargo manifests, whether the container comes from troubled parts of the word or an unknown shipper or is accompanied by bungled paperwork, Flynn said. Cargo manifests can be very unreliable and terrorists know who the trusted shippers are, he said.”

Container Security, CSI, WMD


Fiorill, Joe, “Democrats Seek Deadline for Port Radiation MonitorsGlobal Security Newswire. Last checked October 13, 2013

  1. “WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) yesterday introduced a bill that would require the Homeland Security Department within 16 months to deploy portal-style radiation detectors in all U.S. ports.”
  2. ““Ports are a prime target for terrorist attack,” said the full committee’s top Democrat, Jim Turner (D-Texas), “and yet, this administration has not done all it can to protect thousands of miles of coastline and millions of cargo containers entering this country each year. We must move faster to protect our communities and the global economy from the impact of an attack at a U.S. port.””
  3. “The bill, called the Secure Containers from Overseas and Seaports from Terrorism Act (Secure COAST Act), would require Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection Bureau by Sept. 30, 2005, to “deploy radiation-detection portal equipment at all U.S. seaports, other U.S. ports of entry and major facilities as determined by the secretary” of homeland security. It would authorize $297 million in fiscal 2005 for that work.”
  4. ““In order to facilitate the detection of nuclear weapons in maritime cargo containers,” Customs and Border Protection would also be required to develop a plan for bringing gamma ray-based radiation-detection portals to U.S. ports and to foreign ports participating in the Container Security Initiative, in which U.S. and foreign governments cooperate to screen U.S.-bound shipments. The plan would be due to congressional committees 180 days after enactment of the Secure COAST Act.”
  5. “Besides the radiation-detection provisions, Sanchez’s bill would require Homeland Security to establish standards and a verification process for cargo-container security, authorize a port-security grant program that would total more than $500 million in fiscal 2005, compel the department to deploy a program to track long-range vessels and create a “maritime information-sharing analysis center.””
  6. “The bill would speed the Coast Guard’s massive Deepwater acquisition program to acquire ships and other equipment, shortening the schedule from 22 to 10 years. The measure would also fund an automatic vessel-identification program for the Coast Guard and beef up the force from 39,000 to 50,000 members.”
  7. ““Port security, as we’ve said for some time, has been drastically underfunded,” said association spokeswoman Maureen Ellis.”

Container Security, CSI


Editors, “OECD Urges Tighter Container SecurityGlobal Security Newswire. June 14, 2004. Last Checked October 6, 2013

  1. “A comprehensive international strategy for container security is needed to keep terrorists from tampering with cargo or setting up their own trade identities to ship dangerous materials, according to a report released last month by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.”
  2. ““Although elements of such a framework are emerging in different countries, regions and segments of global industries, a fully integrated approach has not been implemented anywhere in the world yet,” the report says, according to the CalTrade Report.”
  3. “The weakest link in the transportation chain is container security during inland transport, according to the report, Container Transport Security Across Modes.”
  4. “The report also concludes that the threat of weapons of mass destruction being delivered through an anonymous shipping container “has risen above other terrorist-linked threats to containerized transport and has become a principal driver of international transport security policy since 2001.””
  5. “The report focuses on two particular terrorist attack scenarios: a hijacking in which terrorists intercept and tamper with a delivery; and a “Trojan horse” situation in which terrorists adopt false identities in order to move dangerous shipments.”
  6. “The organization recommends establishing “clear container handling rules; increasing security at rail yards, road stops and loading facilities; sealing containers with high-security mechanical seals; and other measures to minimize security risks.”

Container Security, WMD


Dahlman, Ola, et al,”Container Security: A Proposal for a Comprehensive Code of ConductNational Defense University Center for Technology and National Security Policy. January 2005. Last Checked March 25, 2013

  1. “Approximately 95 percent of the world’s trade moves by containers, primarily on large ships, but also on trains, trucks, and barges. The system is efficient and economical, but vulnerable.”
  2. “However, the rise of terrorism and the possibility that a container could be used to transport or actually be the delivery vehicle for weapons of mass destruction (WMD) or high explosives have made it imperative that the security of the shipping container system be greatly improved.”
  3. “These include bilateral agreements involved in the Container Security Initiative (CSI) and the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI). These measures are useful, but shipping containers remain vulnerable.”
  4. “Containers are strong and their contents can be both large and heavy. Virtually any existing assembled nuclear weapon could be placed inside a container, together with shielding material to make detection difficult.”
  5. “Up to 30,000 kilos of conventional high explosives could be contained in a 40-foot container.”
  6. “The cost to New York City of the 9/11 attacks has been estimated to be at least $83 billion.”
  7. “Container seals today are not difficult to remove and can be reproduced or forged. Time permitting, seals could be circumvented by lifting off container doors or entering the container through holes that are cut out and welded back together afterwards.”
  8. “The Container Security Initiative (CSI) is a set of measures designed to move the process of container screening toward the beginning of the supply chain. It includes increased efforts to prescreen containers more effectively, to make sure that containers are more secure in transit, and to have technology in place at the port of overseas departure for inspection of high-risk containers.”
  9. “Nuclear material, especially material that might be part of a nuclear weapon or is intended to be used to produce a nuclear weapon, is of special concern. Radioactive materials give off neutrons, gamma rays and heat, which, in principle, allows them to be detected.”
  10. “An agreement on container security should significantly reduce the security risks in container traffic while facilitating fair and efficient global trade.”

Container Security, Nuclear, Radiological Surveillance


Editors,”U.S. Customs Chief Expresses Concern About Terrorist Nuclear ThreatGlobal Security Newswire. January 12, 2005. Last Checked October 6, 2013

  1. “Al-Qaeda could acquire a nuclear device and transport it to the United States, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Robert Bonner warned yesterday.”
  2. ““I worry most about the nuclear threat,” said Bonner. “Al-Qaeda wants to get a nuclear device. I’m very concerned that at some point they will get it.””
  3. “He added, however, that more sophisticated systems for detection of weapons of mass destruction have been installed in several overseas ports. Some 34 countries are cooperating with the United States on the Container Security Initiative and another 50 were expected to join the program this year, he said.”

Container Security, CSI, Nuclear


CBP Media Services, “Container Security Initiative 2006-2011 Strategic Plan“, CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION, August 2006:

  1. primary system of global trade = containerized shipping, protected from terrorists
  2. pre-screen containers posing a potential threat before leaving foreign ports for US
  3. began in January 2002
  4. Goals: identify high risk containers through intelligence, prescreen and evaluate containers before shipped, use X-ray, Gamma ray, and radiation detection devices to prescreen, and use more secure containers to identify containers tampered with
  5. 44 ports worldwide use CSI as of August 2006
  6. “The World Customs Organization, the EU, and the G8 support CSI expansion and have adopted resolutions to introduce and implement security measures and non-intrusive inspection standards similar to CSI at ports throughout the world.”
  7. part of CBP’s mission to “prevent terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering the US” through maritime containers
  8. “Examinations of cargo or persons do not require search warrants, probable cause, or particularized suspicion” * hope to have around 70 ports use CSI by 2010

Homeland Security, Export Control, Law Enforcement, CBP, Interdiction, Container Security, CSI


V. Valkovic´a, et al,”Fast neutron inspection of sea containers for the presence of ‘‘dirty bomb’’” Science Direct. April 21, 2007. Last checked February 27, 2013

  1. “The risk of nuclear terrorism carried out by terrorist groups should be considered not only in construction and/or use of nuclear devices, but also in possible radioactive contamination of large urban areas.”
  2. “The RDD could then be placed in or near a target facility and detonated, spreading the radiological material through the force of the explosion and in the smoke of any resulting fires.”
  3. “Probably the best way to move these materials around the globe is by using sea containers. This is because a container offers criminals the same benefits as those enjoyed by ocean carriers and shippers: efficiency and security.”
  4. “In addition, every day over 15 millions of containers are being moved over the seas or on land, or standing in yards waiting to be delivered.”
  5. “At the moment, inspectors examine less than 10% of containers and often only after containers have already traveled hundreds of miles.”
  6. “A straightforward application of the proposed approach is the coupling of the inspection by tagged neutron beams to a commercial imaging device based on either X-ray or gamma ray radiography that performs a fast scan of the container, identifies a ‘‘suspect’’ region and provides coordinates of the suspicious object to the neutron based device for the final ‘‘confirmatory’’ inspection.”
  7. “In order to investigate different scenarios of illicit trafficking of explosive and radioactive materials, the experimental setup with a 3 m long section of the real container has been installed in the neutron laboratory.”
  8. “The evaluation of the performance of the proposed two sensor instrumental portal has shown that simultaneous presence of both explosive and fissile material, hidden inside the container, could be detected.”
  9. “The detection of the explosive within a suspicious volume element inside the container is performed by gamma detection produced by the tagged neutron bombardment of the volume element.”

Container Security, Nuclear, Biosecurity, Radiological Surveillance


Container Security Initiative (CSI), GLOBALSECURITY.ORG, 2007:

  1. cargo containers in our ports are potentially threats to security as they can hold nuclear weapons that can be detonated
  2. “terror in a box”
  3. Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) -“shippers commit to improving the security of their cargo shipments, and in return, they receive a range of benefits from our government” -however, shippers who have promised to take security measures don’t usually get cargo searched and it is not determined whether they actually carried out the security measures.
  4. CSI screens containers that pose a risk before they depart for US ports of entry by using intelligence information -screening process done by CBP (Customs & Border Patrol) officials
  5. US has a reciprocal program with other nations who send their officials to the US to oversee that cargo going to their home country is secure
  6. CBP has bilateral agreements shares info with CSI participants globally

Homeland Security, Nonproliferation, Export Control, CBP, Container Security, CSI


Basham, Ralph W.,”Remarks by CBP Commissioner W. Ralph Basham on Container Security at the Center for Strategic and International StudiesCBP.Gov. July 11, 2007. Last checked May 15, 2013

  1. “We’re also making exciting progress overseas, as well. CSI will soon be deployed in 58 foreign ports, which will cover 85 percent of the maritime containerized cargo coming to the U.S. And, we are now implementing the next generation of CSI—the Secure Freight Initiative—or SFI—which integrates radiation detection and container imaging.”
  2. “Information from this technology, combined with our normal analysis of manifest data, will provide a comprehensive, real-time approach to assessing the risk of every container bound for the U.S.”
  3. “This initiative is the culmination of our work with other Government agencies, foreign governments, the trade community, and vendors of leading edge technology. And, like all our security initiatives, this increased information will help facilitate trade because questions about shipments that appear to be high risk can be resolved quickly and effectively.”
  4. “Trying to legislate a requirement that all 11 million plus containers undergo image scanning and radiation detection monitoring prior to leaving a foreign port just does not make sense. The impact on the flow of commerce would be enormous and the result would be lower profits and higher transportation costs for U.S. importers.”
  5. “It would hand the terrorists a victory on one of their key aims—inflicting serious damage on the U.S. economy—without them having to take any action whatsoever.”
  6. “I am also concerned about our credibility with our international partners. When several nations agreed to partner with us in testing the 100 percent concept, it was done with the understanding that the findings would drive further discussions regarding a logical path forward. Mandating 100 percent scanning prior to concluding this first phase, will undermine the credibility of our current initiative.”
  7. “But, for all that we have accomplished in so many areas, here we are nearly six years after 9/11, and one of our fundamental goals for improving homeland security still lies just beyond our grasp.”
  8. “Since the terrorist attack on our soil, one of our most-feared scenarios has involved terrorists hiding the components for a nuclear or radiological bomb inside one of the shipping containers that enter into and pass through our seaports each year.”
  9. “This capability would be the vital link that would close the loop between CBP’s trusted partnership program with the trade, information-based risk assessment, and secure ports. What we’ve called “Smart Box” has yet to be developed.”
  10. “All these initiatives work together as a deterrent, making it harder for terrorists to penetrate security and put a bomb—or components for a bomb—in one of the millions of containers that move in and out of ports around the world on a daily basis.”
  11. “But, as I said at the outset, I believe we are on the right track. We have been able to provide increased security, despite increasing trade volumes, and that is because we are working with our partners here in the U.S. and around the world to protect the global supply chain.”

Container Security, CSI


Keefer, Wendy J.,”Container Port Security: A Layered Defense Strategy to Protect The Homeland and The International Supply ChainCampbll Law Review. April 21, 2008. Last Checked March 12, 2013

  1. “The events of September 11, 2001 aimed a spotlight on the true state of our national security. Though that particular terrorist attack utilized airlines, the lack of any real security measures at U.S. seaports raised perhaps even greater concerns.”
  2. “Recent government initiatives to tighten port security create numerous layers of protection from the entry of dangerous individuals and cargo. This layered defense seeks to prevent future attacks upon the country, as well as to protect the international supply chain.”
  3. “The security weaknesses surrounding shipping containers are not typically the first concern when considering overall port security.”
  4. “Regardless of any opposition to marine terminal or other port facility operations, “ports are vulnerable to the entry of terrorists or illicit weapons because of the large number of containers that enter U.S. territory, regardless of who manages them.””
  5. “The rise of shipping containers, though beneficial to world trade and globalization, also creates security concerns. These concerns stem from the limited scrutiny at ports of arriving cargo, the large volume of containerized cargo arriving at ports around the world, and the very fact that closed containers do not lend themselves to easy or economically efficient inspection.”
  6. “Efforts that effectively address traditional criminal concerns, such as drug smuggling and human trafficking, may not aid in identifying containers posing a high risk of terrorist use.”
  7. “Key efforts in this strategy operated by CBP include use of the Automated Targeting System (ATS), the 24-Hour Rule, the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT), and the Container Security Initiative (CSI).”
  8. “One of the most unsettling, suspected uses of shipping containers was by former-Pakistan nuclear program head, Abdul Qadeer Khan. Khan, who admitted to selling nuclear technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea is suspected of having used shipping containers to complete these sales, including a shipment inspected in August 2003 in the Mediterranean”
  9. “The government has not yet publicly identified any specific terrorist threats to container shipments or the ports through which such shipments pass, but serious gaps in
    container security required attention.”
  10. “The goal in container security then must be to strike the proper balance between security and economic efficiency. Numerous steps have been taken to reach that goal, creating a layered approach aimed at detecting the true contents of the Trojan horse prior to its arrival in the United States.”

Container Security


Baumgarten,Helmut and Christian Bogatu.,”MARITIME & PORT SECURITY: Smart BusinessCargo Security International. August/September 2008. Last checked May 15, 2013

  1. “In the modern era of the ‘globalised’ economy, efficient, effective and secure logistics are a necessity – but current cargo security is just not tight enough.”
  2. “Our complex global logistical networks face a growing threat from terrorists who know that they are vulnerable – and that a successful major attack could cost the world economy as much as $1 trillion.”
  3. “Smart containers can provide a solution: they not only increase the security, but also deliver measurable monetary business benefits to companies involved in the logistical value chain.”
  4. “Smart containers can be described as a holistic solution that includes technology and processes that enhance the security and the efficiency and effectiveness of the transport of containers.”
  5. “The sensor unit includes a variety of sensors, memory, and the necessary processing power. The sensors can range from those which provide information on location, such as Global Positioning System (GPS) units, through devices that detect intrusion and monitor the condition of the cargo, up to ‘threat detection’ systems that can, for example, if lag up the presence of radioactive material. The communication unit may enable readings on a short-range (e.g. radio frequency identification (RFID) or Zigbee) or on a regional (e.g. cellular technology) or global (satellite) scale.”
  6. “These processes may include the redistribution of containers in case of shortages in the supply chain or sending alarms to law enforcement agencies in the event of
    detected illegal or even terrorist activities.”
  7. “However, it is also clear that border controls will be much faster for smart containers, which saves time and money for the parties involved. In addition, in the event of an attack, the containers that will most likely be allowed to move again first will be the ones with smart technology implemented.”
  8. “Obviously, during a real test with all the containers on a trade lane equipped with sensors, the reality will show what unforeseen problems occur and if the expected benefits will actually be noticed in the bottom line. Also, the practicability of the increased flexibility has to be proven by reality. There must be clearly defined processes and an event-based information flow in the network operations centre for the system to work perfectly and for the benefits to materialise.”

Container Security


Kumar, Sameer, “Risk Assessment for the Security of Inbound Containers at U.S. Ports: A Failure, Mode, Effects, and Criticality Analysis Approach.Transportation Journal, pgs. 26-41, Fall 2008

  1. “These cargo containers are subject to numerous transfers within the transport chain, which makes them vulnerable to being subverted from their legitimate commercial purposes.”
  2. “The U.S. Customs Service, transferred to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and already responsible for inspections of containers at U.S. ports, took the lead to develop new procedures to move containers in and out of ports under increased security.”
  3. “They are the Container Security Initiative (CSI), the Custom-Trade Partnership against Terrorism (C-TPAT), the “10-f2″ regulatory standards, and the Secure Freight Initiative.”
  4. “Under the CSI program, a team of United States CBP officers works with the host nation’s counterparts in targeting cargo containers that pose a potential threat.”
  5. “Through CST, the amount of information that is mandated from importers and transport management, coupled with increased technological advancements in screening techniques, sets out a larger, less porous net over verifying the safety of inbound cargo containers.”
  6. “On September 29, 2006, the United States Congress passed the SAFE (Security and Accountability for Every) Port Act, which added strength to CSI by mandating that all incoming cargo to a U.S. port will contain data elements from both the shipper and the carrier, which are known as 104-2.”
  7. “As of 2006 these countries are complying in North America and South America: Santos, Brazil/ Buenos Aires, Argentina/ Halifax Canada /Montreal. Canada /Vancouver. Canada /Fort of Cortes, Honduras.”

Container Security


Editors,”Napolitano Says U.S. Cannot Meet Cargo-Screening GoalGlobal Security Newswire. December 3, 2009. Last checked May 16, 2013

  1. “U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano yesterday said her department would be unable to meet a terrorism security measure’s 2012 deadline for checking all U.S.-bound ship cargo for WMD materials, Agence France-Presse reported”
  2. “As a result of insufficient technology and the high expense associated with scanning the 10 million cargo containers that enter the country annually, Napolitano would request an extension of the congressionally imposed deadline, she told lawmakers.”
  3. “In order to implement the 100 percent scanning requirement by the 2012 deadline, [the Homeland Security Department] would need significant resources for greater manpower and technology, technologies that do not currently exist, and the redesign of many ports,” Napolitano said.”
  4. “These are all prohibitive challenges that will require the department to seek the time extensions authorized by law,” she said.”
  5. “The 100 percent scanning requirement was intended to ensure that no chemical, biological or nuclear weapons could be brought in through the U.S. port system, which many analysts consider a security vulnerability.”
  6. “”Expanding screening with available technology would slow the flow of commerce and drive up costs to consumers without bringing significant security benefits,” Napolitano said in testimony to the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.”
  7. “The U.S. Government Accountability Office issued a report yesterday that faulted Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection office for failing to conduct “a feasibility analysis of expanding 100 percent scanning” of foreign ports participating in the U.S. Secure Freight Initiative as mandated by Congress.”
  8. “Until scanning technology is improved and no longer disrupts trade, “requiring the scanning [of] all U.S.-bound cargo, regardless of risk, at every foreign port is misguided and provides a false sense of security,” said Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine.”

Container Security, Homeland Security


Strohm, Chris., “Cargo Scanning Requirement Should Be Reconsidered, U.S. Official SaysGlobal Security Newswire. April 2, 2009. Last Checked May 16, 2013

  1. “A senior U.S. Homeland Security Department official told lawmakers yesterday it is time for Congress to reconsider a legal mandate created by Democratic lawmakers that requires all cargo containers to be scanned for weapons of mass destruction at foreign ports before they are shipped to the United States.”
  2. “The mandate, which Democrats put in a massive 2007 homeland security bill with much fanfare, requires the department to ensure that all U.S.-bound containers are scanned abroad by 2012. At the time, critics complained that the mandate was a “bumper-sticker” security solution that was unrealistic.”
  3. “Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told lawmakers in late February that meeting the deadline was not feasible, mainly because technology does not exist to do such comprehensive scanning and because obtaining political agreements with other countries is problematic.”
  4. “Jayson Ahern, acting commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, told the House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee yesterday that the mandate “needs to be thoughtfully reconsidered.””
  5. “Lawmakers said they have many questions about how best to secure cargo containers but did not scold Ahern over his comments, indicating a growing acceptance on Capitol Hill that the mandate needs to be relaxed. Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman David Price (D-N.C.) said “the dilemma” presented by Ahern is “compelling” and needs to be addressed by Congress.”
  6. “”The question is, absent a ‘100 percent solution,’ are current programs adequate to mitigate risk?” Price asked. “If not, what needs to be done?” He added “there’s no question” that ensuring cargo security “is a serious issue.””

Container Security, Homeland Security


Bakır, Niyazi O.,”A Stackelberg game model for resource allocation in cargo container securitySpringer Science+Business Media, LLC. September 22, 2010. Last Checked March 11, 2013

  1. “Concerns about a containerized nuclear weapon or a dirty bomb attack are shared among many academic scholars and security experts.”
  2. “Cargo transportation system involves multiple points where containers stop before the delivery at destination. Various programs and initiatives have been developed by the U.S. federal government to reduce the vulnerability at these points and deter terrorists from weaponizing cargo containers.”
  3. “In an effort to bolster security of cargo during loading and transportation phases, the U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) introduced the Customs-Trade Partnership against Terrorism initiative.”
  4. “Despite all efforts to improve security of incoming containers at U.S. seaports, vulnerabilities exist. The goal of this paper is to understand how system-wide resource allocation for container security could be improved in an attacker-defender game setting.”
  5. “Typical sites where containers stop en route are warehouses, container yards, intermodal transfer facilities and truck rest areas. It is incumbent upon the defender, who is the leader in the Stackelberg game considered here, to improve physical security at these sites and to reduce the likelihood of unauthorized tampering.”
  6. “The weapon can reach its target at a U.S. seaport if and only if interdiction through the first three security layers fail. When the weapon reaches a U.S. seaport, the attacker makes an attempt to detonate the weapon remotely before inspections take place.”
  7. “Port security has been a major theme in homeland security since the attacks upon the WorldTrade Center and the Pentagon. Terrorists may target ports mainly because of their economic significance as well as their close proximity to urban centers.”
  8. “The model accounts for the possibility of an attack before the authorities get a chance to inspect the container at the domestic port. This reduces the effectiveness of domestic seaport security.”
  9. “However, high number of inbound containers and the difficulty in enforcing security standards at foreign sites may in practice make it difficult to implement optimal resource allocation decisions”
  10. “A coordinated and a sincere effort by all nations and the private sector is required to implement high security standards to reduce the threat.”

Container Security, Nuclear


CBP Media Services, “Container Security Initiative: just the facts“, Port Technology International, 2010, Last checked on April 15, 2013

  1. “In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, US Customs Service, now US Customs and Border Protection, began developing antiterrorism programs to help secure the United States.”
  2. “CSI addresses the threat to border security and global trade that is posed by potential terrorist use of a maritime container to deliver a weapon.”
  3. “Currently, approximately 90 per cent of all transatlantic and transpacific cargo imported into the United States is subjected to prescreening.”
  4. “58 CSI ports are currently operational.”
  5. “CSI is a deterrent to terrorist organizations that may seek to target any foreign port. This initiative provides a significant measure of security for the participating port as well as the United States.”
  6. “If terrorists were to carry out an attack on a seaport using a cargo container, the maritime trading system would likely grind to a halt until seaport security is improved. Those seaports participating in the CSI handle containerized cargo far sooner than other ports that haven’t taken steps to enhance security.”
  7. “If a shipment has already been jointly examined by US and the host country’s customs officials, that is one less shipment that CBP officers will have to worry about at a US port.”
  8. “The advantages of inspecting containers at the earliest possible point in the supply chain is of benefit to a CSI port. The integrity of the shipment is better ensured by using pre-arrival information and non-intrusive inspection equipment at foreign port locations, thus expediting their clearance upon arrival in the United States”

CSI, Container Security, Homeland Security


Editors, “U.S. and Spain Equip Second Megaport With Radiation Detectors“, 27 September 2010, Global Security Newswire, Last Checked 1 October 2010.

  1. “The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) announced today the successful commencing of operations of radiation detection equipment at the Port of Valencia in Spain.”
  2. “With this equipment the Port of Valencia will now be able to scan all import and export containers passing through the port for the presence of dangerous nuclear and radioactive materials.”
  3. “‘The commissioning of the Port of Valencia underscores the continued shared commitment of the U.S. and Spain to enhance global maritime security,’ said Ken Baker, NNSA Principal Assistant Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation. ‘This successful milestone marks continued progress in implementing President Obama’s nuclear security agenda and supports the U.S. global effort to secure vulnerable nuclear material and prevent nuclear proliferation and terrorism.’”
  4. “This effort is part of the NNSA’s Second Line of Defense (SLD) Program, which works collaboratively with foreign governments at border crossings, airports, seaports and other points of entry to install specialized radiation detection equipment and associated communications equipment.”
  5. “NNSA has installed similar equipment at more than 230 sites and at 31 Megaports around the world.”

Nonproliferation, Nuclear, Export Control, Container Security


Keane, Angela Greiling and Park, Kyunghee, “The Terrorist Threat in Cargo Containers“, Bloomberg Business Week, November 4, 2010:

  1. “By 2010 all US-bound cargo containers must be scanned for terrorist threats”
  2. “fewer than 1% of the 14.5 million cargo boxes reaching the US by water are scanned abroad for terrorist threats.”
  3. 90% cargo is carried by sea
  4. cost an issue in implementing scanning technology

Homeland Security, CSI, Container Security


Office of the Press Secretary, “Readout of Secretary Napolitano’s Tour of Container Security Initiative Operations at the Port of BarcelonaDHS.Gov. April 10, 2010. Last Checked May 15, 2013

  1. “Barcelona, Spain—Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano today visited Barcelona, Spain, to tour Container Security Initiative (CSI) operations and meet with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel at the Barcelona seaport to view firsthand CBP’s close working partnerships with Spanish customs officials to efficiently protect high-risk U.S.-bound cargo against terrorist threats.”
  2. “”The international threat of terrorism requires global action, collaboration and innovation to ensure our mutual security and defend against terrorists,” said Secretary Napolitano. “CSI plays a critical role in DHS’ ongoing efforts to protect against terrorists who seek to bring harmful devices and materials into the United States through the global supply chain.””
  3. “During the tour, Secretary Napolitano observed the state-of-the art automated targeting tools utilized by CBP and Spanish customs officials working side-by-side to identify and prescreen high-risk containers—including non-intrusive inspection systems and radiation detection technology.”
  4. “Since 2006, CBP officials have worked closely with their Spanish counterparts at the Barcelona seaport—the third most active port in the Spanish Mediterranean—to establish security criteria for identifying and screening high-risk containers before they are shipped to the United States.”
  5. “CSI teams currently operate at a total of 58 ports in North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin and Central America—covering approximately 80 percent of all maritime containerized cargo imported into the United States.”

Container Security, CSI


Editors, “What is Container Security Initiative (CSI) and how does it Work?Marine Insight. September 13, 2011 Last checked March 25, 2013

  1. “Container Security Initiative or CSI is a unique system of bilateral information transfer.”
  2. “This is a reciprocal system of services between the US coast guard and a foreign port country.”
  3. “The main aim of CSI, in words of the authorities of US Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is – the intent of Container Security Initiative is to extend the zone of security outward so that American borders are the last line of defense, not the first.”
  4. “The cargo containers inspected at a host port can further move freely throughout the US ports without facing any interruptions. This system is a dual system which offers higher security without putting trade in jeopardy.”
  5. “Under this system, container cargo’s leaving for US port from the host country are inspected at the leaving port using non intrusive inspection (NII) technology which includes X-ray imaging, Gamma ray inspection etc. along with other methods like radiation check.”
  6. “These checks are conducted with specialized equipment designed to handle such high risk security checks without damaging the content of the cargo containers.”
  7. “The screenings are supervised by the US officials at the ports. As such, at a US port, such cargos would not have to necessarily undergo further checks.”

Container Security


Matishak, Martin, “Homeland Security Cancels Troubled Radiation Detector Effort,” 26 July 2011, Global Security Newswire Last Checked 27 July 2011.

  1. “The U.S. Homeland Security Department has terminated the program to develop the next generation of radiation detection monitors.”
  2. “‘The [Advanced Spectroscopic Portal] will not proceed as originally envisioned. We will not seek certification or large-scale deployment of the ASP.’”
  3. “The agency spent roughly $230 million over five years attempting to develop and field the monitor system.”
  4. “The machines were designed to not only detect radiation but identify the nature of its source. Proponents claimed the devices, each with a price tag of around $822,000, would eliminate time-consuming secondary inspections to determine whether a material was dangerous.”
  5. “Homeland Security officials had expected to spend $1.2 billion to deploy 1,400 of the machines to scan cargo containers for potential nuclear or radiological weapons materials at U.S. points of entry.”
  6. “In the rush to field the technology, the department conducted poorly designed performance tests that undermined officials’ ability to ‘draw reliable conclusions’ about whether the costly new equipment would work as envisioned.”
  7. “The system was found to be susceptible to false alarms and other significant technical troubles.”
  8. “Despite that conclusion, the detection office and the department do not plan on abandoning the concept of such a system altogether.”
  9. “The department will deploy the 13 monitors that have been built and purchased to glean data that would help define requirements for a commercial competition to design and build a future spectroscopic portal.”
  10. “Four of the devices are already deployed.”
  11. “The agency will compensate for the absence of the new monitors in part with the deployment of new hand-held radiation detection devices called the RadSeeker.”
  12. “Dan Lungren (R-Calif.) repeatedly expressed concern that hand-held radiation detection devices and the department’s existing polyvinyl toluene portal monitors would not be enough to spot smuggled nuclear material at the nation’s ports.”
  13. “The decision also allows the department to focus more broadly on its global nuclear detection architecture, rather than ‘fixate’ on the ASP system.”
  14. “The detection architecture is the worldwide network of sensors, telecommunications, personnel and measures used to detect, identify and report the potential movement of illicit nuclear and radioactive materials or weapons.”

Homeland Security, Biodetection, Export Control, Container Security


Editors, “Radiation Detectors Deployed at Bangladeshi Port,” 5 August 2011, Global Security Newswire Last Checked 8 August 2011.

  1. “New radiation sensor technology has formally entered service at the Bangladeshi Port of Chittagong, enabling the South Asian state to scrutinize four-fifths of all incoming and outgoing cargo containers for potential nuclear and radiological weapons materials.”
  2. “The effort is part of the U.S. Second Line of Defense program, which helps improve detection capabilities for nuclear and radiological materials at foreign seaports, airports and border checkpoints .”
  3. “The NNSA Megaports Initiative has deployed radiation detection technology at 38 sites around the world.”
  4. “‘Our success in equipping the Port of Chittagong, one of the major shipping points in South Asia, highlights our shared commitment to keeping dangerous materials out of the hands of terrorists, smugglers and proliferators,’ NNSA Deputy Administrator Anne Harrington said.”

Export Control, Container Security






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