Thursday, June 05, 2008

Seaport Security Still Not Adequate

The Department of Homeland Security should have a single job. That should be the security of America and its borders. Under the current administration it is not doing its job very well.
A recent report issued by the Government Accountability Office
(GAO) stated that despite the introduction of new inspection and security
procedures, U.S. seaports are still vulnerable to terrorist
According to GAO spokesman, Chuck Young, the director of homeland
security and justice discovered that some of the “human factor” problems keep
the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) at a standstill. Young told LM (Logistics Management) that another report had been written two years ago with similar findings.

One would think that the CEO Administration would know how to run a government agency like a business in a results-oriented manner. One would be incorrect. What is the simple disconnect in the methodology?
“Although Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has developed performance
measures for facilitating the flow of commerce, it has not developed performance
measures to assess the effectiveness of C-TPAT’s efforts to improve supply chain
security,” stated the report.
In the nearly seven years since the attacks of 9/11 DHS has not been able to figure out how to tell if companies are in compliance with efforts to improve security. "Why is that?" You might ask. "Why can't they sort out the results? What is so complex that the answers to the questions are inscrutably opaque?"

“The usefulness of the instrument is limited due to its default ‘no’
responses,” the report stated. “Specifically, if a response is marked ‘no,’ it
is unclear whether a security specialist, who has the discretion to answer or
not answer individual questions, intentionally answered the question or if the
response was an automatic default.”

This factor, said the report, limits the ability of CBP to validate security practices at member companies.

In seven years they haven't been able, despite spending trillions of dollars of our money on security, to put a third column on the spreadsheet that says, "Not yet."

In two years since the last report DHS has not changed a friggin' thing about the way they make us safer. In the meantime we've all been putting our Pepto-Bismol into three ounce bottles and taking off our shoes.

My hope is that when my granddaughter writes the history of the first decade of the 21st Century that she's able to do it with humor, showing us for the fools we are to follow a madman blindly, and not with the derision we deserve for putting our lives and livelihoods in his hands.

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