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Ports: Sea, Land, & Air

On the Move: How Security Works by Air, Land and Sea

July 29, 2011
Trans

Security issues exist every day on our nation’s ports, terminals and roads, but funding challenges and regulations makes securing those areas difficult. What’s working, what’s not and what do security end users and integrators wish they had in their arsenal of tools? Security magazine editor Diane Ritchey and SDM magazine editor Laura Stepanek brought together end users and integrators from these critical infrastructure areas to discuss their challenges and successes.

 

Diane Ritchey: What are some of the challenges with securing your port or transit operations?

Dennis Treece: Funding is always an issue, although we do spend $68 million on average a year for security. Funding gets into areas of manpower primarily, and also with some technology procurement. We do a very credible job of securing everything. But every security manager I know would always like to do more. And while I think we do a great job, we could always do better in terms of staffing. With the economy being down the way it is, we’ve been on a hiring freeze for almost three years now. So, that makes things a bit of a challenge.

Charles Morton: My biggest challenge is dealing with a truly global supply chain from origin to destination. Although Panalpina is a global freight forwarder, I’m responsible for security of our U.S. and Canada operations where we contract and manage supply chains and transportation for our customers. We work with subcontractors and third parties and it can be challenging to have the same level of visibility we would like throughout the supply chain. Whether it’s air, rail, or ocean, there may be a number of different hands involved and we work hard to stay on top of that.

 

Diane Ritchey: Can you elaborate on some of those partners that you just mentioned?

Charles Morton: For example, in the aviation environment, you’re not only dealing with air carriers directly, but potentially contracted handling agents managing the arrival, departure and the ground management of freight to and from the aircraft. That does not include the regulatory portion. Panalpina operates 10 Certified Cargo Screening Facilities in the United States and is a registered Indirect Air Carrier, so we’re regulated by the TSA. We are also C-TPAT certified and participate in a variety of Customs security programs for which we’re required to meet certain obligations.

 

Diane Ritchey: Where do you get help to meet your regulation requirements?

Dennis Treece: While I can’t speak for Charles, I can say that we’re very careful not to cross outside our own lane, because responsibility comes with liability. So Customs does its own thing at our port because they are the ones responsible for the deciding if any inbound containers pose a threat to our safety and security.

One security issue that we have is if an inbound ocean-going container is identified as having some sort of threat inside it; whether it’s a HAZMAT situation or something like a dirty bomb, (it’s already in Boston when we learn there is a problem. CTPAT is a wonderful program, as the program that inspects cargo before it heads to this country, but it only exists at a half of dozen places around the world, and even though U.S. Customs do a lot of good intelligence work on cargo, we could still end up with the potential for a problem in downtown Boston without advance notice. So that’s always a concern.

We also have cruise ships boarding at our port, with a lot of people standing around in line waiting to get on a cruise ship, mixing with the people who just got off the cruise ship, all which makes a fairly attractive target.

But back to customs, we work closely with them, but we do let them do their own thing. On the aviation side, customs is responsible for inbound passengers being vetted in advance. I have to mention the TSA because they’re responsible for making sure that only good things and good people get onto our airplanes before they leave, and for 100 percent cargo screening now on all cargo passenger aircraft.

Mark Dubina: The biggest challenge is probably one that is not new to many, is the ability to balance security concerns and procedures against the need to move cargo and people swiftly and efficiently through access control points at terminals. Coupled with this is a resistance to charge security fees to create or maintain an efficient and secure environment.              

 

Laura Stepanek: For systems integrators, what are the opportunities in the port and transit security sector? What factors are influencing growth?

Misty Stine: As threats continue to grow and become more elaborate, the need for more sophisticated security and surveillance products and services continue to increase in the transportation sector particularly in the port and transit sectors. In recognizing this, the Department of Homeland Security continues to be proactive in securing our nation’s most important critical assets through the enactment and enforcement of policy and procedure, and through funding for these security projects. The maritime and transit industry are early adopters of deploying electronic security systems to protect their assets and many of these systems are currently being upgraded or replaced as new and improved technologies reach the marketplace. This, coupled with the need to constantly improve access control and surveillance measures like TWIC for the port market and large camera deployments in the transit industry, ensures that these will be viable and strategic markets for systems integrators for years to come.  

Ben Goodwin: The Henry Brothers Electronics unit of Kratos Public Safety and Security Solutions in the area of Transit Security has been doing more diversified security related work and upgrades for several of our larger customers out of the NY/NJ and the Dallas offices. We see the demand and opportunities to provide more of those types of things to our existing transit customers continuing to be strong at least through the end of 2012; of course, our desire and efforts will also be directed at bringing those capabilities and leveraging that experience to provide similar solutions and capabilities to additional transit customers.

On the Federal government side of the business, of course, right now we are pursuing emerging opportunities related to stated and funded requirements from DHS Customs and Border Patrol on both the Southern and Northern Borders. Some of those types of opportunities have a direct relationship to the fact that a Seaport is a Border. These types of opportunities are very exciting to us at Kratos because they provide us chances to demonstrate the synergy and benefits of working with the other three divisions of Kratos as well.

 Also of course, on the immediate horizon in the private sector there continue to be evolving and emerging opportunities related to or driven by the 100 percent cargo screening requirements. The challenge and the opportunity, the so called “golden ring,” of course, would be and are for those integrators that are innovative and able to identify everyday business benefits that might be derived from so-called dual use technologies. For example, integrators who can work with freight forwarders and terminal operators to incorporate tools and show them how they might use additional screening equipment and/or video technologies to make it easier for them to show that a container or cargo shipment was not damaged or compromised when a carrier left their terminal. To be able to do that and link that data information with the each shipment and/or container number and store images that substantiate those facts until you can know the shipment reached the consignee without incident or any damage disputes and or insurance claims are settled easily and cost effectively as part of your delivered and supplied screening or so called “traditional” security solution. That helps customers to justify and actually recoup their investments in the solutions we as integrators sell in response to that unfunded mandate. To that extent we get happier customers and the numbers of those types of opportunities seem to grow. We foresee opportunities related to the fact much of the equipment procured and deployed to address and counter these types of threats is getting to what from a technology lifecycle perspective should normally be “end-of-life” so there should and likely will be more opportunities to compete for that business that is driven by desires to do technology upgrades, refresh and/or service life extension programs; this should be a growing set of opportunities in these areas between now and even as far out as 2015 – things ranging from coming up with a better/cheaper mousetrap than very expensive screening technology like a VACIS to finding places and opportunities where nimble, innovative services companies such as ourselves can make solutions easier for stakeholders and taxpayers to afford because we can deliver Security As A Service – instead of requiring one of the stakeholders/owners of ports and transit systems to pay us up front for some capability they will be reaping benefits over multiple years.

  

Laura Stepanek: Can you describe some of the technology solutions that your company has deployed for a port or transit operation?

Misty Stine: G4S Technology is deploying integrated security solutions for several large port and mass transit or rail customers. Some of the technologies currently being installed include physical security devices, intrusion detection solutions, access control, network video management, communications infrastructure, command centers and physical security information management solutions integrated into a single security solution. For one port customer, G4S Technology is just completing an integrated solution that includes a PSIM application located in their command center with a 2x5 display wall. Integrated into the PSIM solution includes all components of physical security for the port. Items like a newly deployed CAD/RMS system, a new Radar IDS system for waterside protection, in car police video systems, a portable command vehicle equipped with communications for emergency response, a portable sonar solution for underwater swimmer and diver detection, integrated video analytics, video management, audio recording and various business systems. Essentially all of the port’s security systems are integrated into one platform providing the command center operators with a seamless view of all aspects of security in their facility and on their property. 

 

Diane Ritchey: Recent news has come out showing that there was evidence found in the Osama Bin Laden compound in Pakistan of planned attacks on rail operations. How do specific events such as these affect the way that you secure your facility?

Charles Morton: We partner with the U.S. Government through regulations and our participation in various Homeland Security programs. We participate in a variety of industry cargo security groups and receive open-source intelligence. We consider various sources of information in our security plans and implement measures designed to mitigate risk. As far as information about potential planned terrorist attacks, we don’t necessarily consider those separate and apart from steps taken to protect against unauthorized access and maintain security controls accordingly.

Dennis Treece: In the short term, there might be some retaliation regarding the Bin Laden killing, but long term, I don’t think that there’s going to be much of a change. We are in a global war on terror and it’s going to persist. We just can’t worry about these blips. Although this was a major event, I don’t think that it had much impact on the amount of threat that we face overall, since we look at the all-hazards threat spectrum. And Al Qa’ida is only one of many potential threat factors we have to concern ourselves with.

 

Laura Stepanek: For the systems integrators, has the news had an effect on your communications with customers in this sector?

Misty Stine: Rail operations have long been a target of terrorism, so every day our clients must remain vigilant and on alert for a security breach. It is the job of the systems integrator to educate and inform our customers of the latest technology available that will keep their rails safe and to constantly maintain their existing security systems to keep them running at the optimal level.

Ben Goodwin: In the case of our transit customers this recent news has had little if any effect on our communications and working with them. Our large transit customers and those that we’d like to see become additional adjacent market customers have been painfully aware of the terrorist threats they work daily to safeguard their ridership from and the commerce they daily enable in their large metropolitan regions they serve. They never really needed any more “aha moments” to remedy any sort of “failure to imagine anything” – complacency isn’t and never has been an option.

The issues that slow or impact their ability to do things to counter these types of threats are really rooted in three things that we and they are always working to solve and address: Throughput – all the easiest ways to safeguard a transportation infrastructure adversely affect throughput, there’s one level to that constraint for an airport where an average passenger’s journey time is three hours and quite another when the average journey time is a half hour or less. The flyer reacts one way to being delayed/impacted five or even 10 minutes, but impact rider throughput or flow by more than even a second or two to a transit journey and you would be making many large transit hubs unusable. Second is fitting the needed solution within the existing infrastructure the vast majority of our transit system infrastructures are more than 30 years old, some of it more than 100 years old. That mere fact changes the entire game and along with the extended or even in at least one key case 24/7 operating schedule is central to all our communications with our transit customers. The third threat is affordability both from an acquisition and deployment perspective and of course from an operations and maintenance perspective. Most transit systems, unlike say airports, already operate with subsidies from somewhere else in their owner’s revenue streams. So in the case of our transit customers, the news that Bin Laden might attack rail transit doesn’t affect or change how we’ve been working with that market.

I’d have to think more closely about should it affect how we are communicating with our port customers, particularly our seaport customers. I say that because I don’t think it has, and now that you ask the question, maybe it should at least slightly. Seaports often have significant amounts of railhead infrastructure inherent and intrinsic to them and the fact that with an attack on a those railhead facilities in one of the busier “strategic” seaports a terror attack on that particular location might give a terrorist “a three way impact” – the initial shock value and news item; the possible collateral damage in the short term to the overall regional economy while the transportation infrastructure for the region morphs and evolves to mitigate the impact; and of course that in some locations for an extended time there would be a very visual reminder of the incident. For some of those customers, the thought might be a reason for them to change their priorities, but my initial feeling/reaction is probably only slightly. Though as I said earlier it hasn’t changed how we are communicating with them to this point; I don’t think it changes the actual threats or how our customers ought to be thinking about what sort of solutions we might help them with, and really the urgency has also been there for ports for lots of reasons for the past 15 years (since the Lockerbie Incident) or even longer.

 

Diane Ritchey: Let’s get back to funding, because it’s such an important part of any security operation. Panalpina is a private company, so how you receive funding is much different than Dennis and Mark, for example. Is there anything specific that you do, Charles, to receive funding for security? And have you been able to implement anything recently due to a funding procurement?

Charles Morton: Unfortunately, most of the Homeland Security regulations are unfunded mandates. However, we participated in the TSA Screening Technology Pilot Program that allowed us to receive Federal funds for some of our screening equipment, which we used to outfit X-ray and explosive trace detection in one of our facilities as part of the test pilot. That was the extent of government funding made available. Otherwise, Panalpina made direct investments into infrastructure, training and equipment to implement a robust screening program in the United States.

Dennis Treece: Because we’re a port authority, people think that we get tax money, but we don’t. The commonwealth of Massachusetts set up Massport in 1957 as an independent authority. We get no tax revenue at all. So we’re very much like a private company, except that we’re not private. In order to get funding for major projects, we can’t sell equity or stock, because we belong to the people of the commonwealth, so we have to sell debt. We are in the bond market for our capital money. Operating money, of course, comes from the revenue that we generate, which is leased facilities to airlines and shipping companies on the maritime side and the leased space within our maritime terminals and aviation terminals. And one of the largest sources of revenue we have is passenger parking. So we have to be very, very careful, how we spend our money because we don’t generate income, either, like airports do. But the Federal government restricts the use of airport money for off-airport activities. So, we don’t have that much discretionary money to take care of the port. We have many of the same fiscal issues that a private company has, except that we’re not in the stock market.

Mark Dubina: Like other ports in the United States we rely heavily on Federal grants to make major capital improvements to our security infrastructure. Improvements like camera upgrades have been possible using these grants. The primary source has been Federal port grants, but we have also benefited from participation in the Tampa Bay Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI).  Security fees usually just cover a portion of operational expenses; other improvements must come from operation funds.

 

Diane Ritchey: What’s on your wish list in terms of new or emerging technologies?

Mark Dubina: We are always looking for integration solutions that add value to our existing operations by creating efficiency. The TWIC program continues to be challenging, and related security solutions are complicated by possible gaps in that system that have been highlighted in recent government reports.

Dennis Treece: Perhaps the first problem that we have with public transportation facilities is architecture. Most of our transportation facilities, most in the country, in fact, were built before 9/11. After that tragedy, and with the advent of the suicide car bomber, glass has become a real issue. Especially in airport terminals, glass seems to be the material of choice by architects for terminal facades, which is unfortunate, since shattered glass is a leading cause of injury in the bombings we see overseas. So the very design of airports today does not help us much in consequence mitigation.

Another architecture example is underground parking garages and split level roadways. Since the departure level is always on the second floor, traffic for arriving passengers will be at street level, underneath the roadway for departing passengers. These split-level situations simply exacerbate the issue of car bombs so fundamental changes to airport design in this post 9/11 era would be advantageous. It’s true that very few new airports are being built these days but many are being rebuilt, and this is the time to make these fundamental changes that recognize the security realities of this post-9/11 era.

 Another emerging technology of high importance is the surveillance camera and associated software. While cameras are proliferating like crazy, you have to do it smart. And it requires a fairly significant effort to actually watch the cameras. How would you like to watch 1,000 cameras? I mean, how effectively could you watch 1,000 cameras? Clearly, not every camera is showing things of the same level of importance at any given moment. But you need software that can help you watch the cameras that are more important than others, at different parts of the day. For one full shift, the airport is pretty much asleep while it is cleaned so a lot of the camera footage from those periods is not that important. But when things ramp up, then you want to be able to focus on that. We have a very active security technology test bed here. We’ve looked it more than 100 technologies, and we currently have a number of things that are very unique and very powerful. But getting a legacy system to incorporate with a new system is tough. You can buy a camera for a couple hundred bucks, and it’s really a nice megapixel camera, but it might cost you $20,000 to lay power and fiber out to where you want that camera.

 

Diane Ritchey: What about you Charles, what if you had unlimited financial resources? What would you implement?

Charles Morton: Well, additional resources would be of benefit to accomplish more. Number two, from a technology standpoint, I would look at upgrading camera systems. We have some good systems, but would like to stay ahead of the curve with the latest and greatest. The ability to share large amounts of video data is always a challenge and IT infrastructure can only support so much bandwidth as most large enterprise-deployed systems aren’t geared towards pushing it as a priority over other priority voice/data business needs.

The freight forwarder business model is “asset light,” so we don’t typically want to own a lot of facilities or transportation assets such as trucks, vessels and trains. We subcontract and manage those services. Therefore, it is of less direct value for me to invest in technology for the transportation part of the business, but would work with our business partners to do that.

I would like to move toward a more centralized enterprise platform to improve efficiency, increase visibility and drive greater standardization of services and systems.

Ben Goodwin: Well when I wish/dream, I follow my late father’s advice – he always used to say “Dream big, it doesn’t cost any more.” So we find every customer, in every industry seems to have a huge appetite and affinity for video based solutions. That’s probably because it’s a technology that virtually every type customer can identify and implement effective concepts of employment. Transit and Port customers tend to have relatively large areas of geography they are responsible for securing, so enabling remote visual monitoring of those areas has high ROI. Because of that I’d say one silver bullet wish list item here has to be: “better, easier to install,” infrastructure free, super intelligent, ultra-high resolution video.” That’s a lot of buzz words and we’re not there yet in the market, but we are getting a lot closer except for the “infrastructure-free” thought, so a more down to earth wish list item I’d like to see the technology community and leaders look at are things that make that more possible for video – better video data compression; etc.

Second, it’s not a technology but it is technology related and it directly affects in a very immediate way the airport marketplace – I’d like to see a better, easier way that screening (passenger and cargo) technologies could get approved and certified. That would be better for everyone and it would make it a lot easier for all the stakeholders to address this emerging market of recapitalization and/or service life extension with technology infusion. To be clear I’m not talking about watering down the testing and certification processes. I’m saying I wish some of the big brain technologists and DHS S&T investment could be effectively deployed to make the testing and certification both faster and more thorough and robust through the development and implementation of new and improved testing and test equipment, test fixture technologies. If that could be done then the whole ROI model for all the stakeholders in that value chain changes and on all sides the business cases become easier to understand, construct and justify for a lot of things that we all want that will improve port security.

Last, I’d wish for an easy to implement, flexible/modular technology stack that we as integrators could use to quickly implement an affordable ‘tunnel of truth and security’ on every entrance to every transit system in the world. When you see the potential impacts of attacks on large transit systems in our major metropolitan areas, it just makes what is done to safeguard these systems such a high priority and as I mentioned earlier the constraints that screening times place on what you can do without adversely impacting a transit system’s ability to perform its intended purpose – moving lots of people, fast and cost effectively – while the so called “tunnel of truth” is of great value to safeguarding passenger travel via air, if you could do it for surface transit riders, it would be even more of a game changer.

Misty Stine: Here at G4S Technology, we identified a need to provide integrated solutions and PSIM type applications six years ago. What we found then and still find is that the process of integrating subsystems together is very cumbersome and time consuming. One thing we need is more thorough standards for the definition of interfaces to allow integration between various technologies as well as PSIM applications. This would help with the initial deployment as well as the ability to support those systems after they are implemented by minimizing issues found after software upgrades are applied. 

The Roundtable Participants

Mark Dubina is director of security operations, Tampa Port Authority in Tampa, Fla. Previously, he spent 10 years with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and was a deputy sheriff with the Sarasota County Sherriff’s Office and a state trooper with the Florida Highway Patrol.

Ben Goodwin is president of the Public Safety & Security Segment for Kratos. Prior to joining Kratos, Goodwin was president of Public Safety, Security and Industrial Systems Group and senior vice president for Sales and Marketing at SYS Technologies. His focus was on developing new products, markets and strategies. He plays a key role in executing the company’s strategic objective of developing a broader base of revenues that includes products and developing new markets.

Charles Morton is the area security manager, vice president for Panalpina Inc. with more than 17 years of combined experience in supply chain security and law enforcement in the public and private sectors; including his past service with the U.S. Government at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) headquarters under the Department of Homeland Security.

He is responsible for managing Panalpina USA and Canada supply chain security and compliance with government regulatory security programs, such as air cargo security requirements set forth by the TSA.  He also coordinates Panalpina's participation in the U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) where Panalpina is certified as a Consolidator and Licenses Customs Broker.

Misty Stine is the vice president of business development for G4S Technology. She has senior management responsibility for the company’s strategic corporate initiatives and vertical market campaigns. Stine leads a team of industry-focused professionals strategically located throughout the United States. She has more than 25 dedicated years of experience in both the communications and security industries.

Dennis Treece is a retired Army colonel who joined Massport as director of corporate security in September 2002, bringing both government and private sector experience to this vital executive position. Treece is responsible for all aspects of Massport’s $68 million annual security program, both physical and virtual, including the security of Boston Logan International Airport, Massport’s two regional airports, the shipping and cruise terminals, numerous harbor properties and three city parks. He is a direct-report to the CEO.

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