Security Enterprise Services / Ports: Sea, Land, & Air

Why Ports Need Proven, Agile Solutions Now

While the recent budget deal may provide some relief for agencies charged with transportation domain security, this year the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will face infinite national security challenges with a finite amount of funding.  The DHS should be applauded for adopting prioritized “risk-based” strategies to deter national security threats.  It should strongly consider greater use of proven technologies to enhance this approach going forward to bolster port security.      

In 2014, the U.S. will take steps towards implementing a biometric EXIT program to complement the existing U.S. VISIT program (now known as IDENT), which captures biometric data of foreign travelers entering the country. The IDENT program requires visitors from non-visa waiver countries to provide their biometric data upon entering the United States. Unfortunately no comprehensive program exists to track the departure of these same individuals. This presents a national security risk as DHS is currently unable to accurately determine whether a visitor, fugitive or terrorist has departed the U.S.

Analysts estimate that “visa overstays” account for as much as 40 percent of the undocumented or illegal immigrant population in the U.S. By implementing a holistic ENTRY and EXIT biometric program, the DHS, could verify the travelers through the IDENT program who have entered or exited the U.S.  A synchronized ENTRY and EXIT biometrics program will enable DHS and law enforcement agencies to deter, detect and disrupt potential acts of terrorism, arrest fugitives, and prevent the abduction and exploitation of children.

The U.S. will likely have to use a phased-in approach to implement EXIT.  A program using biometric-equipped entry and departure kiosks, secondary screening stations, and mobile DHS biometrics device teams in the nation’s busiest airports and seaports is a feasible starting point. To ensure that the program is comprehensive, DHS should consider fielding small, light-weight biometric devices that can rapidly and reliably capture and match records against all the authoritative databases.  These mobile systems have been utilized by the FBI and DOD and throughout the world by Special Operations forces with proven success. 

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reportedly inspect only six percent of the 9 million containers that enter the United States each year.  This too presents a national security risk and creates a significant security gap in tracking the movement of terrorists.  Right now, advanced canine screening technologies are being utilized in Europe and Africa to collect air samples on filters that are specifically designed to capture scent vapor from portable or vehicle mounted cargo containers.  Specially developed to facilitate screening for mass cargo, these technologies have no limitation as to size or content.  Working through elaborated airflow and filtering systems, these systems have proven efficiencies in terms of process, performance, and cost effectiveness for the markets where it may be employed.  France and the UK have screened more than 100,000 trucks and pallets, and over 1.5 million metric tons of air cargo since live operations began. 

Additionally, the United States Department of Defense has developed a highly effective explosive device detection capability using canines.  Through a keen selection process and high level of training these canines have been found to work very effectively for up to 12 or 14 hours a shift in the most austere operational environments in the world.  Moreover, the military has recently honed its ability to use dogs off-leash to detect IEDs.  These canine systems have saved the lives of American warfighters in combat and have dramatically and aided in the disruption of IEDs in theater.  There is a clear use case for greater utilization of off-leash canines by DHS for port security.    

Lastly, DHS has made great strides in furthering their risk-based approach using cutting-edge analytics and predictive tools.  These capabilities effectively transform seemingly infinite streams of data into finite actionable information allowing for threats to properly prioritized based upon risk level.  Port Security authorities should consider wider use of these tools to direct the application of capabilities such as advanced canines and mobile biometrics to where they are needed most. 

In the past, the federal government has attempted to implement broad, overarching projects that call for extensive research and development and significant programmatic bandwidth to implement.  While federally funded research and development, and a coherent, comprehensive overall strategy is important, the current threat profile our ports are facing demand the rapid deployment of battle-proven capabilities.  By facilitating the lessons learned from our military and current efforts by allies overseas, we can achieve both short-term security success while delivering long-term, security benefits at our nation’s ports. 

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Security Magazine. 

Recent Articles by David Powers

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

ASIS 2013 Product Preview

ASIS International 59th Annual Seminar and Exhibits, September 24-27 in Chicago, Illinois, will include an exhibit hall packed with innovative security solutions. Here are some of the products that will be shown at ASIS this year.

Podcasts

Virtualization and Data Center Security: What You Need to Know for 2014

Data centers are increasingly becoming the center of the enterprise, and data center and cyber security is following the same path for security departments. According to Justin Flynn, a consultant at the Burwood Group, the virtualization of data centers allows enterprises to scale more easily and faster, with a smaller footprint.

However, hosting enterprise data in the cloud can make intrusion detection more difficult – how can enterprise security leaders team up with other departments to keep aware of cyber risks and traffic, and physical and data compliance during the virtual transition? How can CISOs and CSOs discuss cyber threats with the C-Suite to get the resources they need? And how can the proper infrastructure test and verify possible malicious attacks? 

More Podcasts

Security Magazine

September 2014

2014 September

In the September issue of Security Magazine, find out who this year's most influential people are in the security industry are. Also, take a peek at the technology products that ASIS 2014 will be showcasing at the upcoming event. Read about the lessons learned from security at the World Cup, find out why tactical medical training is a must for your enterprise and how Atlanta increased security by sharing surveillance.
Table Of Contents Subscribe

Adopting New Technology

How long do you wait before adopting a new technology?
View Results Poll Archive

THE SECURITY STORE

comptiahighriseproductphoto
CompTIA Security+ Certification Study Guide
CompTIA's Security+ certification is a globally-recognized, vendor neutral exam that has helped over 60,000 IT professionals reach further and higher in their careers. The current Security+ exam (SY0-201) focuses more on being able to deal with security issues rather than just identifying them.
More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

Vertical Sector Focus: Critical Infrastructures

criticalhomepagethumbFrom terrorism to vandalism, it’s preparedness, response, training and partnerships. Learn about some of the critical security issues facing this sector.

Visit the Critical Infrastructure page to read more.  

STAY CONNECTED

Facebook 40px 2-12-13 Twitter logo 40px 2-12-13  YouTube  LinkedIn logo 40px 2-12-13Google+