Airline travel, cargo transportation, in addition to seaports and the U.S. borders are safer after the events of 9/11, according to an analysis of the 9/11 Commission Final Report. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano and members of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s (BPC) National Security Preparedness Group (NSPG) reported the Department’s progress in implementing the recommendations outlined in the 9/11 Commission Final Report that was released five years ago.
The report outlined DHS’ advances on a range of 9/11 Commission recommendations and reflected the agency’s focus on enhanced science and technology, efficiency and fiscal responsibility and reinvigorated coordination with state, local, tribal and international partners. The group also discussed new policies, initiatives and grant opportunities to bolster the Department’s capacity to secure the nation from threats to homeland security, including cyber attacks and bioterrorism.
The report said that progress was made in several areas, including:
• $388 million in funding in FY2009 for the Transit Security Grant Program, in addition to $150 million in Recovery Act funding, to protect critical transit infrastructure from terrorism, including freight and passenger rail systems.
• $300 million for the Recovery Act funding for passenger screening through Advanced Technology X-Ray and Imaging Technology Machines, bottle liquid scanners, Explosive Trace Detector machines and other enhanced threat-detection equipment.
• Since 2003, the United States Coast Guard (USCG) has conducted Operation Neptune Shield, which includes waterborne and aerial patrols and armed escorts of hazardous cargos and passenger vessels, to reduce the risk of terrorism to the transportation system.
• In May 2009, USCG issued Maritime Security Directives and Port Security Advisories for vessels operating in piracy-prone waters to reduce their vulnerability.
• 100% of passengers on all flights arriving in, departing from and within the U.S. are now pre-screened prior to boarding a flight through a process that crosschecks every passenger name against government watch lists.
• In 2009, TSA began implementing Secure Flight, which prescreens passenger name, date of birth and gender against government watch lists for domestic and international flights. In addition, TSA is on track to meet the congressionally-mandated 100 percent screening requirement for all domestic flights by August 2010.
• TSA is piloting Imaging Technology Machines at 19 airports across the country to better detect metal and non-metal concealed weapons, explosives, and other prohibited items.
• TSA screens 100% of cargo on more than 95 percent of all flights originating from U.S. airports.
• DHS implemented the Container Security Initiative at 58 foreign ports to ensure that all U.S.-bound maritime containers that pose a potential risk are identified and inspected before they are placed on vessels destined for the U.S.
• Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) has deployed more than 1,200 Radiation Portal Monitors and other radiation detection technologies to seaports, land border ports, and mail facilities. The systems scan 98 percent of all cargo arriving in the U.S., including 100% of vehicles arriving through our southern border ports, 98 percent of arriving sea containers, 98 percent of trucks and 96 percent of personal vehicles arriving at our northern border ports.