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Maritime and Port Security

NCJ Number
Homeland Defense Journal Volume: 5 Issue: 5 Dated: May 2007 Pages: 30,32,34,35
Don Philpott
Date Published
May 2007
4 pages
Justin Russell, director of port security for General Dynamics Information Technology, presents his appraisal of current U.S. port security and what is needed to improve it.
Government and stakeholders in the maritime transportation system have made significant progress since September 11. The grant system has been effective in certain ways by bringing in technology and creating secure facilities; however, it is not nearly enough. An increase in port funding is required in order to provide the technology that is needed. Further, the integration of technology and security procedures must be based in risk-based modeling solutions. Risk assessment methodologies applied to each port help to identify and "red flag" those containers that have priority for further inspection. Total screening of all containers is not possible while maintaining a free flow of commerce. Maritime domain awareness is one of the security challenges facing U.S. ports. As facilities are increasingly secured, the ports still must rely on open waterways. This requires policing the variety of vessels and types of maritime traffic that pose potential threats to waterways and maritime access to ports. What is missing from port security plans is the tailoring of grants to an integrated system of port and waterway security that reflects a risk-based vision of security for each port and waterway. Under the current structure and policies, port priorities change every year depending on grant programs and what the legislature decides. Consequently, it is not possible to establish a long-term, integrated plan that is funded appropriately in accordance with a set timetable.