Seaports Magazine - Winter 2015 - (Page 31)

» PORTS + POLITICS Guarding Our Nation's Ports Against Potential Threats By Congressman Duncan Hunter (CA-52) I n October, the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation held a hearing to examine the scenario of a dirty bomb in a United States port. Testimony from stakeholders and experts from across government agencies helped our committee gain insight into the potential for how such a device could be smuggled into our country, and measures that can be taken to deter, detect and interdict this grave security threat. The consequence of a dirty bomb, more formally known as a radiological dispersal device, reaching our shores would be catastrophic - including the loss of life, impact on commerce and the challenging cleanup of radiological material. Indeed, if a detonation occurred at a major U.S. port, the port would be incapacitated, leading to significant disruption across the entire economy. This threat was made all the more real, when earlier this fall, we learned of the FBI and Eastern European authorities' efforts over the last 5 years to successfully interrupt 4 attempts by criminal gangs, with suspected Russian ties, to sell radioactive material to Middle Eastern extremists. The successful disruption of the sale was a positive result. However, it is a stark reminder that the desire of our adversaries to obtain, at a minimum, materials for a dirty bomb or, to the extreme, materials for a nuclear weapon are growing. And regrettably, for an Administration that claims to be anti-nuclear proliferation, the President's foreign policy actions are putting us on a path where our adversaries will have greater access to nuclear material. With 95,000 miles of open shoreline, more than 360 ports and numerous small harbors across the country, the challenge of guarding our maritime border is great. The sheer size and the potential ease of moving large quantities of materials undetected makes it critical to ensure we have effective interdiction efforts. Interdiction efforts are about more than seized contraband. A significant part of the process is understanding the pathways used by the smugglers, as pathways used for drugs today could be used to bring in other contraband, including nuclear and radiological material, tomorrow. We also need to ensure we have effective screening for the millions of containers arriving in our ports each year. After 9/11, security measures were enacted to better protect our homeland by expanding efforts to detect and deter threats overseas. These efforts include screening cargo manifests before containers are loaded onto a United States-bound ship, scanning shipping containers that have been determined to be high-risk, screening ship personnel data, knowing where a ship and its cargo have been before entering United States territory, and intercepting a vessel at-sea to prevent its entry into a United States port when a threat is detected. During our hearing, we examined the effectiveness of the layered approach used to detect, deter and interdict potential threats, including law enforcement, technology and intelligence. We also heard testimony from experts on how technology can be improved to strengthen detection capabilities while minimizing any disruption to commerce. This is a serious threat that demands our attention. Moving forward, our subcommittee will continue to closely examine this issue, because our country cannot afford to be unprepared when our adversaries continue to pose a threat. ● U.S. Representative Duncan Hunter from California's 52nd District is member of the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation. With 95,000 miles of open shoreline, more than 360 ports and numerous small harbors across the country, the challenge of guarding our maritime border is great. WINTER 2015 * WWW.AAPASEAPORTS.COM 31 http://WWW.AAPASEAPORTS.COM

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Seaports Magazine - Winter 2015

AAPA Headquarters
From the President’s Desk
Expanding Capacity, Increasing Budgets
Navigating Cities, Counties and States
104th AAPA Annual Convention
Strategically Planning for Success
Stick to the Plan
AAPA XXIV Latin American Congress of Ports
Guarding Our Nation’s Ports Against Potential Threats
Keys to Success for Port Capital and Financial Planning
Port Game an Educational Tool – and Fun for All Ages
Port Planning and Investment Toolkit a Go-To Resource
Index of Advertisers

Seaports Magazine - Winter 2015