Edited by Harry W. Richardson, Peter Gordon and James E. Moore II
Chapter 13: An Overview of US Port Security Programs
13. An overview of US port security programs Jon D. Haveman, Howard J. Shatz and Ernesto I. Vilchis* INTRODUCTION Since the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, DC, concerns over safety and the prevention of similar attacks have became paramount both on the US national political scene and in the daily lives of Americans. Policy makers initially focused on air passenger traﬃc, increasing passenger screening and restricting cockpit access. As the debate broadened however, the issue of goods movement moved to the fore. US ports, and seaports in particular, include two security vulnerabilities. Terrorists can attack a port, making it a target. Or they can use international supply routes to ship materiel, making a port a conduit. The ﬁrst security vulnerability aims to disrupt economic activity. In the aftermath of 9/11, policy makers closed down the nation’s aviation system until they could assess the scope of the threat. A waterborne attack could similarly result in the temporary closing of all ports around the country. The second security vulnerability encompasses a number of possibilities. An explosive device could arrive on US shores in a container and be successfully transported inland. As an alternative, terrorists themselves could arrive in a container and travel undetected throughout the United States. Containers, once loaded, are rarely opened or otherwise inspected before their arrival in the United States. Once in the United States, a container can be loaded onto the back of...
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