The fourth problem is clear and easily documented. Both laws have failed to designate land ports-of-entry as critical infrastructure. Neither these nor any other U.S. laws designate land ports as critical. Therefore, no funding is available under the critical infrastructure umbrella and they are not included in the concept of ports outlined in the SAFE Port Act and the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007. Congress has also clearly failed to consider the criticality of land ports and the risks and vulnerabilities these ports host as brought to the attention of the Congressional homeland security committees early in 2007 prior to creating the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007 (Homeland Defense Journal, February 2007).
A Simple Solution
Actually, the fix is simple. With respect to the use of "at" seaports, Congress merely has to amend the Acts to allow for the alternative use of in-container systems of detection and reporting. With respect to land ports-of-entry as critical infrastructure, the fix is just as clear: Amend the Acts to include land ports! These amendments seem not only legislatively simple and doable, but also seem smart.
It seems that these amendments would be favored not only by our trading partners, and worldwide Customs authorities, but also by industry itself that has more to gain than lose by adopting "existing" in-container systems. In addition to collected WMD intelligence, in-container systems that begin at origin and end at destination provide not only greater security with respect to unauthorized container access, they can be used by the private sector and government alike to improve risk assessments, provide electronic evidence for transshipment verifications, better logistics control, knowledge of product locations within the global supply chain, and ultimately for industry, a verifiable financial savings brought about by CBP special treatment (Green Lanes) that accelerate container movement through traditionally cluttered seaports and land ports. Finally, they are smart alternatives that serve the goals of Congress to help keep us safe. The current scanning requirement fails to do so.
About the author: Dr. Jim Giermanski is director of the Centre for Global Commerce at Belmont Abbey College and chairman of Powers International Inc., an international transportation security company.