DHS Signals Growing Interest In Hong Kong Container Security Effort

Agency looking at privately managed maritime container security pilot program

Also last month Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.), chairman of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, introduced a bill seeking to require DHS devise a plan to inspect all maritime cargo entering the U.S. Two other senators at yesterday's hearing, Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), both of whom recently visited the Hong Kong port to view ICIS firsthand, also offered their praise for the system/

Schumer said the system shows that 100 percent of cargo containers can be inspected with little cost to the government. The government's expense will come in creating a networked infrastructure to disseminate and analyze the data collected by ICIS, he said.

ICIS is not only privately managed it is privately funded.

"They have agreed in Hong Kong to tax themselves for the purpose of improving security and we should praise this and partner with these types of opportunities to take this type of system and make it an operationally more aggressive and solid tool," Jackson said.

In an announcement related to port security, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) last Friday released a Request for Qualification for the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) to begin a two step competition for the program. Up until now TWIC has been a pilot demonstration that has been in limbo while DHS reviewed requirements for how best to vet transportation workers for security purposes. Once workers are vetted they will receive smart credentials which may include biometric identifiers.

Businesses will have five days to respond to the request with a qualification statement. Then TSA will downselect to the most qualified contractors for step two of the program, which will be release of a Request for Proposals by May 8.

The implementation phase of TWIC includes enrollments, help desk, system operation and maintenance of the Identity Management System (IDMS) and future IDMS enhancements.

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