The air travel system remains one of the most high-profile targets for terrorists. This backgrounder examines efforts to improve aviation security since the 9/11 attacks.
This report focuses on information sharing in the federal effort to secure US ports against a potential terrorist attack. The Coast Guard has lead responsibility in coordinating maritime information sharing efforts. The Coast Guard has established area maritime security committees--forums that involve federal and nonfederal officials who identify and address risks in a port. The Coast Guard and other agencies have sought to further enhance information sharing and port security operations by establishing interagency operational centers--command centers that tie together the efforts of federal and nonfederal participants. This testimony is a summary and update to an April 2005 report, and identifies barriers that have hindered information sharing.
According to this July 2006 report, the GAO conducted an investigation testing whether radioactive sources could be smuggled across US borders. GAO purchased a small amount of radioactive sources and one secure container used to safely store and transport the material from a commercial source over the telephone. GAO's investigators, using counterfeit documents, were able to enter the United States with enough radioactive sources in the trunks of their vehicles to make two dirty bombs. GAO investigators were able to successfully represent themselves as employees of a fictitious company present a counterfeit bill of lading and a counterfeit NRC document during the secondary inspections at both locations. The CBP inspectors never questioned the authenticity of the investigators' counterfeit bill of lading or the counterfeit NRC document authorizing them to receive, acquire, possess, and transfer radioactive sources.
This report from the GAO examines the systems used by the Transportation Security Administration to screen all checked baggage for explosive devices or traces. The report finds that the TSA did not follow sound contracting practices in administering contracts for explosive screening. As a result, the TSA does not have reasonable assurance that contractors are performing as required and that full payment is justified based on meeting mean downtime requirements.
Henry Farrell, a political science assistant professor at The George Washington University, says the European Court of Justice's recent ruling against an agreement with the United States to share airline passenger data is merely "an internal EU dust-up." He says the deal is likely to be renegotiated with the same terms but stronger legal footing.
The U.S. Congress has signaled intentions to tighten scrutiny over foreign investments in the United States. Legislators point to national security concerns but critics warn of economic nationalism.
President Bush proposes sending 6,000 National Guard troops to the border with Mexico as part of a major speech on immigration reform. Critics say the move is a politically motivated attempt to boost the president's sagging ratings.
The central finding of this report is that federal government has had a naïve view of what the market is able to do when left largely on its own to protect critical infrastructure.
In the aftermath of the Dubai ports deal, President Bush's approval rating has hit a new low and his image for honesty and effectiveness has been damaged. Yet the public uncharacteristically has good things to say about the role that Congress played in this high-profile Washington controversy.
Stephen Flynn leads a discussion with homeland security experts Kenneth Damstrom, Daniel Prieto, and Nancy Wong as part of the 2006 Corporate Conference.
Testimony of Dr. James Jay Carafano on port security and foreign-owned maritime infrastructure.
Dubai Ports World has agreed to divest itself of its U.S. ports holdings that were the focal point of a firestorm in Congress over the last two weeks. Though the move should calm immediate fears, the larger questions of port security and foreign control of U.S. infrastructure are likely to linger.
Stephen Flynn testifies before the Committee on Armed Services on the DP World controversy and the ongoing vulnerability of U.S. seaports.
Administration officials have not done a good job explaining why Americans should worry about U.S. port security and what needs to be done to secure the maritime domain. Now that the Administration has Americans’ attention on this issue, it needs toaddress the heart of the matter.
Critics of the Dubai Ports World deal are focusing on the wrong ports. The place of maximum danger to the United States is at the port of embarkation, where cargo is loaded on its way to our shores, not where the cargo is offloaded. By then it will be too late.
Leading U.S. policy experts have identified energy and climate change as issues vital to economic and national security. CFR's research, meetings, interviews, backgrounders, and interactive content provide an essential source of analysis on these issues.