Friday, 4 April 2008

US CBP suspends GTX Program

A senior U.S. Customs and Border Protection official said this week that CBP has suspended its plans to develop a global trade exchange system that would have expanded the amount of trade data collected by the agency. In his prepared testimony for an April 3 hearing of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, Deputy Commissioner Jay Ahern also recommended that 100 percent scanning of U.S.-bound maritime cargo containers be limited to high-risk trade lanes. Ahern discussed the progress CBP has made in implementing its various supply chain security programs, but he pointed out that these efforts are focused on the ocean environment and that there are other areas that need to be addressed as well.
Ahern told the committee that after considering comments from the trade community CBP has concluded that “further consideration of the GTX concept is premature at this time and may not be a prudent use of limited resources.” CBP is still finalizing its so-called 10+2 security filing, which will require additional data elements from importers and vessel carriers, and Ahern indicated that CBP will assess the benefits of that initiative before going ahead with efforts to gather even more supply chain information.GTX was envisioned as a privately operated, self-sustaining (e.g., user-fee based) system that would collect commercial transaction data not currently available to CBP from parties in the supply chain who have contracted or provided services for the production or movement of international shipments. CBP officials said this additional information would allow the agency to be more precise in identifying risks and to thus conduct fewer and better-targeted cargo inspections. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff characterized GTX as a preemptive move designed to forestall congressional efforts to impose strict supply chain security mandates, like 100 percent physical inspection, that could hinder the flow of trade. The trade community, however, has consistently expressed concerns about what information would be required, who would have access to it and how GTX would benefit supply chain security and the participating companies.

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Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Seriously Flawed Decision-Making

I found this article written by James Giermanski under, where you can find the full article. Here an extract:


Recently I met with a small group of former FBI agents at a monthly
breakfast. The conversations, usually connected to past Bureau activities,
moved to the discussion and criticism of Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
and Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The flavor of comments follow:
they’re out of touch with industry in the container security area; they’re in
the pocket of big business; they lack vision; they’re arrogant; and they don’t
have leadership; they lack talent; and more. However, while some old crusty
ex-agents said it was “all of the above,” the consensus, if there was one, was
that the fundamental problem within the Department was weak and sometimes flawed
leadership. While I would expect those comments about DHS from a
competitive agency, thinking about the breakfast discussion later that day, it
occurred to me that, perhaps, this really is a core problem, especially with
container security. Therefore, I put together three examples of what I
believe represents seriously flawed decision-making important to our security
and reflective of questionable and inept leadership within the
Department. All examples involve decision-making tied to container
security. The first example involves leadership incongruence within DHS as
demonstrated by CBP’s focus on and fascination with the electronic sensing of
“doors only” access or entry into a sealed container. The second is the
commitment to radio frequency (RF) devices for container security such as either
RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tags already in use at our ports, or
according to CBP’s Request for Information (RFI) dated December 12, 2007,
the potential use of Bluetooth-related technology using prescribed frequency
ranges published and available through the Federal Communications Commission
(FCC). The third example is CBP’s incredible reliance on import security
programs with their inherent core concern for “inbound” container security to
the exclusion of “export” container security. Only short examples of
each of these three fixations will or should demonstrate the level of competent
leadership within DHS, perhaps making credible the talk around the former
agents’ breakfast table.

Full article