Following are remarks (as prepared) by Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security James Loy at the National Cargo Security Council Annual Convention, held June 15, 2004 in Las Vegas
Thank you for that introduction; it is a pleasure to be with you again for this important conference. One year ago, we all met like this in Nashville and I joked that I might try to get a gig on Nashville Star, singing some cheesy country song about testifying on Capitol Hill. It’s too bad the TV show CSI isn’t actually filmed here in Vegas. With this group in town, we could do an episode that highlights the Cargo Security Initiative – call it CSI on CSI.
When I actually got around to saying something of substance last year, I spoke a bit about the “complacency gene” that we all have – the tendency to default into a careless loss of focus. Well, I bet if those CSI folks ran some tests, they would still find evidence that it exists.
We now have another year’s worth of attacks – in Madrid, Istanbul, Baghdad, and in Saudi Arabia – that indicate we must continue to fight that complacency and maintain an unprecedented level of vigilance in everything we do.
I keep a photograph in my office that was taken from a helicopter over Ground Zero just a few days after the tragedy of 9-11. The destruction is overwhelming. It is a solemn call to action and a vivid reminder that our emotions must not be dulled by the passage of time--in short, a constant repression of the complacency gene.
While terrorism is not a new phenomenon, we must recognize that in the 21st Century, it is different, fundamentally different. It is not the localized terrorism of Ireland or even the Middle East. It is something very different and something much more sinister. We are only beginning to learn about it.
We now face an enemy with no flag, no borders, no president, nothing but deeply held hatred and a desire to see our country – and our citizens – harmed. Many of us pondered in the middle of the 90’s, what’s the “next big thing”? I think that question is now answered.
Terrorists, after all, were able to turn airplanes into missiles, with an “army” of fewer than two dozen men, and a budget of less than a half million dollars. They showed that they are adaptable, patient, and opportunistic. But they also showed that fear, catastrophic destruction and mass murder are their clear objectives. They also understand the importance of our economic underpinnings to democracy and to our quality of life. They are smart, thoughtful, and capable as well as totally without moral foundation.
So to secure our country, we understood that we would have to become increasingly adaptable, rapidly innovative, and decisively responsive. In other words, we would have to fight this 21st Century enemy in a 21st Century way. What that means, we continue to unravel. That’s OK. We work at it daily and very hard – and as we do, the picture gets clearer and clearer.
That clearer picture increasingly means partnerships. Secretary Ridge has said time and again, we cannot secure the homeland from Washington, D.C. We must engage the entire country – state, local and tribal governments, first responders, the private sector, and concerned citizens everywhere. Homeland security is not a federal strategy; it is a national call to action.
The private sector has an important role to play in our efforts to secure the homeland – and I appreciate your willingness to take on the many responsibilities that have been placed on your shoulders.
The Private Sector subcommittee of our Advisory Council met recently to forge their agenda – and notions of partnership dominated their discussion.
I don’t have to tell you that 85% of the critical infrastructure in this country is owned by the private sector. I don’t have to tell you what an important role the private sector has in responding to disasters of all varieties – whether wrought by man or Mother Nature. I don’t have to tell you the role the private sector plays in providing the tools, technologies, and best practices that are being used today – and developed for tomorrow – to protect our homeland.
I don’t have to tell you how important the contributions of the private sector are to planning, preparation, and policy making that occurs at the federal, state, and local level. I don’t have to tell you that the private sector helps to keep us safe, by keeping our economy moving forward.
And I especially don’t have to tell you about the role you each play--moving goods, delivering products on time, and remaining watchful for suspicious activity in and around your facilities and fleets.
But I do need to tell you to keep up the good work, encourage your members and employees to remain vigilant, and share your story with others in your community. The new slogan for this town is: “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” But it cannot be true in this room. Instead, what happens here at this conference must not stay here, but instead must be taken back to your colleagues, co-workers, communities, and even your competition.
We are all in this together, and we cannot afford anything less than full participation and frequent communication. Complacency is the ally of the terrorist. We must hold onto our sense of urgency.
I assure you that we are at DHS. We must secure nearly 7,500 miles of land border with Canada and Mexico, across which more than 500 million people, 130 million motor vehicles, and 2.5 million rail cars pass every year. We also patrol almost 95,000 miles of shoreline and navigable waters, and 361 ports that see 8,000 foreign flag vessels, 9 million containers of cargo, and nearly 200 million cruise and ferry passengers every year.
We have some 422 primary airports and another 124 commercial service airports that see 30,000 flights and 1.8 million passengers every day. There are approximately 110,000 miles of highway and 220,000 miles of rail track that cut across our nation, and 590,000 bridges dotting America’s biggest cities and smallest towns.
That is just a thumbnail of the vast infrastructure that supports the largest and most efficient economy in the world – with more than $11 trillion in Gross Domestic Product.
Your task is equally great, and your urgency equally strong. As a group, you move everything from lipstick to light bulbs, from computer chips to chocolate chips, not to mention people! You pack, stack, transport and transmit the world’s commerce, and you do it safely, securely, on-time, and on-budget. You use the same roadways, railways, waterways, and skyways – so we must work together to secure these modes of transportation – and, along with them, our vital supply chain from point of origin to point of destination.
I am pleased to report, 16 months after President Bush and Congress created the Department of Homeland Security
, we have made significant strides in securing these, and other, areas of importance. Let me take a moment to detail some of what we have accomplished together over the past year – accomplishments, I might add, that are critical for both our security and for your businesses.
Together, we took immediate and extensive measures to enhance aviation security. In less than a year, we deployed newly trained screeners, thousands of federal air marshals and state-of-the-art technologies, which, from the curb to the cockpit, have made airline travel safer. This dimension of our work alone could occupy the rest of my comments.
In addition, as part of TSA’s Air Cargo Strategic Plan, we began random inspections of air cargo on flights within, into, and out of the United States
, and required foreign all-cargo air carriers to comply with the same security procedures that domestic air carriers must follow.
We strengthened security at our borders – welcoming the free flow of trade and travelers, but keeping terrorists out. We unified the inspection process – presenting “one face” at the border – and in doing so, nurtured better morale, improved service, and shorter delays.
We hired hundreds of new inspectors at our borders and ports, and gave them new tools so they could do their jobs more efficiently and safely. In addition to the gamma-ray inspection machines that can scan an entire sea container within 2 to 3 minutes, and nearly 10,000 hand-held PRDs, or Personal Radiation Detectors, we are now deploying sophisticated radiation portal monitors at all major seaports.
We have taken extensive measures to secure our transportation systems, including partnering with trucking associations to train highway professionals to identify and report safety and security situations on our nation’s roads. On the railways, DHS now requires advance electronic information of commercial cargo, as we do for all modes of transport, and we screen high-risk rail containers through our National Targeting Center.
And as most of you know, we significantly expanded the nation's container security initiative. The result: as I speak today, there is an inspector in Vancouver, in Rotterdam, in Hong Kong, and 14 other ports of trade, working alongside our allies to target and screen the nearly 20,000 containers of cargo that arrive at our ports every single day.
In another DHS venue, we realize that no one is more important to homeland security than our first responders. In the event of an attack or tragedy, they are likely the first on the scene and invariably the last to leave. That is why we allocated or awarded a record $8 billion to states, regions and cities to help train and equip our nation's dedicated first responders on the front lines of homeland security in our hometowns and neighborhoods--just last year alone, and $13 billion since 2002.
Security professionals – like so many of you in this room – have also become first responders. You know best what is happening at your facilities, you keep your eyes open for unusual or suspicious behavior, and you can – and must – report any potential situations to local authorities. Not to mention, you could very well be the first – and most valuable – person on the scene of a crisis at one of your facilities.
We have worked with you – and many other partners across the country – to layer additional security measures in a manner that safeguards your businesses, protects our homes, and secures our homeland.
All of this additional security, of course, is expensive and the costs must be shared. Though no cost is as great as that of human lives lost, as we build and explain a new security paradigm to the country, we must do so while minimizing any negative impacts on commerce and insisting on good stewardship of the taxpayer’s invested dollar.
Let me give you some specific examples:
As you know, the Department of Homeland Security has been working to better monitor the nearly 7 million containers of cargo entering our nation’s ports – representing almost half of the value of our incoming international trade. Trying to determine which, if any, of these might pose a threat to the United States is like trying to find the proverbial needle in a haystack.
Opening every single container would grind our imports to a halt, while letting them all go would be an egregious security lapse. The solution, it turns out, is to remove much of the haystack from the needle by streamlining known good cargo in “green lanes” or FAST Lanes (Free and Secure Trade) and focusing our detection resources on the smaller subset of cargo that cannot be facilitated in this manner.
In this case, we are improving commerce by reducing wait times at our borders and ports and streaming good cargo into the country. And we are achieving it by forging a non-traditional partnership, bringing national security information together with proprietary commercial data. Only by harmonizing the efforts of the public and private sector are we able to make our analytical products effective enough to allow this improvement to both our economy and our security.
The same can be said for C-TPAT, which provides business incentives to companies that voluntarily meet a set of government-approved security standards. More than 6,000 importers, carriers, and brokers – including many of you – are now enrolled and enjoying the benefits of C-TPAT. I am pleased to report that one of the conference sponsors – Traffic World magazine – reports that C-TPAT has “drawn some of the strongest praise business has ever heaped on a government program.”
But we are not the only ones making the business case for homeland security! I truly believe that shippers and customers are looking for the increased reliability that comes with enhanced security. For example, the ocean carrier K Line recently reported a five-fold increase in productivity, which they directly attributed to CBP’s 24-Hour Rule [for advance reporting of container traffic.] They said the rule has had a positive effect in all sectors and trade lanes.
Of course, despite many successes, there is still plenty of work left to be done. As I mentioned, complacency cannot allow us to rest long on past accomplishments. Instead, we must continue to look for opportunities to work together to make our supply lines – and thus our Nation – more secure.
That is exactly what we are doing to implement the remaining aspects of the Maritime Transportation Security Acts – or MTSA – as they relate to improving container security. The Department has assembled a “cargo policy working group” in which everyone has a seat at the table – TSA, Customs and Border Protection, Coast Guard, and others throughout Homeland Security and the federal government. In addition, this group has reached out to the private sector, particularly through the Advisory Committee on Commercial Operations of Customs and Border Protection.
First, this working group is developing standards for seals and locks that protect containers from tampering – and thus further secure ports and businesses from attack or misuse. The result will be better physical security standards across the supply chain.
Second, they are collaborating to establish working standards for “secure systems of transportation” that look at the supply chain holistically
– from the point of origin to the destination – in order to apply a comprehensive framework for cargo security. One of the aspects of this process is the development of a “gap analysis” that will overlay existing efforts on a real-time picture of the supply chain. This will provide the department with a complete view of our programs, identify overlaps or holes in our activities, and inform our strategy for allocation of resources in the future.
Through Operation Safe Commerce, and with partners from C-TPAT, Homeland Security is also in the process of evaluating available technologies in the real world environment to help increase container security and prevent their use as vehicles to transport illicit materials. In addition to sealing standards and techniques, we are testing and evaluating the technology and design of a Container Security Device – a kind of electronic seal that would further guard against tampering.
Importantly, the working group is not only developing standards, but asking the question “are we safer?” They are incorporating performance metrics into container security – and other efforts to secure the supply chain – that will allow us to monitor our efforts and answer that ever critical question.
I am confident that on a macro-scale – across several sectors – we can answer in the affirmative. We are more secure today than we were yesterday – or a year ago – but we are determined to be even safer tomorrow.
Gathering our forces to meet this challenge is an all-hands effort, not unlike the Rosie the Riveters of WWII. Everyone must stand up and be counted. Some join the services and go to Afghanistan, others – like yourselves – marshal all initiative and innovation to improve security for our supply chain, for the cargo that drives the engine of our great economy, for our ports, roads, rail lines, and runways.
There is obviously still plenty of work left to be done – and we will only get there by continuing to work together – as partners, and as a unified nation.
In the battle against terrorism, the stakes have never been higher. We are fighting to preserve our freedoms, protect our families, and safeguard our way of life.
The freedom we inherit brings an obligation to pass it on to our children and grandchildren. We protect it while we’re on watch, so it can – in turn – be enjoyed by those we love the most.
Thank you for giving your best to ensure that the United States is – and continues to be – the world’s greatest home for freedom – and all who seek the blessings of liberty. We look forward to doing so together.