Port Security: There's More to it Than Containers

Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Most port security discussions focus on a single challenge -- how to monitor container-ship cargos to ensure that exotic weapons -- nuclear, chemical or biological -- do not enter the United States. But that issue, while important, is only one of many in port security. Although compelling, it ignores the more basic fact that ports themselves are complex systems -- and like all complex systems, they are vulnerable to attacks using simple weapons coupled with imagination. And because ports are vital to the global economy, an attack that disrupts port traffic -- even for a few days or weeks -- could significantly affect the domestic and global economy.

Researchers and faculty at Stevens Institute of Technology, the engineering and science university, are taking a broad approach to port security -- looking at the full spectrum of vulnerabilities in the Port of New York and New Jersey, one of the largest and most complex ports in the world. They are designing systems and approaches that promise higher levels of protection to the port as a whole.

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