Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

December 21, 2005

A review of post-9/11 port security

Filed under: Port and Maritime Security — by Christian Beckner on December 21, 2005

The Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management just posted their latest issue on their site. The main story in the new issue is entitled “U.S. Port Security Policy after 9/11: Overview and Evaluation.” You can download the report if you go to the site and register.

The narrative and survey section of the paper provides a good primer on both pre-9/11 port security initiatives as well as the evolving framework of the past four years,. It does a good job of explaining the various port security programs and their relation to one another.

The second half paper then turns to the question of the effectiveness of these various port security measures. The authors readily admit that this is a difficult thing to measure, given the complexity of the challenge and the relative lack of quantitative information.

They then highlight four criteria on which to judge port security activities:

1. Optimization: Do policies optimize security programs, resources, and activities?
2. Effectiveness: Will the plans and programs actually improve security?
3. Authority: Are the authorities and priorities clear for given missions?
4. Funding: Who will pay for this, and how?

They then make recommendations based upon those criteria. For example:

In the area of optimization, they create a “decision tree” model that can inform thinking about how to prioritize resources not only within port security but also against other security priorities.

On the issue of authority, they highlight two areas where unclear or duplicated authority – port security grants and identification cards – have delayed or impeded the effective implementation of security programs.

Overall, a solid paper, and worth a download.

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