Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

January 4, 2006

JOC interview with the director of C-TPAT

Filed under: Port and Maritime Security — by Christian Beckner on January 4, 2006

The latest issue of the Journal of Commerce contains an interview (not available online) with Todd Owen, the director of the Customs Trade Partnership against Terrorism (C-TPAT) program at CBP.

Owen makes a strong defense of C-TPAT’s progress during the past year in the interview:

Much of the criticism, such as that contained in a scathing May 2005 report by the Government Account-ability Office, focused on the lack of minimum standards and weaknesses in the audit program. Owen said both issues were addressed in 2005, with new minimum standards issued in March and the number and quality of validations significantly expanded….

“We’ve really had a strong year in terms of increasing the validations,” Owen said. “Some critics said this was a trust-but-don’t-verify program. We’ve turned it into a trust-and-verify program, and our numbers show that.”

The interview also highlights the extent to which CBP inspectors are now conducting validations on a global basis:

Validations are extending to overseas facilities, both owned and just affiliated with importers. Customs validators were recently in Pakistan, where they visited 18 facilities, accompanied by representatives of the C-TPAT company and often by local law enforcement for protection, not supervision. “They (the Pakistanis) are very supportive,” Owen said.

I’ve been a big fan of the C-TPAT concept since its inception, and I’m glad to see it finally solidifying as a program and fulfilling its key role in supply chain security.

There’s a lot of other good detail about the program in the story. Read it if you can get a copy.

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