A top Homeland Security
official acknowledged it is nearly impossible to police goods
made in foreign countries before they arrive at ports to be shipped
to the United States, Federal Computer Week reported.
That is why shippers must
comply with security rules before goods reach a U.S. port, said
Asa Hutchinson, undersecretary for Border and Transportation Security
at the Department of Homeland Security.
He said officials are testing
a transportation worker identification system that would provide
ID cards to dock workers, truckers and others at ports after they
undergo a background check. A pilot project for the Transportation
Worker Identification Card system is under way in Philadelphia
and Los Angeles. The program is being developed by the Transportation
provide the means of opportunity for terrorists," Hutchinson
said, while speaking in New York at the U.S. Maritime Security
Expo, "and disruption of the supply chain would be devastating."
With 361 ports in the United
States and 7,500 foreign flagged vessels arriving each year, DHS
must make sure the maritime system is protected. Technology is
essential in that effort, Hutchinson added.
"Technology is the
cornerstone, particularly in maritime security," he said.
Meanwhile, the Coast Guard
is developing unmanned aerial surveillance, and private shippers
are starting to provide advance manifests and conduct their own
Nevertheless, the supply
chain is still vulnerable and could face disruption at any point,