CUSTOMS OFFICIAL: TECHNOLOGY WILL ENHANCE NATIONAL AND TRADE SECURITY
A U.S. Customs official told customs brokers and trade industry executives that technological developments play a key role in national security.
Charles Armstrong, executive director of the U.S. Customs modernization office, applauded the recent Congressional funding allotted for the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE), and said that the more high technology the U.S. employs in Customs procedure, the greater national safety will be.
Armstrong said he would like to see ACE up and running within four years, but that is contingent on coordination between the trade community, brokers and the Customs. “We need to get together as one cohesive team” to make ACE a success. 'We cannot implement this just as an electronic component.”
Armstrong added that, as versatile as it is, technology presents its own intimidation. “Many of us struggle to understand the power of technology,” he said. “It’s a challenge for us because much of the work we do today is predicated on the way Customs was set up 200 years ago.”
He added that the Trade Support Network (TSN) is a focal point between Customs and the trade community. Armstrong said the TSN has developed an architecture for both entities to build upon.
When ACE is fully developed, the U.S. customs environment will resemble Internet-like applications and technologies, he said. This would make obsolete current technology, which he called “green-screen” technology. The new technology of ACE will monitor trade better while strengthening national security. “We need to create an environment that creates safety for the next generation,” he said. “I think ACE is a part of that.”