DHS maintains pursuit of Secure Freight
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security continues to actively pursue the second installment of the Secure Freight Initiative designed to better capture information about the pre-history of cargo for pre-arrival security vetting, Deputy Secretary Michael Jackson said Monday.
The information technology effort is designed to collect commercial transaction data from all parties in the supply chain who have contracted or provided services for the movement of the international shipment. Jackson’s brainchild, unveiled in November 2005, would use third-party entities to aggregate the data and make it available for DHS agencies to improve the risk analysis tools used to make determinations about shipments that need to be inspected or denied entry into the country.
“Later this year I hope we’ll see progress on this front,” Jackson said at the Homeland Security Science and Technology Conference in Washington, alluding to a possible request for proposals to establish a data fusion center operated by the private sector.
The first phase of Secure Freight is a pilot program in a half-dozen ports that will use integrated radiation and imaging detection technology to automatically check container shipments for harmful or illegal contents being smuggled into the country. The primary goal is to prevent terrorists from using the shipping system to slip a nuclear or radiological weapon into the United States and detonate it in a port or major urban area. The pilot program has begun at Port Cortes, Honduras and Port Qasim, Pakistan, and is being rolled out to several other locations through the summer.