DOT SEEKS SECURITY ADVICE
Companies looking to assist the U.S. government in developing a business-friendly approach to security measures, technology and standards to combat terrorism should work through trade associations and standard-setting organizations to present unified and understandable solutions, top Department of Transportation officials said Thursday.
Deputy Transportation Secretary Michael Jackson also told corporate executives to go after homeland security contracts because the free enterprise system generates creative solutions to complex problems such as terrorism.
But 'it's important to network in the private sector and figure out what your interests are before you come to talk to government' so that officials are faced with a 'deluge of gizmo salesmen,' Jackson said at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce supply chain security symposium.
'Don't rely on the government to think through all the technical solutions and how your business works,' Jackson advised. In the freight transportation arena, the government needs to know about a conveyance, its driver and the contents so it can apply risk management techniques to the data and determine high-risk cargoes that require extra inspection.
'This is an industry problem to know what you are moving. You ought to figure out what you need to know about freight that will have a business utility' and then let law enforcement apply that data for homeland security needs, Jackson said. That way 'you've reversed the order of priority that should drive the thinking about these solutions.
'If we have to extract the information from your businesses we'll come up with procedures, create forms and paperwork' and other countries will follow the U.S. lead. 'Then you'll find you are confronted with impediments to your businesses (on a global scale) that will scramble your brains,' Jackson said.
When the Bush administration issues rules that have negative consequences on business, it is quick to make corrections, Jackson said. In cases where 'there is a clear business proposition, a sound business logic you can present to the government about why we ought to expedite that movement of freight' the administration is ready to listen.
Bruce Carlton, the Maritime Administration's acting deputy administrator, said 'trade associations are consistently our best resources on information.'
The ad hoc Container Working Group, which includes representatives from industry, has played a key role in shaping security policies ultimately adopted by the International Maritime Organization and World Customs Organization, Carlton said.