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Cargo Security to Protect the Nation

After the attack by terrorists in 2001, the Department of Homeland Security has taken various measures to protect the nation from an even bigger attack by terrorists as they are capable of using weapons of mass destruction. The department has taken the initiative of launching the security measures of inspecting airports outside the US, to counter the threat posed by missiles especially the handheld missiles, consequently an office has been set up to facilitate this course. The department has also beefed up security on the US territories and overseas.

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The major areas the department has focused on are the borderline, air, and seas. The department is also focusing on intelligence, as new specialists and experienced analysts recruited to boost the intelligence capability. Other intelligence agencies have also been brought aboard. The CIA, FBI, and TTIC (Terrorist Threat Information Center) are being consulted and involved in major operations and initiatives. Information and technology have been greatly adopted, with experts stationed in different parts of the country, so that the department will be capable of making predictions and warnings in advance of a possible terrorist activity.

Nuclear attack on freight transport industry would cause devastating and long-lasting effects on the US and the rest of the world in general. The world economy depends immensely on safe international transport and trade routes and equipments. An attack on the US system would affect about twenty percent that is about two trillion dollars on the economy.

If an attack was carried out on one of the major trading areas like New York, it is estimated that about 200 billion dollars value on trade would be incurred, about half a trillion dollars in property loss and up to a million lives could be lost Internationally, the effects and long terms effects are projected to be even greater. The method of dealing with such a huge magnitude would overwhelm the international community and many nations would fall into too deep economic crisis. (Slater, 1999)

The CRS report for congress addressed the threat posed by terrorists especially on ports especially containers. The report mainly highlights the importance of checking oil tankers as terrorists might plant an atomic bomb. An oil tanker with an atomic bomb could be detonated in a port, which would paralyze economic activities. Congress is urged to preview the laws governing oil tankers or make laws that are aimed at placing more security concerns on oil tankers. International cooperation should also be fostered to ensure that shipments are inspected at all ports around the world. Offshore ports should also be constructed to discourage tankers from the main ports (Medalia, 2004).

The U.S. Marine Transportation System of 1999 was made up of complex components. The system comprise of ports, waterways, various diverse system users, vessels of all sorts and sizes, vehicles and intermodal connections. Though each component operates under its guidelines, the components supplement one another and are closely linked. The market place is the major influencer of the system, which is managed by the various stakeholders namely the national, state and local governments. The system has made the US the leading maritime and trading nation on earth. However, the system needs major policy change as the American companies become more and more competitive, terrorism has also increased, and the world population is increasing rapidly. There is also a major shift in Information Technology and thus the system needs to change too, to maintain its leading stature. (Ritter et al, 2007)

Reference List

Medalia, J. (2004). CRS Report for Congress. Washington, D.C.: Congressional Research Service.

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Ritter, L et al (2007). Securing global transportation networks: a total security management approach. New York: McGraw-Hill Companies.

Slater, R. (1999). An assessment of the U.S. Marine transportation System. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Transportation.

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