The absolute deterrent …
The Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) is an identification system intended to cover some 750,000 port workers and was supposed to be put in place in 2003, but it wasn’t. Looking back at a USNews.com report dated 3/27/06, entitled, “Walking and Chewing Gum”, we read what Harold Evans had to say about the matter.
“We are coming to the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and the fourth year since Congress authorized the money,” he wrote. “Some $ 70 million has been spent developing the card if you include the $ 24 million testing a prototype. So where is it? It’s with the same folks who did such a heck of a job after Hurricane Katrina, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Charles Armstrong of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection says the trial of the technology last year was satisfactory, but it must now be decided who will manufacture and distribute the cards, who will pay for them, and what type of computer systems should track the entry and exit. It seems these Homeland Security people have never learned to walk and chew gum at the same time.
“The card system was supposed to be ready two years ago. Now Stewart Baker, the assistant secretary for policy and planning, has testified he ‘can’t say’ when the cards will be distributed. It may be 2007 before the department can even issue notice of the proposed rules. The maritime industry and port authorities are frustrated because they want their own credentialing to match federal rules.”
Billions of dollars have been spent on useless endeavors such as TWIC, but the truth is, those billions have been thrown away. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, the Chairwoman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said as much when she stated, “We do need to extend our borders and push the threat from our shores. But the implementation has been flawed and thus cannot deliver on the promise of the programs.”
It’s not the implementation that’s flawed, Senator, it’s the very programs initiated by the DHS.
“Port security today is still a house of cards,” said Stephen E. Flynn, a retired U.S. Coast Guard Commander. “For each of these programs, the bar is not very high and there is very little in the way of verification. The result is it is not much of an effective deterrent.”
Sen. Collins is right about pushing the threat from our shores, and knowing that an effective deterrent is still not in the works because, as of 6/11/07, the TWIC ‘implementation’ has been postponed again, we would like to remind our readers that the effective deterrent sought … the absolute deterrent … can be found in our patented shipboard storage and retrieval systems. By examining U.S. Patent Number 5,860,783 and U.S. Patent Number 6,077,019, it can readily be seen that each and every container within a container ship retrofitted with our patented system can be scanned using technology such as Radiation Portal Monitors or even the new ICI System. Suspect containers, as we’ve pointed out, would be disposed of at sea without a moment’s hesitation, and the threat of such a disposal would prove to be the effective … and absolute … deterrent.