Recently the theft of a commercial vehicle south of our border in Mexico that contained radioactive material occurred. Although this truck did not make it to, or cross, our southern frontier, incidents such as this should motivate our national trade and security agencies to focus their collective attention on protecting the homeland from these types of threats. More specifically, an exhaustive inventory should be taken of the measures that are in place at present to protect us. This should be accompanied by a robust effort to identify and implement new technologies that will ensure our nation’s continued and future collective security.
Although we are told that U.S. border crossings have been fitted and equipped with sensors that are capable of detecting radioactive materials, the most modern and technologically advanced version of this equipment is yet to be completely installed. Having these sensors in place, and upgrading them is a good move, but it is not the only piece of the security puzzle that needs to be in place to ensure that our borders are optimally safe.
C-TPAT, or the Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism, is a “trusted shippers’ program that functions as a result of cooperation between the private sector international trade community and U.S. Customs. Collaborative efforts such as this public-private partnership also add to tightening the security related to what crosses back and forth between Mexico and the United States. Even though this program is in place, a large number of comercial conveyances approach our southern border on a daily basis for which there is no visibility or intelligence on. We don’t know what is being carried, who the driver is, or if the contents of the vehicle have been stolen. Next generation technology does exist, however, that can shed some light on some of the aforementioned blind spots.
Firms such as the Tecma Group of Companies’ Secure Origins have designed and implemented tools that greatly increase the “situational awareness” connected to the comings and goings of commercial vehicles in the U.S. – Mexico border commercial zone. These tools give authorities and others in the trade community insight into crossing patterns of specific vehicles, and the drivers that man them, as well as a intelligence related to inspection history and other behavioral information that can be indicative of real and potential foul play.
The loss of dangerous items such as radioactive material is of serious concern. The need to prevent this kind and other kinds of threatening cargo from crossing our national boundaries is a serious priority. The technolgy exists to minimize risk, and maximize international trade security. We should use it.
The source for this post is Fox News Latino