In its article dated July 21, 2010, GAO did a study to examine the underlying concerns on Maritime Security with respect to waterways, vessels, and ports. The purpose of this study was to highlight how an attack on these channels of transport would cause an extensive influence on the economy and universal trade at large. The testimony of the article aimed at discussing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the progress of its component agencies and the challenges left with respect to four factors. These include enhancing risk management, mitigating the risk of threats entailing small-vessel threats, executing foreign vessel evaluations, and improving supply chain safety (GAO, July, 2010).
GAO’s other article whose expected release was February 7, 2012, dealt largely with the fourth issue of its previous article; supply chain security. The significance of this article lies in GAO’s findings on cargo containers and the need to improve supply chain security. In light of this, the reason as to why this study was executed was because of the vulnerability of cargo containers that are a constituent of the universal supply chain to terrorists’ threats. Therefore, the bid to strengthen the maritime transportation security channelled the contents of this article. Critical factors addressed included the attempts to assemble advance details concerning shipments to explore risks, the technologies employed to safeguard the containers’ integrity and the technology applied to scan them. These efforts also involved the need to address the status of endeavors to scan 100% of the United States-bound containers (GAO, February, 2012).
Infrastructure, Safety, and Environment, is an article by RAND Organization that seeks to address the evaluation of the feasibility of 100% container inspection at the United States of America’s ports. This can be compared to GAO’s article as stated above that sought to tackle this concern. In spite of this, RAND examines this matter through various approaches such as the cost-benefit analysis. The contents of this article also revolve around three questions raised that involve contemporary technology effectiveness, impacts of policy decisions, and productive technological improvements.
The article by GAO concerning the progress and challenges encountered after the enactment of the Maritime Transportation Security Act is all-inclusive. It contains bits and wits of the other three articles. This is because the study incorporates a discussion of the progress made by Maritime Security over the decade since the Act was passed in 2002. For that reason, this article addresses intricate issues for a period of ten years as compared to the previous articles with no precise time-frames (GAO, September, 2012). In addition, the study tackles the challenges that were also pinpointed in the 2010 article, precisely, those related with DHS and its constituent agencies in executing the programs affiliated with maritime security. It also examines the progress made by the federal government over the ten-year period in fostering improvements with regards to maritime security.
The first article discussed in this context by GAO drew various distinct conclusions based on the study. This includes the conclusion that the DHS, including the United States’ Coast Guard Customs and Border Protection (CBP), among other entities have has progressed in enhancing its risk management approaches (GAO, July, 2010).. This is through actions aimed at establishing a firm connection between national and local risk assessment efforts. Through this action, ties can be strengthened between local assessment efforts like are maritime security aims and plans and national risk evaluation activities. GAO also recommends that the Coast Guard should make sure that the procedures for accessing alternatives and facilitating management decisions reflect on the most efficient utilization of resources.
In the February 2012 article, GAO concluded that DHS has made significant progress in the implementation of technologies in an effort to improve container security. Unlike the previous article discusses, the conclusion drawn in this context relates to supply chain security. In addition to that, other core information obtained indicates that the 100% scanning entails uncertainty. GAO recommends that CBP should perform an assessment to unravel whether the 100% scanning is viable and what is the most appropriate way to achieve it (GAO, February, 2012). If the feasibility studies indicate that the scanning is not viable, then it is fundamental for CBP to present conventional options.
The conclusions drawn in the September 2012 by GAO partially focus on the findings drawn by its October 2009 report. This indicates the recommendations for DHS to conduct feasibility and cost-benefit analyses and present the outcomes to Congress. In their findings, GAO noted that CBP and DHS have not carried out a feasibility evaluation of 100% scanning and therefore, there are no recommendations made in this issue (GAO, September, 2012). Nonetheless, the conclusion indicates that GAO will keep on monitoring CBP and DHS actions that can tackle this recommendation.
RAND drew findings through the cost-benefit approach and came up with conclusions that GAO did not derive. This includes the affirmation that the adoption of a policy of 100% scanning with contemporary technology is not feasible due to the restrictions on personnel and land. It also states that a region developed for upcoming study is the influence of 100% scanning on deterrence. The base policy supposed that 5% of incoming containers were picked at a random way for scanning. RAND also discovered that the port region for inspection and scanning was a fundamental influence of the viability of a policy.
RAND (n.d). Infrastructure, safety, and environment. Retrieved from http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/reprints/2006/RAND_RP1220.pdf
United States Government Accountability Office (GAO). (February, 2012). Container security programs have matured, but uncertainty persists over the future of 100 percent scanning. Retrieved from http://www.gao.gov/assets/590/588253.pdf
United States Government Accountability Office (GAO). (September, 2012). Progress and challenges 10 years after the Maritime Transportation Security Act. Retrieved from http://gao.gov/assets/650/647999.pdf
United States Government Accountability Office (GAO). (July, 2010). DHS progress and challenges in key areas of port security. Retrieved from http://www.gao.gov/assets/130/125051.pdf