Homeland Security: Summary of Challenges Faced in Targeting Oceangoing Cargo Containers for Inspection

GAO-04-557T Published: Mar 31, 2004. Publicly Released: Mar 31, 2004.
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After the attacks of September 11, 2001, concerns intensified that terrorists would attempt to smuggle a weapon of mass destruction into the United States. One possible method is to use one of the 7 million cargo containers that arrive at our seaports each year. Addressing the potential threat posed by the movement of oceangoing cargo containers falls to the Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Since CBP cannot inspect all arriving cargo containers, it uses a targeting strategy, including an Automated Targeting System. This system targets containers for inspection based on perceived level of risk. In this testimony, GAO summarizes its work on (1) whether the development of CBP's targeting strategy is consistent with recognized key risk management and modeling practices and (2) how well the strategy has been implemented at selected seaports.

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