Wednesday, February 22, 2006

U.S. Ports - Concern Yes / Panic No

Politics and overreaction at its finest. A U.K. port management firm sells its interest in a handful of a portion (~30%) of a few major U.S. ports to a major Dubai-based port management firm. All of a sudden, this has become a major security concern. All it does is raise a question about our strategy for our ports.

Many U.S. ports are managed by non-U.S. firms. This is not saying that port security is outsourced; as that is not the case. The concern is over a company from a Middle Eastern ally with known ties to terrorist.

The U.S. should address the problem with a long-term strategic plan. Security vs our economic interests should be considered.

This issue has been blown out of proportion. These issues always do, epecially in election years. Seeing the Democrats concerned over this proves the point becasue they could care less about national security. The bigger problem with our ports is the lack of inspection of the contents. Is it possible to inspect all containers and packages using the best resources out there? Sure? Do we want to spend the money and incur the delays? Maybe not.

There's a trade-off between risk and countermeasures. We must analyze risk, determine the appropriate countermeasures, and make a determination of the level of risk we can accept. A company from a country with know terrorist ties should be evaluated. Politically, it does not look good even though the company can probably to a good and fair job.