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New survey on European postal security

PostEurop and Cross-border Research Association have launched a new online survey on postal security management to promote further development and implementation of best security practices in the postal sector. The survey is part of the ongoing SAFEPOST project that the European Commission is co-funding under the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). SAFEPOST project going to finish in the end of July after four years of work towards higher postal security in the European Union.

The survey studies the current state of postal security management among PostEurop members, 52 postal operators in 49 European countries. The goal is to collect responses mainly from security and safety managers of the PostEurop members, but also postal expert familiar with sorting and distribution processes are welcome to provide their inputs. The first part of the survey focuses on security implementation and security performance, and the second part studies postal managers’ expectations and concerns regarding the following six main SAFEPOST innovations:

Common Postal Security Space:

SAFEPOST has created an online platform for sharing security-related information between postal operators. This Common Postal Security Space provides a digital track record of security controls and related evidence (for example X-ray images) that a postal parcel has encountered over its journey, and facilitates an easy and controlled way to exchange information both with other operators as well as the authorities.

D-tube drug screening station:

SAFEPOST has demonstrated a new screening solution, D-tube, that can be fully integrated into the sorting process. The D-Tube’s prototype detects illegal substances, such as narcotics and explosives, at high accuracy.

Explosive detection system:

SAFEPOST has demonstrated a Raman spectroscopy screening device for detecting trace amounts of explosives and explosive precursors on the outside of postal items. The device is designed to be seamlessly integrated, at the same level as X-ray machines already used today, in the sorting process and detect the explosive threats at a high accuracy and at a low false alarm rate (≈ 1 %).

Image recognition system:

SAFEPOST has developed an Image Recognition solution that photographs five visible sides of a postal parcel at one or more locations in the postal network. The solution compares these images to detect signs of tampering or damage (≈ 92% detection rate). The current solution functions properly when the conveyor belt moves no faster than 0.5 m/s.

Radiological screening:

SAFEPOST has demonstrated detection of radiation in moving parcels, that can be fully integrated into the sorting process. The current version of the detector is able to detect any harmful level of radiation, and identify the radioactive isotope, and when possible to consider effects of possible attempts of hiding the radioactivity with lead or other shielding material by detecting neutron radiation.

Security standard and certificate:

SAFEPOST project is working towards a new European security standard for the postal operators that would give recommendations about use of security inspection technologies, exchange of security-related information, cyber security, and key security performance indicators. This standard would pave the road towards a voluntary security certification program that would help the postal operators to show their commitment to security.

This survey research is expected to produce interesting new insights about postal security activities and security performance among the PostEurop members. If the response rate is high, the survey findings will set a basis for pan-European benchmarking of security activities. The findings would also contribute to smart policy making, legislation, and standardisation in the field of postal security.

Finally, depending on the response rate, CBRA is going to publish an academic journal paper based on the results. Building on solid theory on supply chain security risk management, the journal paper would provide new empirical about how supply chain security implementation is associated operational and security performance. We expect that collaborative security measures improve both on-time delivery performance (a proxy for operational performance) and supply chain security performance simultaneously. Collaborative security measures include survey items such as “we coordinate security activities with our business customers” and “we exchange customs declaration information with customs authorities electronically [for example, ITMATT or CUSITM messages]”. Another hypothesis is that, on the one hand, non-collaborative security contributes to supply chain security performance but decrease on-time delivery performance on the other hand. Examples of such non-collaborative measures include “we use tamper-evident mail bags to transport high-value postal items” and “We perform security controls also on non-airmail items to detect explosives.” The figure below summarises the theory and hypotheses of the research paper.

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Figure 1 Theoretical framework of the SAFEPOST survey paper

The survey findings will be presented in the final SAFEPOST meeting in Madrid 5-6 July 2016. After the meeting, we hope that we can expand the scope of the survey to cover the rest of the world, as well. The next step would be to contact representatives of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) and coordinate distribution of the survey into the organisations’ 192 member countries.

 

SIECA delegation visiting Europe in June 2015

I had a great pleasure to be the lead host for a 12 person SIECA delegation visit to Europe in June 2015. We spent two days in the Netherlands, one day in Belgium and two days in Switzerland in an action-packed tour, visiting several border areas, governmental offices and beyond.

The idea to organize a one-week customs and international trade visit tour to Europe first came when Mr. Roman Stoll from the Federal Customs Administration of Switzerland and I paid a four-day visit at the SIECA Secretariat in Guatemala City in March 2015. There we had several meetings and discussions on World Trade Organization´s Trade Facilitation Agreement, WTO TFA, implementation plans with the SIECA management – Ms. Carmen Gisela Vergara Mas and Mr. Javier Gutierrez; with Customs management and experts from all the six SIECA member countries; and with representatives of the Intra-American Development Bank. Some weeks after the Guatemala-visit, SIECA and IDB confirmed the willingness to come over to Europe, to learn about good practices in international trade, supply chain and border management in the Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland. And after couple of hundreds of emails and phone calls – myself acting as the focal point in arranging the visit – we were ready to welcome the SIECA Delegation to Europe between Monday 1 June and Friday 5 June, 2015.

blog 22.03.20161Monday-Tuesday we had a full agenda in the Netherlands. Monday started by presentations on Dutch Customs in general, and Schiphol Customs in specific, focusing on risk management, coordinated border management, and the SmartGate solutions at the Schiphol Airport. This was followed by a roundtable discussion with representatives from the Dutch Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Economic Affairs, as well as with an expert from the air cargo industry. During Monday the SIECA delegation gained firsthand knowledge for example on One-Stop Shop (OSS) implementation steps in the Netherlands: Step 1. Information exchange; 2. Joint inspections; 3. Training specialists; 4. Joint risk analysis by both inspections and selection by Customs; and Step 5. One inspection inspects for the other. The program on Tuesday consisted of a tour in Port of Rotterdam, at the APM 2 Container terminal; as well as a visit to the Central command post of nuclear detection and an X-ray container scanner. In between we had a typical “Dutch sandwich” lunch, kindly offered by the hosts. The delegation enjoyed seeing the ultimate high level of automation at the new container terminal, as well as visiting a pragmatic “one stop inspection room”, where multiple border agencies work together inspecting containers flagged for manual inspections.

Wednesday was spent in Brussels, Belgium. In the morning, the trade representatives of the SIECA Delegation went to the European Commission, DG TRADE, for EU-SIECA related discussions. In the afternoon, most of the delegation visited the World Customs Organization, where the meeting started with discussions with the WCO Secretary General Dr. Kunio Mikuriya and the WCO Deputy Secretary General Mr. Sergio Mujica. This was followed by a presentation on WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement and the linked WCO Instruments, by Ms. Heike Barczyk, the Deputy Director of Compliance and Facilitation Directorate at the WCO. Lastly, we had a brief presentation and roundtable discussions on the European Flagship Supply Chain Security Research, Development and Demonstrations project called FP7-CORE. This discussion was joined by Mr. Nik Delmeire, the Secretary General of the European Shippers Council; Ms. Nicolette van der Jagt, the Secretary General of CLECAT, the European association for forwarding, transport, logistics and customs services; and myself, Dr. Juha Hintsa, Founder of the Cross-border Research Association. After the meeting at WCO, it was time to fly from Brussels to Basel, Switzerland.

blog 22.03.20162Thursday-Friday we had a packed program in Switzerland. Despite some “navigation challenges” with our three-car convoy, we arrived on time from Basel to Bern at the Directorate General of the Federal Customs Administration. We heard several interesting presentations focusing on performance mandate, tasks and strategy of Swiss Customs; on international affairs section and it’s relevant international cooperation program; on shifts from traditional revenue collection to environmental and incentive taxes; and on strategy and challenges regarding future customs clearance systems and platforms – all this by three top experts from Swiss Customs. I presented the outcomes of Swiss Customs and Cross-border Research Association -visit to SIECA in March 2015, suggesting some specific areas and priorities for future co-operation activities. Next, the Delegation visited the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, where the discussions focused on Swiss foreign policy in Central America and bilateral cooperation Switzerland - Central America; as well as on political and economic regional integration in Central America. After a quick photo session on the Bundeshaus terrace facing over River Aare, our journey continued towards the Swiss Customs facilities at the Zurich Airport. Again, there were some “logistics challenges” on the way to Zurich, when one of our three cars suddenly lost all engine coolant – fortunately a gas station was close by, and a road service company (car + mechanic) happened to be there. At the Zurich Airport, the SIECA Delegation learned a lot of details about Swiss Customs operations with air cargo and passenger flows. And as the last agenda item, we met a cute black Labrador retriever, who together with his trainer showed how effortlessly he finds illicit goods hidden in air cargo boxes and pallets…

On Friday morning – last day of the journey – we had again an early wake-up call at our hotel in Basel. We were warmly welcomed by Swiss Customs Officers at the Basel/Weil- Motorway border-crossing point – the highest volume customs clearance point in Switzerland. First the hosts explained about facts and figures on Basel/Weil, topped with interesting information on customs risk management processes and IT-systems. Now we all know that on average 3500 trucks cross the Basel/Weil border per day, and that around 600 million CHF is collected annually as indirect taxes at that border crossing point. After that we took a rooftop view over the border area premises, discussing further Import/Export/Transit -procedures, as well as visited the Swiss Transito-Cabins / Checkpoints. From the motorway we drove to the Swiss Customs House at the Basel Port, visiting the famous tri-border-point between Switzerland, Germany and France. There the Delegation learned about the barge traffic on River Rhine – the same river we saw three days earlier at Port of Rotterdam. From the Basel Port, we drove again to Bern, this time to visit the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, SECO. Lively discussions took place on the SECO rooftop meeting room on topics including EFTA – Central American FTA, as well as Bilateral Economic Relations Switzerland – Central America. And after lunch kindly offered by SECO, we headed towards Geneva for the final meeting of the week: World Economic Forum, WEF, where we all arrived just in time to learn about the organization and the key activities of WEF, including: the work of the WEF in Latin America, with updates from the Latin American Summit; and, the work of the WEF on trade and investment policy and implementation, including Policy Directions, Enabling Trade Index, Enabling Trade implementations. The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, UNECE, was kind enough to explain about latest developments and trends in single window projects and implementations. And lastly, I shared briefly select work on trade facilitation and supply chain security research and education materials by the Cross-border Research Association and HEC University of Lausanne.  I highlighted the important developments taking place within the FP7-CORE project - referring naturally to our meeting two days earlier at the World Customs Organization.

This concludes the brief summary of the SIECA week in Europe, and now I would like to thank all the SIECA Delegation members for coming over and spending the five days with us, here on the old continent:

  • Costa Rica: Mr. Jhon Fonseca, Vice Minister Foreign Trade; and Mr. Luis Fernando Vasquez Castillo, Costa Rica Customs.
  • El Salvador: Mrs. Luz Estrella Rodriguez, Vice Minister Foreign Trade
  • Guatemala: María Luisa Flores Villagran, Vice Minister Foreign Trade; and Mrs. Maria Elisa Chang, Guatemala Customs.
  • Honduras: Jeronima Urbina, Director of Economic Integration
  • Nicaragua: Eddy Aldolfo Artola Garciá, Director Risk Management of Nicaragua Customs.
  • Panama: Melitón Arrocha. Minister Foreign Trade; Mrs. Diana Salazar, Vice Minister Foreign Trade; and Mr. José Gómez Núnez DG of Panama Customs.
  • SIECA Secretariat: Carmen Gisela Vergara Mas, Secretary General
  • Intra-American Development Bank: Mr. Jaime Granados

And last but not least, warmest thanks to all the local hosts: Dutch Customs Administration; Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs; European Commission DG TRADE; World Customs Organization; Federal Customs Administration of Switzerland; Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland; State Secretariat for Economic Affairs of Switzerland; and World Economic Forum.

CBRA Blog by Juha Hintsa

blog 22.03.20163PS. If your country / region would be interested on a similar European field visit, please contact us – we could organize the practical details for the next delegation, possibly every 1-2 years (of course the actual hosts need to agree to the visit in the first place, that goes without saying…). And one final note: next time a bus and a professional driver need to be rented, please!

 

Revisiting the Yemen bomb plot of 2010

blog_070316This CBRA blog revisits the Yemen bomb plot from 2010, the most decisive turning point in modern air cargo security. More than five years after the events, this blog discusses the plot’s implications to the contemporary air cargo security and outlines CBRA’s recommendations for future security work. Parts of this blog text have already been published in the doctoral thesis of CBRA researcher Toni Männistö.

Two explosive devices aboard passenger planes: The series of events, that we call the Yemen bomb plot, took place on 29 October in 2010. On that day, al-Qaeda terrorists almost destroyed two passenger airplanes with a pair of express courier parcels, each enclosing plastic explosives hidden inside a printer toner cartridge. The explosive parcels where sent to Chicago from the capital of Yemen, Sana'a, via two different express courier operators.

Both parcel bombs were eventually intercepted and defused, without fatalities or injuries. But before the interception, the bombs had already travelled onboard multiple air freighters and passenger planes. Many people flew that day with a fully functional explosive device under their seat! Though the parcels were addressed to Chicago, officials think that terrorists wanted to detonate the bombs mid-air, just before landing using cell phone timer alarms.

A Lockerbie-style mayhem was slightly avoided, largely thanks to a timely piece of intelligence. The bomb plot started to uncover when a suspected double agent tipped Saudi-Arabian intelligence that al-Qaeda terrorists had shipped two parcel bombs from Yemen to the US via the express courier service. The Saudi intelligence forwarded the tracking numbers of the suspected explosive devices to their US and German colleagues and told them to look for printer toner cartridges.

The first parcel was intercepted in Dubai, and the second one at the East Midlands airport, nearly 200 km to the northwest from London. In the UK, a bomb squad did not first recognize anything suspicious when they screened the suspected parcel. “It looked like a printer cartridge – there were no wires or anything,” one of CBRA’s contacts at World Customs Organization (WCO) recounts. “But of course, what the cartridge did contain was explosive that current technologies couldn’t detect.” Later laboratory tests revealed that each parcel contained 300 to 400 grams of PETN, military grade plastic explosive, wirings, and a detonator hidden inside a printer’s toner cartridge. The bombs were so meticulously concealed that they had not only passed the standard air cargo and safety screening but also the special screening of the bomb squad.

Aftermaths: The Yemen incident was rude reminder of the vulnerability of the air cargo logistics to terrorism. Sure, the day was saved by old-school, field intelligence work and prompt government response. But before interception, the first parcel travelled aboard three different flights: Sana’a - Dubai, Dubai – Cologne, and Cologne - East Midlands Airport. The second explosive parcel flew first from Sana’a to Doha and then to Dubai where it was intercepted.

In the immediate aftermaths of the events, aviation security authorities in the US and many European countries stopped accepting freight shipments from Yemen. Germany also cancelled all passenger flights from Yemen for more than two weeks. “As often happens in these situations,” the WCO’s air cargo specialist remarks, “the first reaction was stopping anything coming from this part of the world – any plane for any reason.” The new security rules changed the air cargo operations virtually overnight, seriously disrupting the air cargo and mail service. Delays were widespread and lengthy, but the worst aspect of the disruption was that no one knew when the new apparently transient security regime was to be revoked.

Eventually, once the precautionary stoppage was ended, new unprecedentedly stringent security requirements entered into force, disrupting the air cargo and mail service further. The US Transportation Security Administration, TSA, introduced the most stringent rules: any mail originating or transiting through Somalia or Yemen was banned, as well as printers or printer toner cartridges from high-risk locations. Moreover, parcels originating from any business partners had to be screened up to high-risk screening standards, piece by piece, if such shipment did not accompany a tendering statement, a document assuring that cargo comes from a known and trusted shipper. The new regime disrupted seriously international air cargo logistics, causing air cargo shippers worldwide to accumulate huge backlogs of US-bound shipments. Annoyed and surprised about the turn of events, the air cargo industry reacted to the US rules with a barrage of criticism, calling the measures superfluous and impractical. Over the following weeks, the reactive security rules were gradually relaxed to enable clearing of the backlog of US-bound air cargo.

In the long term, the Yemen events put air cargo security into a spotlight, securing political commitment and spurring further reforms for years to come. The International Civil Aviation Organization, ICAO, for example, included advanced security, concepts such as the “secure supply chain” principle, the concept of high-risk cargo and mail, and the consignment security declaration, CSD, into the new edition of the Annex 17 of the Chicago Convention. Also the European Union expanded the EU air cargo regime to cover airlines operating into the EU aviation security area - EU-28 plus Switzerland, Norway and Iceland - from third country airports. The amendment also specified criteria for identifying and screening high-risk cargo and mail, known as HRCM.

CBRA considerations for future air cargo security: The modern air cargo security has taken major leaps since the Yemen incident, but the work towards higher air cargo security still continues. The CBRA research team considers that, like in any other area of supply chains, it is crucial both to facilitate cross-border logistics and to ensure adequate security. This classic dilemma of striking the balance between trade facilitation and supply chain security is not easy to solve, but we believe that there are some promising ways to promote logistics-friendly air cargo security.

Governments should normally consult the air cargo industry before introducing new security rules. New security rules should avoid reducing speed, on-time reliability, or cost-efficiency of the air cargo service. There are often ways to integrate new security requirements seamlessly into the sequence of day-to-day logistics activities, but this requires close government-business coordination.

One promising way forward is to improve capabilities of pre-loading risk assessment, so that the riskiest air cargo shipments can be identified early on and subjected to a more stringent screening. Many projects on this matter are under way, most notably the Air Cargo Advance Screening (ACAS) in the US and Pre-loading Consignment Information for Secure Entry
 (PRECISE) in the European Union. The CBRA team applauds these efforts of advancing risk assessment and reminds of the importance of proactive updating of risk-scoring algorithms.

EU’s decision of forcing flights from third countries into EU to comply with EU’s air cargo security regime makes also good sense. It is reasonable to secure air cargo up to an adequate standard sooner rather than later, preferably before the first flight. More global capacity building – especially training and funds for modern screening equipment – are needed in developing countries. Also, auditing activities in third countries would benefit from further resources.

Harmonization and mutual recognition is another key theme for years to come. In the EU, civil aviation and customs authorities might find some synergies if they harmonized their respective Known Consignor (KC) and Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) programs. Air cargo companies would also benefit if types and performance requirements of screening methods would be uniform across the members of the European Union.

Bibliography:

BBC, Q&A: Air freight bomb plot, 2 November 2010

European Commission, Regulation 173/2012, amending 185/2010

International Civil Aviation Organization, Chicago convention, Annex 17, 9th edition

Koolloos M.F.J., Männistö T., van der Jagt O.C., Jezierska M.M., Hintsa J., Kähäri P. and Tsikolenko V. (2015), Security Screening for the Air Express Cargo Industry, Final Report, Brussels, Belgium.

Männistö, T., 2015. Mitigating Crime and Security Risks in the International Logistics Network: the Case of Swiss Post. Doctoral thesis, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL).

CBRA Blog by Dr. Toni Männistö

Border Agency Cooperation, Part 3 of 3

The last blog in our three-part series on Border Agency Cooperation introduces a conceptual framework capturing the essential dimensions of Border Agency Coordination: three levels of collaboration, four areas of integration and four objects for sharing. We hope that the framework helps the customs and other border agency communities to see all levels of Border Agency Cooperation (BAC) so that they can move from isolated coexistence towards more active cooperation at the borders. Higher levels of cooperation are likely to translate into higher levels of trade facilitation, control over cross-border cargo flows and resource efficiency, simultaneously. Compared with the previous BAC Blog Part 2, this BAC Blog Part 3 intends to present a comprehensive framework surrounding BAC ambitions, plans, implementations and monitoring activities – while the previous BAC Bloc 2 focused purely on a set of 15 key BAC actions, grouped according to the main beneficiary groups. This final BAC Blog has been written by Dr. Toni Männistö of CBRA.

Let’s start by first presenting the BAC diagram: Conceptual framework on Border Agency Cooperation (source: Männistö, T., and Hintsa J., 2015; inspired by Polner, 2011 and by Institute of Policy Studies, 2008)

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Levels of cooperation

Intra-agency cooperation is about aligning goals and work within one organization, either horizontally between departments or vertically between headquarters and local branches, in particular border-crossing offices / stations. Ways to foster horizontal intra-agency cooperation include development of intranet networks, cross-training, inter-departmental rotation of staff, and establishment of joint task forces that tackle multifaceted challenges like transnational terrorism. Ideally, the vertical cooperation would be bi-directional: headquarters would define priorities and objectives and then communicate them to local branches. The branches would, reciprocally, send back status reports and suggest improvements to the general policies. Solving intra-agency cooperation lays a basis for broader cooperation: it’s hard for any organization to cooperate efficiently with external stakeholders if it struggles with internal problems. The logical first step in coordinated border management is therefore breaking departmental silos and building a culture of cooperation within boundaries of one organization.

Inter-agency cooperation, at the operational level, concerns relationships among a broad range of border agencies that play a role in controlling cross-border trade and travel. In many countries, primary agencies present at the borders include customs, border guards, immigration authorities and transport security agencies. However, also police organizations, health authorities, and phytosanitary and veterinary controllers, among others, take part in border management. According to a recent study, typical areas of customs- border guard inter-agency cooperation can include strategic planning, communication and information exchange, coordination of workflow of border crossing points, risk analysis, criminal investigations, joint operations, control outside border control points, mobile units, contingency/emergency, infrastructure and equipment sharing, and training and human resource management (CSD, 2011). Governmental inter-agency cooperation occurs between border control agencies and ministries and policy making bodies that are responsible for oversight and financing of border management activities.

International cooperation may take place locally at both sides of a border. One Stop Border Posts, OSBPs - border crossings managed jointly by two neighboring countries - are prime examples of such cooperation. One Stop Border Posts can involve various forms of collaboration: harmonization of documentation, shared maintenance of the infrastructure, joint or mutually recognized controls, exchange of data and information and common investments in infrastructure and so forth. Operational arrangements between the Norwegian, Finnish and Swedish customs illustrate advanced international cross-border cooperation that save time and money of border control authorities and trading companies. The cooperation builds on division of labor, where the national border authorities of each country are allowed to provide services and exercise legal powers of their home country and neighboring countries. For instance, when goods are exported from Norway, all paperwork related to both exports and imports may be attended by either Swedish, Finnish or Norwegian customs office (Norwegian Customs, 2011). At the political level, this requires international cooperation between authorities and policy makers in two or more countries. Operational cooperation (e.g., mutual recognition of controls or regional Single Window), often bringing tangible trade facilitation benefits, usually follows from political, supranational decisions (e.g., the WCO’s Revised Kyoto Convention and SAFE Framework of Standards).

Areas of integration

Technical integration often entails improving connectivity and interoperability of information and communication technology systems within and across organizations. Single Window solutions are typical outcomes of technical cooperation as they enable automatic exchange of electronic trade information among border control agencies. The UN Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business, UN/CEFACT, is an important international organization helping to build connectivity across countries and between business and governmental stakeholders. UN/CEFACT, for instance, develops and maintains globally recognized standards for EDI messages.

Operational integration is largely about coordination of inspection and auditing activities among border control agencies. Benefits of synchronized activities are evident: organizing necessary controls at one place and at the same time reduces delays and administrative burden that trading companies and travelers face at borders. A simple and powerful example of operational integration is coordination of opening hours and days of customs offices at the both sides of a border. Operational integration also covers provision of mutual administrative assistance, joint criminal investigations and prosecution, and sharing of customs intelligence and other information.

Legislative integration seeks to remove legal barriers and ambiguities that prevent border control agencies from exchanging information, sharing responsibilities or otherwise deepening their cooperation. Essentially, most forms of Border Agency Coordination require some degree of legislative harmonization and political commitment. For example, Article 8 of the WTO/TFA to the WTO Members requires that national authorities and agencies responsible for border controls and dealing with the importation, exportation and transit of goods must cooperate with one another and coordinate their activities in order to facilitate trade.

Institutional integration is about restructuring roles and responsibilities of border controls agencies. An example of a major restructuring is the annexing of US border control agencies – including the US Customs and Border Protection, Transportation Security Administration and Coast Guard – into the Department of Homeland Security, DHS, a body that took over the key governmental functions involved in the US non-military counter-terrorism efforts in the aftermaths of the September 11th, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Objects of sharing

Sharing of information – data, knowledge and intelligence – reduce duplicate work (e.g., sharing of audit findings), enable operational coordination (e.g., synchronized border controls) and facilitate development of common agenda for future border agency coordination. At the global level, the WCO’s Customs Enforcement Network CEN is an example of a trusted communication system for exchanging information and intelligence, especially seizure records, between customs officials worldwide. Another WCO initiative, the Globally Networked Customs, analyzes potential to further “rationalize, harmonize and standardize the secure and efficient exchange of information between WCO Members” (WCO 2015).

Resource sharing involves multi-agency joint investments in equipment, facilities, IT systems, databases, expertise and other common resources. The joint investment activities are likely to result in higher resource utilization and bulk purchasing discounts. For example, national and regional Single Window solutions are often outcomes of joint development and investment activities of various government agencies.

Sharing of work is mostly about rationalization of overlapping border control activities, controls and formalities. If two border control agencies, for instance, agree to recognize each other’s controls, there is no need to control the same goods more than once. Combining forces to investigate and prosecute crime also often help border control agencies to use their limited resources more efficiently.

Sharing of responsibilities is about coordinating and streamlining administrative and control tasks among border control agencies. Norway, again, sets a good example of sharing the responsibilities. The Norwegian customs represents all other border control agencies - except the veterinary office - at the frontier. Customs officers are responsible for routine border formalities, and they summon representatives of other border control agencies as and when the officers need assistance. Internationally, the Norwegian customs cooperates closely with Swedish and Finnish border control authorities at the Northern Scandinavian border posts. Bilateral agreements between its neighbors allow Norwegian customs officers authority to perform most customs checks and formalities for and on behalf of their Swedish and Finnish colleagues. The coordination decreases border-crossing times and lowers administrative costs for trading companies and the border control agencies in the three countries.

This concludes now our three-part series on Border Agency Cooperation. In Part 1, we shared an illustrative worst case example on how complex, slow and expensive a cross-border supply chain execution comes when no cooperation takes place between relevant government agencies, neither nationally nor internationally. In Part 2, we presented a conceptual BAC model with 15 key actions to improve the degree of cooperation in a given country or region – for the direct benefit of supply chain companies, or government agencies, or both. And in this Part 3, we finally presented our comprehensive BAC framework, which hopefully helps government policy makers and border agencies to design, implement and monitor their future BAC programs and initiatives in an effective and transparent manner. Toni Männistö and Juha Hintsa.

Bibliography:

Center for the Study of Democracy (CSD), 2011. “Better Management of EU Borders through Cooperation”, Study to Identify Best Practices on the Cooperation Between Border Guards and Customs Administrations Working at the External Borders of the EU.

Institute of Policy Studies 2008, Better connected services for Kiwis: a discussion document for managers and front-line staff on better joining up the horizontal and vertical, Institute of Policy Studies, Wellington, NZ.

Männistö, T., and Hintsa J., "Theory of Border Agency Cooperation”, CBRA working paper 2015, Lausanne, Switzerland.

Norwegian Customs, 2011. Case Study on Border Agency Cooperation Submitted by Norway for the November Symposium.

Polner, M. (2011). Coordinated border management: from theory to practice. World Customs Journal, 5(2), 49-61.

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), 2011 Border Agency Coordination”, UNCTAD Trust Fund for Trade Facilitation Negotiations Technical Note No. 14.

Chemical Security in Istanbul

2015-12-15 09.02.08I had the most interesting week in Istanbul with the Iraqi government representatives, chemical sector companies and the US State Department Chemical Security Program, CSP.

Security in the chemical supply chain is a major challenge for government agencies and chemical supply chain companies across the globe, including those in the Middle-East and North African (MENA) region. Theft, diversion, trafficking, export violations, counterfeit chemicals, sabotage and terrorism – among other criminal threats – keep the agencies and companies constantly on their toes when considering how to best tackle the vulnerabilities and threats in their respective chemical supply chains.

This was my second time to join as an external expert in a Chemical Security Program (CSP) event in the MENA region. The first time was in Hurghada, Egypt, in March 2015 – thanks again to Professor Andrew Thomas, the Chief Editor of the Journal of Transportation Security, for hooking me up with CRDF Global and the US State Department on this. Now the four day event targeted for the relevant Iraqi government agencies as well as the Iraqi chemical sector companies was held in Istanbul, Turkey, on 14-17 December 2015.

We had a fully packed agenda: Day 1 consisted of several introductory and state-of-play speeches by the workshop facilitators and by Iraqi experts, the latter group sharing key governmental, industry and academic perspectives to the chemical security progress in Iraq.  Day 2 started with a case study presentation on “Post-2001 supply chain security developments at Dow Chemicals”, followed by private-public partnership considerations in chemical supply chain security. During the afternoon of day 2, two more presentations were given on potential threats to materials of interest, as well as on site-physical security. Day 3 started with presentations on international transport of dangerous goods and security rules, followed later by presentations on export control and border security issues, as well as risk assessment methodological aspects.

Interactive sessions, group exercises and other discussions were vivid throughout the four days. On day 1, the main interactive session was about government-industry coordination. On day 2, the focus shifted to identifying key players in Iraqi chemical supply chain security, as well as exploring private sector specific chemical security issues. On day 3, a major interactive session took place to recognize existing vulnerabilities and threats in the chemical supply chain, as well as to identify appropriate countermeasures and other possible means of improvement. And finally, on day 4, a draft table of content for a potential “Iraqi chemical supply chain security master plan and implementation roadmap” was produced in a highly interactive manner, followed ultimately by drafting some actual planning content in areas including chemical transport security and raising security awareness.

The actual workshop outcomes and possible follow-up actions will be worked upon later by the organizing team and some key participants. In the meanwhile, I want to express my warmest thanks for this opportunity and great on-site collaboration in Istanbul to: Ms. Shawn Garcia from the U.S. Department of State, Chemical Security Program (DOS/CSP); Ms. Pelin Kavak and Mr. Nidal Abu Sammour from CRDF Global, US / Jordan; and Dr. Caner Zanbak and Mr. Mustafa Bagan from the Turkish Chemical Manufacturers Association (TCMA). Hope to meet you again in 2016 in Iraq, Algeria and possibly other locations in the MENA region!

 

Cheers, Juha Hintsa

P.S. We also tested two CBRA frameworks / models – CBRA SCS15/16, and CBRA-BAC-Actions and beneficiaries – with the audience during the Istanbul week. Both of them were well perceived, and will be topics for CBRA Blog during the coming couple of months. (SCS = Supply Chain Security, and BAC = Border Agency Cooperation).

PPS. Last but not least I would like to thank Ms. Antonella Di Fazio of Telespazio, Italy, and FP7-project CORE, for excellent inputs on transport of dangerous goods, traceability and monitoring solutions, demonstrators, and practical experiences.

CORE-Observatory

Global supply chain design considerations: Mitigating product safety and security risks (Speier et al. 2011)

Summary

There is a broad consensus among supply chain professionals that supply chain disruptions are very bad for business: supply chain glitches commonly lower operational performance and reduce shareholder value. Regardless of this, there is surprisingly little research on supply chain design strategies that have the highest potential to mitigate the risk of disruptions. Based on interviews with 75 US-based managers, an industry survey and a case study, Speier et al. (2011) identify types of SCS strategies and examine how contextual factors influence business managers to select a set of SCS design strategies. They argue that the depth and breadth of security initiatives depend mainly on top management mindfulness, operational complexity, product risk and coupling. The abstract is available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com.

Review by Toni Männistö (CBRA) based on his doctoral thesis.

Supply chain efficiency and security: Coordination for collaborative investment in technology (Lee et al. 2011)

Summary

Information technologies often provide significant benefits for companies in terms of better logistics efficiency and security. But despite of this fact, many companies in the logistics sector have not adopted such technologies to a high extent as one would expect. In their research paper, Lee et al. (2011) investigate coordination problems and related incentive mechanisms between manufacturers and retailers in a two-echelon supply chain, when companies are investing in ICT technologies that have potential to improve both logistics efficiency and security. Using mathematical modeling, they find that relative strengths of efficiency and security concerns result in different coordination problems when implementing a technology. To increase overcome coordination problems and reach the optimal level of ICT investments, the authors propose imposing penalties on parties, that are responsible for security breaches, and introducing tax incentives. They conclude that IT-based supply chain security solutions have a high potential for increasing both security and logistics performance through higher supply chain visibility. The abstract is available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com.

Review by Toni Männistö (CBRA) based on his doctoral thesis.

Controlling access to pick-up and delivery vans: the cost of alternative measures (Haelterman et al. 2012)

Summary

The situational crime prevention theory suggests that preventive security measures often backfire. For this reason, it is problematic that many managers do not have a holistic picture which kind of considerations should precede selection of implementation of security measures. A paper by Haelterman et al. (2012) tests the practical feasibility of a new management model that is designed to highlight the most promising preventive security measures given a set of preconditions and costs. The authors apply this model in the context of pick-up and delivery van operations at a Belgian branch of a major express courier company. Such transport operations are subject to risk of theft and terrorism, especially if unauthorized people managed break into pick-up and delivery vans. To test the management model, the authors collect views of of supply chain practitioners in two expert panels and through a survey. Their analysis covers a broad array of preventive security measures including key card, audible alarm, silent alarm + GPS, notification on vehicles, awareness training, no company logos, formal instructions / compliance checks & sanctioning, double drivers, over security escorts. The abstract is available at: http://link.springer.com.

Review by Toni Männistö (CBRA) based on his doctoral thesis.

Estimating the Operational Impact of Container Inspections at International Ports (Bakshi et al. 2011)

Summary

The US government is pushing a new 100 % screening regime for US-bound containers in foreign ports to mitigate the risk of weapons of mass destruction entering US soil. The 100 % regime, however, is a major concern for foreign port operators because the current Container Security Initiative (CSI) regime seems not to be scalable for high inspection rates. The paper of Bakshi et al. (2011) simulate impacts of two container inspection regimes (the CSI and a new one) in terms of port congestion, handling cost and dwell time. To carry out the simulation, the authors use discrete event queuing network simulation with real container movement data from two of the world’s busiest container terminals. The analysis shows that cargo inspections many times disrupt optimized logistics processes at seaports. In particular, inspections extend the transportation leadtime because shipments lose time as they (i) are moved to an inspection site, (ii) queue for inspection to start, (iii) pass inspections themselves. Download the abstract here: http://pubsonline.informs.org.

Review by Toni Männistö (CBRA) based on his doctoral thesis.

CASSANDRA compendium. Standards in supply chain management (Ch. 9)

Summary: Chapter 9 of the CASSANDRA compendium lists and discusses various standards that set the context for international supply chain management. The chapter focuses especially on management standards (e.g., ISO28000), technical standards (e.g., RFID, electronic seals and barcodes), standards for exchange of information among supply chain stakeholders (e.g., UN/EDIFACT and XML messaging), and customs security standards (especially the World Customs Organisations’ SAFE Framework of Standards). GS1 Global Visibility Framework and other industry standards are included in the discussion, as well. The chapter points out that because a large variety of standards are already available, the challenge is not a lack of standardisation but the lack of harmonisation between different standards. The section also concludes that even if the diversity of standards was harmonised, the next step would be to ensure that the standards would be consistently implemented in different contexts.

CASSANDRA compendium. Technologies for supply chain visibility and security (Ch. 8)

Summary: Chapter 8 of the CASSANDRA compendium reviews current and future technologies that help managers to improve visibility and security over global end-to-end supply chains. The supply chain visibility technologies, in essence, provide logistics managers with a variety of information - shipment data, performance metrics, inventory levels, production / delivery schedules and sales forecast, for example - in or close to real time. The chapter’s review on supply chain security technologies focus mainly on security sensors (e.g., motion detectors), container seals, biometric user authentication devices (e.g., fingerprints), and non-intrusive inspection equipment (e.g., X-ray screening stations). The section also elaborates modern ways for sharing information among stakeholders that are concerned about security of the supply chain. The CASSANDRA compendium is available for download: www.cassandra-project.eu. Review by Toni Männistö (CBRA)

CASSANDRA compendium. Private sector perspectives on risk management (Ch. 5) and crime prevention and security management in supply chains (Ch. 6)

Summary: Chapters 5 & 6 of the CASSANDRA compendium provide a general overview on supply chain security risk management from the private sector perspective. Explaining the essentials of supply chain risk management, Chapter 5 introduces commonly used risk management models and tools (e.g., risk matrices and risk registers), discusses various classifications of supply chain risks, and elaborates current trends of risks and risk management in the supply chain context. Chapter 6 focuses on specific challenges of supply chain security risks - the risks that arise from intentional, man-made criminal activities such as terrorism, theft, trafficking, and sabotage. The chapter explains a few early classifications of supply chain security risks (e.g., motive-based typology and taxonomies based on private sector perspectives). Following the classifications of security risks, the chapter puts forth a few models for managing security risks in the supply chain context (e.g., the 8-layer model for supply chain security management). The chapter concludes with a detailed case study on security management of an international security company and a comparison of supply chain security management and the total quality management (TQM) management philosophy. The CASSANDRA compendium is available for download: www.cassandra-project.eu. Review by Toni Männistö (CBRA)

MARITIME SECURITY – Vessel Tracking Systems Provide Key Information, but the Need for Duplicate Data Should Be Reviewed, GAO, March 2009 (CORE1065)

Summary: The US government considers identification and tracking of vessels at the US coastal areas, inland waterways and ports important for protecting the US homeland and economy from maritime terrorism. The US coastal guards use a range of identification and tracking solutions to detect any anomalies in maritime traffic that might suggest terrorist activity, such as transportation of weapons of mass destruction, use of explosive-laden boats as weapons, smuggling of weapons, drugs, people or other contraband. This GAO report reviews the US Coast Guards’ current and future solutions for monitoring the maritime traffic: long-range identification and tracking system (LRIT), long-range automatic identification system (AIS) and various radar and camera systems. The report elaborates strengths and weaknesses of these identification and tracking solutions and proposes a roadmap for further strengthening of the US coastal security. The future advancements should pay particular attention to tracking of small and non-commercial vessels and to reconsider ways to collect and analyze data that is relevant for coastal surveillance.  Offering background information about vessel-level tracking and tracing of maritime cargo movements, the report is a relevant source document for those CORE demonstrations that involve shipping of containers from, through and into the US. The report is available for download at: www.gao.gov/new.items/d09337.pdf.

MARITIME SECURITY – DHS Progress and Challenges in Key Areas of Port Security, GAO, July 2010 (CORE1064)

Summary: This GAO report analyses the progress the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has made in maritime supply chain security over the past five to ten years. The report raises problems that the DHS and its component agencies – the Coast Guard and the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) – have encountered regarding improvement of risk management, reduction of the vulnerability to threats of small vessels, implementation of security assessment in foreign ports, and the overall progress in supply chain security.  The report states that so far the Coast Guard has carried out risk assessments, but their results do not allow effective comparison and prioritization of risks across ports. The Coast guard has also identified points of vulnerability related to waterside attacks by small vessels, reached out to the general public to encourage recreational sailors to report anomalies, started tracking of small vessel, tested equipment to screen small vessels for nuclear material and conducted security maneuvers such as vessel escorts. Nevertheless, resource constraints and technical problems prevent the Coast Guard to protect the US coastline and maritime infrastructure from small-vessel threats effectively. Moreover, the Coast Guard has been assessing security in foreign ports, but the lack of the agency’s resources and certain countries’ reluctance to collaborate with the US authorities have slowed down the global security assessment. Finally, as for the general supply chain security, the DHS has been running the Secure Freight Initiative (SFI) in foreign ports to test the feasibility of the 100% scanning of US-bound shipping containers with non-intrusive inspection (NII) technologies and radiation detection equipment. The findings of the SFI pilots indicate that the 100% scanning is not a feasible policy because it would disrupt port logistics, damage international trade and raise healthy concerns, among other things. The report is available for download at: www.gao.gov/assets/660/659087.pdf.

AVIATION SECURITY – Progress Made, but Challenges Persist in Meeting the Screening Mandate for Air Cargo, GAO, March 2011 (CORE1062)

Summary: This GAO report reviews the recent progress of the US air cargo security scheme. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the main agency responsible for the US air cargo security, has been working towards the implementation of the 100% screening requirements of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007. So far TSA has set up a voluntary Certified Cargo Screening Program (CCSP) to allow trusted logistics operators to screen air cargo outside congested airports, launched a program for testing technologies for air cargo screening and expanding its program for approving explosive detection dog teams. The main obstacle in meeting the 100% screening requirement is that TSA has no reliable mechanism for verifying screening data from domestic foreign screening operators, which self-report the data. TSA also struggles in finding resources to employ as many transport security inspectors as it is required to oversee the Certified Cargo Screening Program. The report also points out that the current technologies that TSA has approved for cargo screening cannot screen large cargo units – pallets or unit loading devices (ULDs) – and this incapability reduces speed and cost-efficiency of air cargo screening. Overall, this GAO document provides a general outlook on state and challenges the US air cargo security regime, and therefore those CORE demonstrations that focus on the US-bound or US-origin air transport should consider the report as a key source material. The report is available for download at: www.gao.gov/assets/130/125678.pdf.

Interviews

Interview with Ms. Sarma on the US CSP-program

28.6.2016: Today’s CBRA Interview with Ms. Dace Sarma from CRDF Global focuses on the U.S. Department of State’s Chemical Security Program

 

Hi Dace, and thanks for joining CBRA Interview. Can you please tell first a bit of your background and what you do today?

I work at CRDF Global, an independent nonprofit organization that promotes international scientific and technical collaboration through grants, technical resources, training and services. At CRDF Global, I work in partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s Chemical Security Program, CSP in short, on programming collaborating with government, security, academic, and industrial communities around the world to strengthen their ability to thwart chemical attacks. Prior to working with CSP, I supported and implemented the Department of State’s Office of Weapons of Mass Destruction and Terrorism, WMDT in short, projects within the scope of CRDF Global support for the WMDT.

 

Thanks for sharing that. Can you explain more about CRDF Global and the Chemical Security Program, CSP, by the US State Department?

CSP works with a number of implementing partners, including CRDF Global, to promote chemical security through sponsorship of projects designed to identify and address chemical security vulnerabilities and prevent chemical attacks.

CSP collaborates with diverse stakeholders, including partner governments, subject matter experts, and international organizations, to enhance chemical security through capacity building workshops, and trainings.

 

I had the pleasure to join twice the CRDF Global workshops in 2015: first to Hurghada, Egypt, in March 2015, and second to Istanbul, Turkey, in December 2015. The former workshop was targeted for the Egyptian government and chemical industry, and the latter one for the Iraqi government and chemical industry. Extremely interesting 3-4 days in both workshops, with great audiences and co-speakers / co-facilitators. In both workshops I gave presentations e.g. on FP7-project CORE / dangerous goods tracking, and on Dow Chemical supply chain security – thanks again to Ms. Antonella Di Fazio of Telespazio and Dr. Toni Mannisto of CBRA for co-producing these presentations. What is the current status of CSP regarding these countries today, if I may ask?

Thank you again for your participation in these workshops, Juha. We all appreciated you sharing your experience in chemical supply chain and transportation security.

We have continued work with our partners in Egypt on chemical supply chain security. CRDF Global, the Federation of Egyptian Industries’ Environmental Compliance Office (FEI-ECO) and the Federation of Egyptian Industries’ Chamber of Chemical Industries (CCI) held an event in December, also sponsored by CSP, which convened 170 government, industry and academia representatives from Egypt’s chemical sector to highlight Egypt’s achievements in securing the chemical supply chain and identify further steps required to secure their chemicals in transit.  FEI-ECO and CCI are also working to provide technical guidance and support for Egyptian chemical companies to adopt Responsible Care®, an international voluntary chemical management initiative developed by the chemical industry to help chemical companies operate safely, securely and profitably.

In Iraq, CRDF Global and CSP have continued to work closely with a variety of partners from across the chemical and security communities. Most recently in April, with sponsorship from CSP, CRDF Global implemented the 1st National Chemical and Biological Security Coordination Conference in Baghdad. The conference convened Iraqi government, security, industrial, and academic sectors to discuss national efforts, interagency coordination, and best practices to counter chemical and biological proliferation in Iraq.

 

Any plans in 2016 to organize similar workshops in the MENA region?

We will continue to work with our international partners, including in the MENA region, in 2016. As the world becomes more connected, we will continue to focus on securing the chemical supply chain.  Many of our partners have also identified chemical ground transportation security as an area of particular interest.  We look forward to working with technical experts like CBRA and leaders from chemical communities worldwide to enhance global chemical security.

 

Thanks a lot Dace for this interview – and hope to meet you soon again, at one the upcoming missions / workshops! Juha

Mr. Mike Ellis, INTERPOL, on illicit trade and counterfeiting

Today’s CBRA Interview is with Mr. Mike Ellis who is the Assistant Director of Illicit Trade and Anti-counterfeit Sub-crime Directorate at INTERPOL, Lyon, France.

Hi Mike, can you first tell a bit who are you and what you do?

I am the Assistant Director for Police Services at INTERPOL, based in Lyon France.  INTERPOL is the world’s largest international police organization. Our role is to assist law enforcement agencies in our 190 member countries to combat all forms of transnational crime. We work to help police across the world meet the growing challenges of crime in the 21st century by providing a high-tech infrastructure of technical and operational support. Our services include targeted training, expert investigative support, specialized databases and secure police communications channels. I am responsible for the coordination of all activities related to illicit trade, smuggling of illicit goods and counterfeiting for the organization and police forces within our 190 member countries.  I lead a team of expert officers who are engaged in training, capacity building, and operational support who operate along with my analytical support who manage risk awareness and intelligence handling.

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From your perspective, how bad is the current situation with counterfeit and other illicit trade in global supply chains? Can one for example see links between illicit trade and transnational organized crime groups; or, even terrorist organizations?

For many years the clear link has been established between the trafficking of illicit goods and transnational organized crime. Criminal organizations are attracted by the lucrative profits involved in trading counterfeit or fake goods, or in trading legitimate goods through illicit channels. The criminals involved manufacture and trade illicit goods on a regional and increasingly global scale.  It is well documented that they use the profits to fund other criminal activities such as drug trafficking and people smuggling, and for investment into funding subversive political groups.  Selling fake or counterfeit products is one aspect of illicit trade, as is selling genuine goods on the black market to avoid paying taxes. By avoiding regulatory controls, the criminals behind these activities peddle dangerous and illicit goods with a complete disregard for the health and safety of consumers. The phenomenon has grown to an unprecedented level, posing tremendous risks to society and the global economy. Counterfeiting harms businesses which produce and sell legitimate products, governments lose tax revenue from products manufactured or sold on the black market, and consumers are at risk from substandard products.

By the way, we met first time about one year ago in Lyon at an INTERPOL workshop linked to FP7-Project CORE. One of the main objectives of CORE-project is to develop leading edge education and training materials on supply chain security – for the benefit of law enforcement agencies, supply chain practitioners, and academics alike. Can you share your views about law enforcement – academia – industry cooperation in education material development, as well as in the broader field of supply chain security management?

One of our principle functions is capacity building and training.  At INTERPOL we recognize that capacity building brings with it raised identification of the impact of illicit cross-border trade and counterfeiting and all our new operations, or established operations in new regions, are preceded by a capacity building workshop.  The public domain is represented by police, customs, border control officials, and prosecutors, as well as representatives from various regulatory bodies including trading standards.  In addition, INTERPOL TIGC, the Trafficking in Illicit Goods and Counterfeiting program which I am heading, has developed a Mentoring Program which aims to increase cross-border, cross-industry law enforcement operational interventions by: strengthening capacity to deal with all types of cross-border trafficking in illicit and counterfeit products. We have also developed an online International Intellectual Property Crime Investigator’s College and have built already a robust network of over 10.000 law enforcement officers, and partner stakeholders with specialist knowledge and skillset.  This online training course provides specialist knowledge on transnational organized crime.  It is aimed at all law enforcement officials, regulatory authorities and private sector investigators who are committed in the fight against illicit trade and intellectual property crime.   We aim to provide crime professionals with specialist awareness and learning on the subject of transnational organized intellectual property, IP, crime, and illicit trade, by delivery of leading-edge training that meets international standards and allows crime investigators from any discipline to quickly identify other certified investigators.  Through this learning platform we also facilitate cooperation between the public and private sectors in the fight against IP crime, and ensure all public and private sector crime investigators have a common understanding of the problems facing them, while being aware of each other’s competencies and roles.  We seek to promote knowledge on what intervention strategies and tactics work, in order that all stakeholders are better able to work together in partnership in enforcement operations.

Thank you Mike for this highly interesting interview. It complements well our previous interviews on similar themes - with non-law enforcement experts including Mr. David Hamon and Mr. Tony Barone. CBRA and the whole FP7-CORE consortium, around 70 partners in total, wishes to continue the great cooperation in research and education material development with INTERPOL, throughout the CORE-project, until April 2018 - and beyond!  Juha.

 

Criminalization of global supply chains, by Mr. Hamon

Hi David, and thanks for joining a CBRA Interview – can you first tell a bit who are you and what you do?

I served in the US Army as a logistician, served with the United Nations Peacekeeping Department as well as work with the UN humanitarian organizations.  I recently retired from a not-for-profit government contractor to pursue more creative work.  Whilst at the latter position I was seconded to the US Defense Department, first in African Affairs, and then as Research and Studies Director for a strategic studies office within a US Defense Agency.  I currently work, mostly independently, on a great many things related to future threats and re-defining of security/stability as it pertains and impacts diplomacy, development, defense, society, and economics/finance.

We met first time in Lausanne, Switzerland, around 2005 – what was that roundtable event again about?

Many years before cyber based terror threats were on the radar, we launched an inquiry into what we termed “Economic/Financial Terrorism” and whether security threats emanating from terrorism in the future would take the form of attacks on the Western system of finance and the economy.  We brought in a host of experts from the US and Europe to debate the changing face of terrorism and likely goals of future terror groups.  We examined everything from evolving ideology, motivation and intent, culture and identity to strategy, tactics, targets, weapons, and groups.  It was an extremely interesting event with industry admitting - at the time - they were not prepared for this phenomenon and governments largely split on the issue.  Additionally, experts and think tanks disagreed on whether economic terrorism was tangible.  It was very forward-looking for its time.  All participants came away with greater awareness on the subject as we went above and beyond what is currently called “financial crimes,” exploring potential kinetic based threats terror groups would use against the economic and financial machinery that included physical attacks on the supply chain, tourist industry, psychological undermining of the Western economic system to disrupt the normal provision of goods and services.

Can you tell more about your views on ´criminalization of global supply chains´?

I take similar views on the subject as Dr. Moisés Naim, in his 2005 book ‘Illicit: How smugglers, traffickers, and copycats are hijacking the global economy.’ He addresses several tenants that remain true today including the role of governments, technology, the Illicit traders mimicking licit trade and logistics actors - while simultaneously collaborating with many of them, and criminal groups seek high-profit opportunities as opposed to any other attribution (see CBRA Blog 21 October 2014).  Terror groups care less about profit but when thinking about logistics networks, what if the two groups collaborated?  Today logistics systems are more complex and move faster than ever in history, have less margin to fail, are far less ‘hands-on’ and offer many ways and places to hide illegal activity.  Detection and interdiction of this activity isn’t exclusively in the realm of governments. Industry has a role to play if it wishes to minimize new regulations, taxes, deter corruption, and other drains on efficiency and profit.  Experts, both public and private, rarely take a systems approach to detecting criminal activity with much throughput going undetected.  Both parties want to specialize on one aspect and miss the big picture.  A good example was the AQ Khan network.  How long has it been since industry has undertaken an assessment of whether there is a new “Khan” network out there?  Do trade organizations war-game with governments on criminality within supply chains?

Interesting! What are your views on ‘multi-commodity trafficking / crime portfolios’?

At the last corporate organization where I worked my team did some analysis on unregulated, illegal fishing as a security threat to Pacific Island nations.  In the course of this analysis, we discovered it was the same actors doing the illegal fishing as doing illegal dumping, illegal smuggling, illegal trafficking, among other illicit activities.  The criminality was only one aspect of the supply chain as the “demand” side as well as the delivery side was entirely legal and within businesses who conduct practically all business legally.  The same boats as platforms - and their crews - were used to conduct all activity legal and illegal and to the local authorities - as well as donor nations attempting to help - it was impossible to project accurately when the activity would switch between licit and illicit.  We couldn’t analyze if this was a regional or global phenomena but I guess it was a widely copied practice.  As Anthony Barone has pointed out, border management and controls are not the panacea of containment but need to be part of a larger practice (see CBRA Interview 18 December 2015). Criminals use technology just as effectively!  His idea of assembling a group of independent experts to rethink new approaches to border management - and I might add, redefining the meaning of borders and how thinking differently about borders per se - is a good start.   Using strategic foresight come up with several alternative futures to present to a dedicated [supply chain] private-public partnership empowered to make changes would be my overarching recommendation

Sounds that the global supply chain community is facing increasingly more threats and risks! Any other suggestions on how to improve the situation, both short term and long term?

In the short term, as I mentioned, conduct a public-private-partnership exercise to rethink the concept supply chain surveillance for illicit activity and anticipating new and emerging illicit activity.  In the long run, we don’t give enough thought to knowledge as a part of the supply chain.  Using the supply chain for illicit activity begins with motivation and intent getting out in front of those who may do harm.  To address alternative futures will take some innovation and creativity, but the stakes are high.  The next AQ Khan Network may bring very bad things into Europe (and beyond!) compliments of ISIS.  We don’t know what knowledge the current refugee population possesses that may be part of some future attack on the financial and economic system of the EU or if some refugees worked on chemical or biological programs in their countries of origin.

Thanks David for this interview – and let´s start working towards a joint project on these topics of common professional and research interest!

Web-links:

http://www.cross-border.org/2014/10/21/dr-naim-on-illicit-trade/

http://www.cross-border.org/interviews/new-approaches-to-border-management/