Summary: The report reviews the US Customs and Border Protection’s (CPB) approach to risk assessment and targeting of maritime shipping containers. The report’s highlights that CPB does not have clear decision rules and reporting procedures to monitor percentage of containers that the risk assessment system flags high-risk and that get eventually examined. The source of this problem is that the CPB’s officials (targeters) may waive examination of the high-risk containers if the container (i) falls within a predetermined category (standard exception), or (ii) the targeters can articulate why the shipment should not be considered high risk. The targeting units have currently differing definitions of “standard exceptions” and differing views on what constitutes the “articulate reasons.” The GAO report recommends the CPB to clarify, harmonize and enforce the rules and the procedures for waiving the high-risk containers from examination. As for CORE, this report provides a detailed and recent outlook on the US maritime risk assessment and targeting scheme, and this information is going to support work of the CORE’s risk cluster and the demonstrations that involve shipping of sea containers into the US. The report is available for download at: www.gao.gov/assets/670/668098.pdf.
Full review: This GAO reports contains crucial information about the US risk assessment and container targeting systems that benefit the CORE’s risk cluster. The report outlines principles, procedures, datasets and scanning methods that constitute the world’s most advanced risk assessment system for maritime shipping containers. The CORE’s IT cluster might also benefit from the report’s description of the CPB’s Automated Targeting System (ATS) that is used to compute risk scores for shipping containers and flag the ones with the highest score as high-risk. Regarding the CORE demonstrations, the GM demon (WP19) must comply with data requirements (24-hour rule and the “10+2” rule) that enable the US risk assessment and targeting system. Also the demos involving customs controls, especially WP11.2 and WP10.1, may learn something from the ways how the US border control authorities are assessing risk levels of incoming containers.
- Supply Chain Security: CBP Needs to Conduct Regular Assessments of Its Cargo Targeting System. GAO-13-9. Washington, D.C.: October 25, 2012.
- Maritime Security: Progress and Challenges in Key DHS Programs to Secure the Maritime Borders. GAO-14-196T. Washington, D.C.: November 19, 2013.
- Supply Chain Security: Feasibility and Cost-Benefit Analysis Would Assist DHS and Congress in Assessing and Implementing the Requirement to Scan 100 Percent of U.S.-Bound Containers. GAO-10-12. Washington, D.C.: October 30, 2009.
Additional keywords: Security Filing and Additional Carrier Requirements (known as the 10+2 rule), 24-hour rule, risk assessment