U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY2003-07-28 19:53:11

SECRETARY RIDGE ANNOUNCES THE AWARDING OF $28 MILLION FOR OPERATION SAFE COMMERCE

As part of the Bush Administration's ongoing commitment to strengthen security throughout the nation's transportation system, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Tom Ridge today announced the awarding of $28 million in Operation Safe Commerce grants.

"Operation Safe Commerce is about building on our capabilities and strengthening each layer of defense. This program provides the resources to find innovative new ways for ports to track and protect cargo entering the U.S. from all over the world," said Secretary Ridge.

The $28 million in funding, along with $30 million announced last month, builds on a comprehensive port security strategy and range of enhancements directed by the President following September 11, 2001. The $28 million awarded today includes $14.2 million for the Port of Seattle/Tacoma, $7 million for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and $5.4 for the Port of Los Angeles/Long Beach.

Operation Safe Commerce is a pilot program that brings together private business, ports, local, state, and federal representatives to analyze current security procedures for cargo entering the country. The program will function like a venture capital fund to prompt research and development for emerging technology to monitor the movement and integrity of containers through the supply chain.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is the primary grant coordinator of the Operation Safe Commerce program. Over the next year, TSA grant officers and program officers in the TSA's Office of Maritime and Land will monitor recipients' projects to ensure they stay within budgetary and operational guidelines. Grant recipients who do not meet these strict standards may be denied reimbursement.

The Department of Transportation (DOT), which serves as co-chair of the Executive Steering Committee that oversees the Operation Safe Commerce program, has served as an active partner with DHS in developing the criteria for these awards. As the primary federal agency responsible for transportation mobility, DOT has also played a critical role in ensuring that Operation Safe Commerce projects not only deliver security benefits, but also enhance the efficiency of the various supply chains selected for awards under the program.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) plays an integral role in Operation Safe Commerce as it continues to seek out, test and employ the latest in global cargo-tracking and non-intrusive inspection technologies at ports of entry, here and abroad. These cutting edge technologies continue to safeguard America, while at the same time protecting the global supply chain and facilitating the flow of commerce in such ongoing CBP initiatives as the Container Security Initiative (CSI), the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT), and the Free And Secure Trade (FAST) program.

Now that the Operation Safe Commerce grants have been awarded, the three ports will begin testing new technologies and initiatives in selected supply chains. The new technologies will look at improving security during the process of stuffing and deconsolidating containers, physically securing and monitoring containers as they are transported through the supply chain, and exchanging timely and reliable communication.

For more information contact:
Transportation Security Administration
Mail Stop: TSA-6
400 7th St. Sw
Washington
D.C. 20590
United States Of America



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