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Homeland Security for the Port of Baltimore - Essay Example

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Instructor Name: Homeland Security The Port of Baltimore, in the state of Maryland, the eighth largest port of the United States, handles around 22 million tons of cargo in a year. It imports the highest volume of forest products, gypsum and sugar, farm and construction equipment and is the second-largest exporter of cars…
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Homeland Security for the Port of Baltimore
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Download file to see previous pages With so much at stake, it is no doubt crucial to consider all possible threats a place like Port Baltimore may be vulnerable to and be prepared with measures to ensure the safety of the city, the people involved, the property and the security of the whole country. Ports are crucial for both, the security of a country and its trade and economy, as they serve as terminals with access across its boundaries. This opens possibilities for infiltration of illegal activities and products along with the usual trade. Thus ports pose a great threat of certain hazards or sources of possible disaster to the city and the country if left improvised. Of the many threats that enable U.S agencies to take effective measures for the protection of the country’s resources and vulnerable assets, the threat of terrorism has the greatest power, especially in the post 9/11 era. The possibilities of terrorist attacks via shipping ports are innumerable. With only six percent of the nine million containers entering the U.S, (Medalia 2) and fourteen percent of the 140,000 containers at Baltimore being examined for explosives, (Davis and GormanSun), it is evident that these portals to the United States are pretty much available to terrorists wanting to strike. It would be fairly easy to hide explosives in the eight to nine feet high and twenty to forty feet long containers that are used to carry the cargo transported between ports. (Medalia 2) Apart from being easy and susceptible targets, they are also fairly attractive in terms of results for such terrorist groups as well. With inflammable material that can cause a minor explosion to spread over miles, even a ten to twenty kiloton bomb could cause a loss of more than $1.2 trillion from direct and indirect costs resulting from the damage of property and disruption of trade activity. (Medalia 2). The destruction could extend to a radius of one or two miles, thus affecting the city the port is in, resulting in a comprehensive disaster. (Medalia 3). Another equally hazardous threat to the U.S port is Drug smuggling, which was the number one priority before September 11, 2001. The failure in the prohibition of drugs infiltrating the country may result in indirect facilitation of terrorist activities and a larger impact on the society by fuelling crime and disease. (Loy 156). According to statistics provided by Interagency Assessment of Cocaine Movement, most of the transportation of illegal drugs is carried out through the sea. (Loy 157) The third effective threat to U.S coasts and ports is the possibility of damage and injury caused by the mishandling of hazardous materials that have the ability to contaminate and destroy not only cargo and property, but marine life and the environment. All this can inadvertently affect the economy by interference in trade and recreation activities around the water front as well as health of the citizens of the port city. Provided that the forces threatening the security of port today are much better equipped than they were a decade ago, it is necessary to maintain the efficiency of security systems in the context of developing technology and update methodologies to keep up with the unpredictable and surreptitious approach of the possible enemies of the state. (Pike) Coast guard and customs and Border protection are federal agencies with the strongest presence in seaports. After 9/11 coast guard has created the largest port ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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