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MIKOH ..some reading

  1. 131 Posts.
    The 8th paragraph is the most relevant ...it is the threat of global security...mentions initiative started at 3 Canadian seaports etc



    April 30, 2002

    Treasury Secretary Paul H. O'Neill Testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee

    Good morning, Chairman Byrd, Senator Stevens, and distinguished members of the Committee. It is my pleasure to appear before you to discuss the Homeland Security missions of the Treasury Department.

    We all know that the world has changed since terrorists attacked us on September 11th. That change is very evident at the United States Treasury Department, where we are center-stage for some of the toughest challenges facing our country.

    The tragic events of September 11th sparked an incredible increase in the nationwide efforts to prevent and combat terrorism. Treasury has been at the forefront of these efforts with our law enforcement bureaus and offices participating in the war on terrorism at home and abroad. We bear the responsibility of protecting the Nation on three fronts: at our borders; in the world of finance; and here at home.

    Our Nation's first line of defense against terrorists and terrorist activity is the security of our borders.

    Before I address some of the specific measures that we have taken at our borders, I would like to describe two new initiatives that highlight the approach I believe that the government should take as we strive to protect the Nation from future terrorist attacks.

    Since the attacks of September 11th we have insisted on a new level of security at our Nation's borders to protect our homeland. And we created a new challenge for our economy -- to adopt new security measures without reducing the productivity of American companies.

    The first border initiative I would like to describe was unveiled on April 16th, when I joined Governor Ridge, Customs Commissioner Bonner, and Governor Engler at the Ambassador Bridge in Detroit to launch the Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism, referred to as C-TPAT. Under this program, C-TPAT businesses commit to pursuing the very best practices in supply chain security. They work with the Customs Service, and with their own suppliers, to design and implement secure procedures. In exchange, Customs assures them of much faster, and thus, less costly import processing.

    It is the threat to global security and the break from conventional wisdom that gave birth to the second initiative I would like to describe, the Container Security Initiative (CSI). The CSI would secure an indispensable, but vulnerable, link in the chain of global trade: the oceangoing sea container. Ensuring the security of the maritime trade system is essential, given that approximately 90% of the world's cargo moves by container. This initiative consists of four core elements. These are: (1) establishing criteria to identify high-risk containers; (2) pre-screening those containers identified as high-risk before they leave the port of origin; (3) using technology to quickly pre-screen high-risk containers; and (4) developing and using smart and secure containers. Customs has already rolled this initiative out at three Canadian seaports and they are actively engaging other large overseas seaports, and working with the foreign governments within which those large international ports are located, to cooperatively develop a program to implement the four key elements of the CSI.

    These are two examples of what we mean by "smart" borders. Rather than just accepting the conventional wisdom that, without a vast influx of new resources, there is an unavoidable trade-off between efficiency and security, these new endeavors are an improvement in both. When we are at our best -- both in government and in the private sector -- we can accomplish anything we set our mind to.

    With those examples of where I believe we should be going, I would now like to inform the Committee of where we have already been since September 11th. Following the attacks of September 11th, the border threat level was raised from Alert Level 4 (normal operations) to the highest level, Alert Level 1 (Code Red). The United States Customs Service, our Nation's first line of defense at 301 ports of entry into the Nation, has made the fight against terrorism its number one priority. In response to this heightened state of alert, Customs has hired additional personnel to staff our borders and seaports, and has engaged members of the National Guard to increase security around our Nation's borders.

    In FY 2002 appropriations Customs received almost $400 million for addressing specific homeland security matters (in addition to $65 million provided through separate Presidential releases). Of this amount, $235 million is being used for a combination of personnel and new equipment in ports of entry on the northern border and at critical seaports, along with selected investments on the southern land border.

    Customs has set out an expenditure plan for this funding for Congressional review that responds to both short and long-term security concerns. The recurring cost of labor-intensive efforts will be coupled with technology investments that will increase efficiencies and enhance the level and degree of scrutiny for various ports of entry.

    The FY 2003 proposal for the U.S. Customs Service includes $365 million not only to continue its increased focus on Northern Border and Marine Port security efforts, but also to address other areas of vulnerability, such as: international money laundering; security infrastructure; southwest border staffing; and funding for backup commercial recovery facilities. Ports of entry have been identified as potential entry points for terrorists as well as the most likely avenue for them to introduce implements of terror into the country. The danger this presents has become a focus for the FY 2003 request.

    In FY 2003, Customs will add 626 new positions, in addition to the 1,075 positions allocated in FY 2002, to vulnerable locations on the northern and southern land borders, and in seaports with the highest volume of containerized cargo. They will counter the terrorist threat while facilitating legitimate trade and travel.

    The FY 2003 request also includes a large complement of inspection and targeting technology (including a modest research component), a further expansion of the Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) to real-time processing capability, and technology to expedite the passage of goods imported by highly trusted entities.

    Finally, low volume Ports of Entry would be protected through "hardening" measures including physical barriers, sensors and monitoring devices to prevent and detect unauthorized crossings. Customs serves as the lead agency for Operations Green Quest and Shield America. These multi-agency task forces are dedicated to identifying, disrupting, and dismantling terrorist financing sources and systems and ensuring that munitions and sensitive U.S. technologies are not unlawfully exported into the hands of terrorists. The FY 2003 budget supports and maintains these critical task forces.

    Equally important with protecting our Nation's borders is stopping the terrorists from being able to finance their operations.

    Treasury has mustered forces from across its offices, agencies, and bureaus to fulfill its mandate to lead the war against global terrorist financing. Alongside Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), staff from the Offices of International Affairs, Enforcement, and the General Counsel have all been deeply engaged in disrupting and destroying the networks that finance terrorism.

    In his November 7th address at Treasury, President Bush proclaimed that "the first strike in the war against terror targeted the terrorists' financial support." Following the attacks, FinCEN and OFAC were able to identify and stymie numerous supporters of the Al Qaida and other terrorist organizations by freezing $34 million in terrorist assets and working with allies overseas to freeze over $70 million. Funding levels proposed for FY 2003 will better enable FinCEN to sustain and maintain these activities.

    Our efforts to block the assets of terrorist financiers and supporters have truly become an international endeavor. As part of these efforts, a Terrorist Finance Task Force has been created by the Office of International Affairs that coordinates our outreach to other countries and jurisdictions and monitors their progress in combating the financing of terrorism. One of the more visible results of these efforts was accomplished on April 19th, when the G-7 Finance Ministers joined in Washington and jointly designated nine individuals and one entity as terrorist supporters or financiers related to al-Qaeda. As part of our overall strategy to maintain the international momentum in our battle against terrorist financing, I have made critical trips to Europe and the Persian Gulf to discuss the importance of coordinated action in this arena. The Treasury Department will continue to work with our international partners in the war against terrorist financing.

    While leading protection efforts on the borders and in the banks, Treasury has also placed an increased emphasis on security within the Nation in the protection of our Nation's leaders, foreign dignitaries and, ultimately, our Nation's freedom. The United States Secret Service, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and Federal Law Enforcement Training Center are at the forefront of these efforts.

    The United States Secret Service is the only Federal government entity charged with the challenging mission of protecting the President, Vice President, and foreign heads of state. In response to increasing homeland security threats, the Secret Service has been assigned new protectees and has seen significant workload increases in its protective functions. The FY 2003 budget provides funding to enable the Secret Service to meet its protective requirements, including funding for travel, overtime, and follow-on costs associated with Special Agents and Uniformed Division Officers hired in FY 2002.

    Around the world, firearms and explosives are the most frequent tools of terrorist attacks. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is charged with enforcing Federal laws relating to commerce in, and the criminal misuse of, firearms and explosives, and ATF's authority and technical expertise are integral components in fighting the Nation's war against terrorism. Through the awareness that terrorists need funds to operate, ATF has found that illegal commerce in alcohol and tobacco products serve as attractive and lucrative sources for generating funds for illegal activities.

    As new law enforcement officials are being recruited and hired to fill the various positions critical to the Nation's war on terrorism, training for these individuals to perform their duties in a safe and highly proficient manner has become an immediate necessity. The Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) serves as the Federal government's leading provider of law enforcement training. FLETC currently provides training for 74 Federal Partner Organizations, and also for state, local and international law enforcement organizations on a reimbursable basis. Training is provided in the most cost-effective manner by taking advantage of economies of scale available only from a consolidated law enforcement training organization. The FY 2003 request provides funding to maintain current levels prior to the September 11th terrorist attacks, while also providing additional funding to support the training of new agents hired as a result of the attacks.

    In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, I would like to take this opportunity to recognize the incredible efforts of the men and women of the Treasury Department since September 11th. We all know that computer systems do not lead excellence. Dollars do not lead excellence. People lead excellence. While the Treasury Department still has some ways to go before we achieve true excellence, with breakthroughs like those I witnessed in Detroit on April 16th, I am confident that the people of the Treasury Department will be ready to lead the way.

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