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Homeland Security 5 Year Anniversary 2003 - 2008, One Team, One Mission Securing the Homeland

Remarks by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff at the Eighth Annual U.S. Customs and Border Protection 2007 Trade Symposium

Release Date: November 15, 2007

Washington, D.C.

Secretary Chertoff:  It's a lunch speech, but I don't see lunch.  I guess you all ate before I got here.

I want to thank Commissioner Basham for the introduction.  But beyond that, I want to thank him for his service not only in this challenging and very important job with a huge domain of responsibility, but also his prior service with the Secret Service and with the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center.  Ralph Basham has spent a career protecting this country, and we're very fortunate to have him as the Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection.

I also want to thank him for having these yearly symposiums that are designed to strengthen the security partnership between the government and the private sector.  And it's nowhere where that's more important than in the area of trade, because obviously that is a private sector function, but it's one in which there's an intersection with the United States government.

I thought I'd begin by talking a little bit about the picture that we face as we look out in the world from the standpoint of threat and security.  I had the opportunity earlier this week to take a very brief and compressed trip to the Middle East and to the United Kingdom, including a day I spent in Iraq, part of which was devoted to swearing in 178 new citizens who are currently in our armed forces and who were naturalized.  They came from 50 countries all over the world, and it's a reminder of the very dedicated men and women who serve in Iraq and in other places around the world defending the country.

I also had the opportunity to see, at least in an abbreviated period of time, some of the situation in Iraq.   And there is some positive development.  I remember flying back from Baghdad at night on our way out of the country, and you could see the city lit up, looking pretty much like a normal city.  So there are some positive developments, but there is a long way to go.  And the key ingredient, apart from the dedication of our troops and the ingenuity of our military leaders, is the resolution and fortitude of our country in supporting this effort.

I also had the opportunity to talk to a lot of people in the course of my trip.  And there's no question we are facing a dangerous world.  As I said during the summer, although there's no imminent threat of which we have a credible, specific warning, I do believe we're entering a period from a strategic standpoint of increased threat.  And of course part of that is the ability that al Qaeda and similar terrorist groups have had to do training and planning in some safe and secure places in South Asia.  Part of it is of course the amalgamation with al Qaeda of other groups that have now thrown their lot in as part of what I would almost describe as a franchise operation.  And although I think in some ways al Qaeda in Iraq is now suffering some notable and welcome reverses, we have to also look to see where similar henchman of bin Laden and his leadership are trying to gain ground in places like North Africa and East Africa.

So that we are facing a picture where this threat is not going to go away; it's going to adapt.  And although we've been successful up to now in preventing an attack from being executed in this country in the six years since September 11, 2001, we certainly can't rest on our laurels.

If we look back in fact over the last year, I think we have a vivid reminder of how dangerous the world remains.  In the United Kingdom earlier in the summer, but for the very keen observation of someone who detected an anomaly in a car parked outside a club in London, there might have been a significant car bombing.  And of course there was also a frustrated attack on Glasgow Airport.  The Germans disrupted a potentially serious plot to detonate IEDs in Germany, and here at home we've made arrests in connection with plots focused on Fort Dix, New Jersey and JFK Airport.

All of this tells us that we are entering a period of time in which the strategic risk will continue to be troubling, and therefore we have to make sure we are staying ahead of the enemy as opposed to assuming that because they have not succeeded in killing us here since 9/11, that we can afford to fold our arms and rest on our laurels.

A critical element of this strategy is monitoring who and what comes into the United States of America.  And by the way, the significance of borders can't be overstated.  Someone said to me, and it really rang true, that the moment of greatest vulnerability for the terrorists is when they encounter law enforcement officials.  And that is most likely to happen at a border.  At that point, the terrorist is alone, or with a very small group -- they don't have their support network; they're in their most vulnerable position.  If we can detect them at that point, if we can raise the risk to them at that point, we are making ourselves much safer. 

And that insight is behind not only everything that we have done -- in terms of collecting more information at the border, more precise targeting at the border, and raising our protections at the border -- but it's behind what the Prime Minister of Great Britain announced yesterday, as they're moving to enhance their borders to what they call an e-Border system that will collect more information and more biometrics.

The Europeans now are talking about the possibility of collecting more information from air passengers, which of course you'll remember was a process that we pioneered here at Customs and Border Protection, and was originally controversial.  But I think, you know, our allies around the world, as they see what we're doing, increasingly are beginning to say, you know, this makes sense, we need to do the same thing, too.

In the end, that is a powerful tool for all people who are interested in freedom and safety to strengthen ourselves against terrorism.  The more countries that collect information, share information, build secure pathways for travel and trade, the safer we all are, the easier it is for all of us to move freely, and the harder it is for terrorists to cause damage -- because we're creating more of these borders or these trip wires through which they have to pass.

The key here in a nutshell is a membrane that allows the innocent and the freedom-loving to travel without hindrance, but forces those who would do us harm to stumble as they come in to carry out their attacks.

Now I know the symposium theme this year is partnership, and I'm going to talk a little bit about partnership and a couple of other principles as they apply directly to the issue of our trading system.  And of course the other two principles are:  layering and risk management.  In a nutshell, this explains the operational approach and the strategy which we take to doing exactly what I suggest that we need to do:  protecting ourselves against people who want to exploit trade and travel to do us harm.

Of course, partnership is in some ways self-evident.  That's why you're here -- because you own the assets and you employ the people who are in fact global trade.  And therefore, we need to work with you and to exploit your natural investment in protecting your own assets and your own people.  We need to exploit that in order to make sure security for everybody is elevated.  And I might say this is not just a U.S. government issue; it is an issue that we have to deal with internationally.  The more we synchronize what we do with other countries, the easier it's going to be for you all to move around the globe without having to deal with differing standards and differing expectations.

A second issue is layering.  What does layering mean?  Layering recognizes the fact that nothing is fail-safe, and that if you put all your protection in one line of defense, you're going to have failure because human beings do err.  No one is perfect and no large group of people are perfect.  But the more different layers you build, the more ability you have, if you fail in one area, to pick it up in another area. 

One example of that is of course our cargo security strategy.  Now I know you know there are people who argued over the last couple years -- and I certainly heard this when I went to testify in Congress -- that we should be opening and inspecting 100 percent of the containers that come into this country.  I can't tell you how much I wish I had a nickel for every time someone said, we're only inspecting 4 percent of the containers coming into the country.  If I had a nickel for every time that was said, I wouldn't need to ask Congress to pass an appropriations bill this year. But I think we recognize that the consequence of that would be the end of our ports.  So what we do is we have a layered strategy.

The first layer is information.  We in fact screen -- that means obtain information about 100 percent of the shipments that come into our country.  And that gives us one layer of defense, because it tells us where we ought to focus our attention.

A second layer is to build automated scanning types of equipment, particularly for radiation or weapons of mass destruction.  By the end of this year, we will have almost 100 percent of the maritime cargo going through radiation scanning devices at our ports, and we're working with foreign countries to do as much of the scanning as we can overseas.  Again, it's a second layer that backs up the screening.

And then the third layer is the actual inspection itself, including some random inspections and targeted inspections, using, for the purposes of targeting, information that we collect about people who are shipping, destination, transactions, patterns of behavior, ships, crews, and a lot of other data that give us a picture.  What this does is it allows us to move goods into this country in a way that is a significant impediment to exploiting the system to bring in bad people or bad things, but does not materially disrupt or delay the ability to move large amounts of cargo in and out of the United States of America.

Now, is this system a guarantee against risk?  No, it's not.  It's risk management.  Risk guarantee, apart from the fact that I think it's virtually impossible, would be prohibitively expensive.  And to again take a page out of today's newspapers to give you an example -- although this isn't strictly speaking your area -- you know, there's consistently criticism of TSA because people run tests where they smuggle something in, hidden on their person, and it's not detected. 

And obviously we can always learn; we do a lot of this covert testing ourselves.  But it's a good illustration of a couple of features of what I said.  First of all, those tests tend to be uni-dimensional.  They don't take account of the layers because part of what we're doing, for example, at the airports, is not just relying upon x-rays or inspection by screening officers, but it's putting behavioral detection officers into the airport so we can look at people's behavior. 

That's what I mean by a second layer.  We may not pick it up just by doing an x-ray process, but if you add on to that behavioral detection that gives us an additional layer of protection.  That of course is not usually tested by these covert operators because the covert operators don't exhibit the behavior of a person who's about to commit a terrorist act.  They're not nervous, they're not exhibiting the signs of someone afraid of being caught, because they obviously don't face a downside consequence if they are caught. 

But the second, maybe, more important point is this:  I actually could pretty much guarantee that no one is going to get an explosive onto an airplane.  If I gave an order that we strip-search every boarding passenger and go through their clothing -- no, that would be a guarantee.  But that's not risk management.  And of course we don't choose to do that because that would be the end of the airline system.

So I put this to you because I think in the end, there's a quality to the arguments we get sometimes that I think baffles the public.  And I think we need to make the case to the public -- and you have a very strong interest from your business standpoint, making the case to the public -- that what a mature society does is it manages risk, but it doesn't guarantee risk.  It doesn't guarantee against bad things.  Only a nanny society tries to guarantee against bad things -- and that's the kind of society where you don't have free enterprise, and where you're not able to bring prosperity to people, and it also tends to be a society where there's not a heck of a lot of freedom.  So I think our values strongly suggest we ought to be in the -- continue to be in the risk management, and not the guarantee, mode.

Now let me talk specifically about a couple of things in connection with this.  In the SAFE Port Act of 2006, which of course we support and applaud Congress for passing, Congress expressed its support for our layered risk-based strategy to improve supply-chain security.  And we have completed, or are on track, to complete most of the Act's requirements. 

For example, our Secure Freight Initiative.  As you heard in yesterday's panel, our Secure Freight Initiative is comprised of three components:  International Container Scanning, Advanced Trade Data, and Global Trade Exchange, which is currently in a conceptual stage.

Container scanning required, under the SAFE Port Act, that we do 100 percent scanning at three overseas ports.  It was a recognition of the fact that while we can have almost 100 percent scanning at our ports here, it becomes much more complicated overseas.  I've had the opportunity myself to meet with foreign officials and operators, and to see in a couple of foreign ports both the opportunities and the challenges. 

What we have done is we've opened up secure freight scanning facilities in Pakistan, Honduras and the United Kingdom, and we have four more locations we're going to do that in the next few months, including Hong Kong.  We're looking forward to reporting to Congress next April on the challenges and the opportunities, the benefits and the burdens of doing this.

Now I do have to say that this summer, Congress passed the 9/11 Act, and one element of that which I think we did raise some concerns about was 100 percent scanning of all inbound containers overseas by 2012.  As we pointed out at the time, the difficulty with that is not every port has an architecture that accommodates radiation scanning for 100 percent.  Not every government is going to choose to allow us to do it.  And when you're dealing with transshipment, there may be some mechanical and technological challenges.  Although I agree that to the extent we can do scanning overseas, that's a good thing, this is an area where I think as we see the experience over the next few years, Congress is going to have to take a hard look at whether mandating truly 100 percent radiation scanning of everything in an overseas port is reasonable and properly balanced risk management.

But again, in conjunction with my layered approach, a second element of this is the advanced trade data -- using information to secure the global supply chain.  All of the features of our cargo security program depend in some way on this concept.  CTPAT, the Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism; Container Security Initiative, which does a lot of our inspection overseas; and our Automated Targeted System all depend upon getting information, have it be accurate, and using it for targeting. 

I'd make the case that this is something that promotes privacy and promotes trade; that the more information we have, the less we have to burden legitimate trade and travel with unnecessary inspections, and the more we can focus upon those particular containers or people which are highest risk.  The continued advance of information technology is going to make it cheaper and easier for us to store and use this data.  And the SAFE Port Act of course authorizes, and in fact mandates, that we continue to collect more information so we can perform this targeting function.

Our Security Filing Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, or 10+2, as it's commonly called, is a way of providing supply-chain transparency back to the point of stuffing more information at an earlier stage of the process.  And therefore it helps us fill some existing knowledge gaps about cargo movements and the parties who may have had access to the shipment.  And again I want to commend the partnership between industry and CBP earlier this year in helping us to develop this proposed rule.  The NPRM on this, the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, should be out before the year's end.  And then of course you and other stakeholders will have a further opportunity to comment. 

The bottom line is, this measure will mandate the key additional data, much of which is now included in entry submissions, be reported earlier to the government.  I think in the end that's going to help you because it's going to let us be more precise.  And by the way, let me say that it's as important to us as it is to you that we never have a circumstance where someone exploits the global cargo movement in order to smuggle in a weapon of mass destruction or do damage to a port, because that would hurt your business as well as, of course, hurting or killing American citizens.

The continued operation and the resiliency of this global trade network, even if there were an attack, is dependent on public confidence that we are getting a sufficient amount of information to allow us to make disciplined and reasonable decisions about who and what ought to be looked at and inspected.  And therefore I think this is not only a security case but a business case to be made for moving forward with this.

But of course the enemy continues to adapt, and so we have to continue to move forward and look beyond this year's rulemaking into the future.  Two years ago, my former deputy, Michael Jackson, outlined a vision here for a global trade exchange.  The global trade exchange, or GTX, envisions a private-sector-managed data warehouse that would amalgamate a wide range of non-traditional information on cargo movements. 

Let me stop for a second.  You know, when you log onto or some other, you know, online entity in order to buy something, they have your data and they analyze it.  And they use it to determine how to serve you better as a customer.  Well, that concept of collecting a little more information and analyzing it to provide better customer service translates here into providing better security at lower cost to the shipper and at less inconvenience.  And that's the vision we have for the third element of our Secure Freight Initiative:  collection of somewhat more information, better analysis, and therefore easier and more precise targeting and less disruption for innocent trade. 

In the coming weeks, CBP is going to issue a small-scale solicitation for proposals to test and validate this concept.  Participation at this point is going to be voluntary.  We welcome your efforts to help us develop a step-by-step approach to see whether this in fact is going to be as promising as we think it is going to be.

And of course we're going to make sure that we address concerns about security and operational demands by proceeding forward in concrete steps.

What I want to emphasize is that GTX is not about remaking the industry because you also do the same thing we're trying to do.  You try to use information technology to make your process better and more accurate.  And while the Security Filing Initiative will enhance our risk assessment tools, GTX will build on information that we currently receive, and what we currently receive under Secure Filing, to provide another element to help us refine our approach to risk assessment.

All of these things -- Security Filing and GTX -- share a common critical goal:  improving targeting by improving our visibility into the global supply chain process.  And by determining what additional data is necessary and valuable for targeting, while providing insight into potential facilitation benefits with an international scope, I think we, working with our partners around the world, are going to make it ultimately easier and faster for legitimate goods to move in a way that is unfettered around the globe. 

So that's our approach to protecting America from dangerous cargo.  Let me talk about a couple of other things that may be of interest before I take questions. 

Sometimes people accuse the Department of Homeland Security of being focused exclusively on terrorism.  But it's not the Department of Counterterrorism; it's the Department of Homeland Security.  And I'm here to tell you that we have a broader vision of homeland security than just counterterrorism, although certainly counterterrorism is at the top of the list.

What we're about is public safety, and in particular, public safety from threats, non-military threats that come from overseas, because in the end, whether it's a natural hazard or an innocent hazard or a deliberate hazard, in many cases, the consequences may be the same.

One area where we've seen this has been the issue of unsafe imports, which has been very much in the news.  And you know over the summer the President created an interagency working group, in which I participated under the chairmanship of Secretary Leavitt, and with the participation of some of my Cabinet colleagues, the group issued an action plan last week on how to identify threats and act against them at the border and beyond the border. 

The working group recommended that the government-wide collaborative efforts already underway as part of the Automated Commercial Environment/International Trade Data System, known by the rather unhelpful acronym ACE/ITDS, that this effort should become a key component of U.S. government strategy in dealing with import safety.  OMB has agreed and has created an e-government initiative to ensure a successful completion. 

What I'm suggesting to you is that we are integrated on our side in the way we're asking you to integrate.  We're trying to bring to bear at a single point of targeting all of the concerns we have not only about the possibility of terrorists coming in but about the possibility of dangerous imports that have not been adequately vetted coming in; or counterfeit goods, people masquerading inferior products or even dangerous products like pharmaceuticals under brand names to the detriment both of the business community and, worse yet, to the possible health risk of people who are consuming those medicines.

This is an example of how integration, building together, actually streamlines and enhances what's good for America and what's good for the business community. 

Finally, let me talk briefly about one particular element on this concept that's come up, which is agricultural inspection.  We are mindful of the need to, again, look for natural pests, as well as human-induced pests.  And in many ways, the CONOPS, the concept of operations, is the same.  A lot of time when a disease or a pest comes in, it may not necessarily be obvious whether it's terrorism introducing something in the food supply, or simply a natural hazard.  That can be true of foot-and-mouth disease; it can be true of other kinds of pests.

As part of this concept of integration that I've described as applying in the area of import safety, when this department was formed, some of the former USDA inspectors were incorporated as part of the agriculture inspection service into CBP.  Although there was a little bit of rockiness in the initial integration, now DHS and USDA enjoy a strong partnership and a commitment to the CBP agricultural inspection program.  They've established a joint task force, and we've actually leveraged DHS's resources to enhance the ability of those inspectors to do their job and to make sure we have an integrated, one-phase, streamlined approach at the border.

I do know there's some talk in the farm bill that's currently under discussion of Congress in reversing that and pulling the inspectors out.  Not only do I think that's a bad idea on the merits -- and the administration sent in a letter indicating that -- because what it would do is it would disaggregate and disintegrate and make the inspectors part of kind of an orphan organization at the port -- but I think it's emblematic of something that we need to watch as we go forward.

The essence of what we have to do is to integrate all of our border concerns and border security issues in a single place where we can balance the trade-offs and come up with the most cost-effective solution.

Now, a balanced set of trade-offs and a cost-effective solution is not one that makes everybody happy.  And so when every stakeholder group gets into the issue, and they focus on their particular need, and they begin to say, well, we want to have all the focus be on our concern, that's actually ultimately a recipe for a tremendous amount of inefficiency, for disintegrating and disaggregating what is streamlined, and for having us competing over whose concerns are the most important.  The result is to put sand in the gears that turn global trade around.

So I'm going to fight very hard to make sure that the advances that we've made in streamlining and integrating are not reversed simply because, inevitably, when you streamline and integrate, someone's going to get only 70 or 80 percent of what they want, not 100 percent of what they want.

My bottom line is, I'm pleased that we have been able to introduce a significant measure of security into our system, but I don't in any sense feel complacent about it.  Rather, particularly after my trip, I recognized how keen and how evolving the threats are, and how important it is for us not to stand in place but to keep running forward.

We have not had another successful attack in this country since September 11th, but we must continue to work together to minimize the risk that it could happen again.

So I want to urge us to continue to build on our partnership, to act strongly and effectively to strengthen our commerce at the same time that we protect our people and secure our homeland.

Thank you very much.

Now I think Mike Mullen is going to manage the issue of questions, which I believe have been previously submitted and are on cards.

Mr. Mullen:  Yes, sir, that's correct.  We have set up an arrangement where we have questions from the audience, which are submitted on the cards, and we also have members of the press with us today, and we'll allow them to ask their questions directly. 

So the first one came from the audience, and the question is, you mentioned in your remarks that you're always trying to find a balance between security and the facilitation of trade.  But some of us in the trade feel the pendulum has swung a little too far in the direction of security.  Could you comment on that?

Secretary Chertoff:  If I were to go up to Congress, I would probably hear the reverse comment, that you're too favorable to trade, you're captives of the business community, and you're not doing enough for security. 

I can't tell you that there's a perfect balance, and reasonable people can disagree.  Obviously our position is, we're not going to do 100 percent inspection.  And we've indicated that we don't necessarily think 100 percent overseas scanning makes sense.

On the other hand, I'm sure we've done some things that have made it a little harder and more expensive for the business community.  But I would leave you with this thought -- and it's just a very practical, realistic thought:  If we don't have a credible, defensible, reasonable security regime in global trade, and if it turns out that global trade is exploited to bring in a weapon of mass destruction or to cause a terrorist act, you know and I know that the public reaction will swing very sharply the other way, as it did right after 9/11.  And what will then happen is really a shutdown of global trade.

And it's for precisely this reason that actually the original concept for doing some of the overseas scanning was proposed by shippers, because they were concerned that if they didn't get us more involved in getting information doing scanning, if there were an event, the only reaction we could take would be to shut down global trade.  And they wanted to build enough information flow that we could be resilient, that we could recover from an attack on a port or something of that sort because we would be able to assure the public that we have enough information and enough security in place that they wouldn't have to immediately assume the whole system has to be grinding to a halt.

To me, to put it in business terms, this is a hedge against a very big risk.  And I think all of you buy insurance, and you all pay money to hedge, and I think you ought to think about what our philosophy is, in a sense, as a hedging philosophy.

Mr. Mullen:  Thank you, sir.  Second question from the audience:  What is the Department's position on maintaining the current funding level for ACE?

Secretary Chertoff:  Obviously we're -- of course, let me begin as I always do this last month by saying, we're eager for Congress to pass an appropriations bill so we can get the full level of funding we've already asked for for this year.

Again, without discussing the '09 budget, which has obviously not been issued yet, we're very committed to ACE, and we obviously have a lot of budgetary demands.  So we're going to have to balance all those to make sure that we don't just wildly overspend.  But we do consider it to be an important element of our strategy.

Question:  As Congress is demanding more security compliance by our trading partners, can you speak a bit to what the U.S. is doing to safeguard containers that are bound for the U.K. and other nations we do business with?

Secretary Chertoff:  Well, I've always been clear that we ought to be willing to do -- to say what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.  So to the extent other countries want to have similar systems for making sure we convey information so that they can do inspections, I think we have to agree to that.

What I really hope we can do, though, and we've had a lot of conversations about this with our partners in Europe and in Asia, is have a single set of standards.  We've done that, for example, in the air domain with respect to what you can bring on to airplanes.  We synchronized our liquids rule with the European Union's liquid rule.  And we're now starting to do that more and more with respect to other kinds of information.

What would be unfortunate would be if everybody had their own rule, because then you would have to navigate through a whole series of different arrangements.  But I think one of our high priorities is to make sure we do have a globally oriented system of standards.

Mr. Mullen:  This question involves travelers.  The question is, the people involved in trade must also cross borders themselves frequently.  The current policy of asking for picture IDs is creating confusion for many U.S. citizens returning to their homes.  Can you please elaborate on the implementation of WHTI?

Secretary Chertoff:  For those not that focused on it, this is the requirement that we previously -- a couple years ago, you could travel between Canada and the U.S. and the Caribbean using any one of 8,000 kinds of identification.  And if you read a recent GAO report, as well as earlier reports, that creates a huge vulnerability.  And, in fact, we have to worry about whether that's going to be exploited not necessarily by people who are terrorists from Canada or the Caribbean, but by people from other parts of the world who get phony identification and pretend to be Canadians or people from the Caribbean.

So we have imposed a rule, as required by statute, Congress, that requires now that if you travel by air, even in the Western Hemisphere, you have to have a passport.  And next year we'll be implementing a rule in stages that will require not a passport but either a passport, a PASS card, a NEXUS card or an enhanced driver's license to cross the land border.

Now, I understand that that's going to cause some cost, because people are going to have to acquire the new document.  And although eventually it will actually speed the process up because we're building an RFID chip into the card so that you actually can move more quickly across the border, inevitably that's going to be some inconvenience as we make the transition.

But again, let me -- this is a classic example of what I said earlier about trade-offs.  There was a GAO report about two weeks ago where they basically said that their information was that at the border, an unacceptably high number of people were being allowed to come through without a thorough checking of their documents, even the current documents, because they'd be waved through because of long lines and things of that sort.  And they said, that's a big vulnerability.  You've got to have a system in place to check everybody.

So here's the trade-off:  Should I tell GAO, I don't care what you have to say; we're going to keep waving people through and have the vulnerability?  Or should I say, you know, that's a good point -- and, by the way, a point we recognized a couple years ago and we've been addressing.  And we're actually moving to a system now where we are checking anybody.  And by -- everybody -- and by having the new cards, it will be quicker, because instead of typing in the name to check our databases, we'll be able to swipe the card and use the chip and get the information more quickly. 

Now, I can tell you one thing:  You can't have your cake and eat it.  And I know sometimes in Washington, I kind of feel there are some people in Washington who are always searching to disprove that truism; they really believe you can have your cake and eat it.  If you can find a way to do it, tell me.  I don't think you can.

So, in this case, I think the proper balance is an efficient but more secure way of checking who crosses the border.  I know that the person who asked that question probably doesn't -- themselves, they're not a risk.  But someone who comes across that border is going to be a risk.  And it may be that person's children who wind up paying the price for that.  So that's what I mean about trade-offs and balancing.

Question:  You've placed a lot of stock in going to the next generation of advanced radiation portal monitors to check at the ports.  And I believe you recently put the brakes on that program, or at least wanted to do an extra year of testing on that.  Can you explain what led to that decision and where that stands?

Secretary Chertoff:  I wouldn't say I put the brakes on the program, and I don't think we were looking for an extra year of testing, but we are looking -- I've been very insistent in this and in other programs -- that we not accept lab testing or testing under idealized conditions as the way of determining that something is suitable for deployment.

So my emphasis and my discussions with Commissioner Basham and everybody else is, look, you have to make sure your operators have tests that really replicate the challenges of the real world and that are going to -- it shouldn't be that when the system is installed, you have to have your fingers crossed that it's going to work.  You should be confident it's going to work in a real-world environment. 

So before I certify something for production, I'm going to want to make sure that the operators are satisfied, as well as the scientists, that the technology works in real life and not merely in the laboratory.

So I don't think this is going to be a material delay, but as I've said in other contexts, I'd rather get it right than get it fast.

Mr. Mullen:  Perhaps one more question, Mr. Secretary?  You mentioned that 10+2 will require additional data from the trade prior to a shipment actually being loaded.  Can you provide a little more detail on what you envision GTX might provide, beyond the 10+2?

Secretary Chertoff:  I think I have to be a little careful here, because there is a proposed rulemaking that will be out, as I say, this year, but it's not out yet, and I think I have to be careful about talking about the specifics of the rule.

But it will be out soon, and of course you'll have an opportunity to comment on it.

Question:  What is a small-scale solicitation?  When you start saying "small scale" I start thinking model trains and garden gnomes. 

Secretary Chertoff:  I think it means not soliciting to have somebody build the whole system at once, but to come up with a reasonable testing amount of information and participants to see if the system works on a small scale before we build it out.

The precise contours of exactly what we're going to be looking for in the request is going to have to be in the text of the request itself.

Mr. Mullen:  Mr. Secretary, there is one more question here, in case you think this audience doesn't have a sense of humor, but we're not going to ask you to answer this question, but I'll tell you what it is.  It's:  What do you think of Lou Dobbs?

Commissioner Basham:  I know he has an opinion on that.  But I -- normally, Mr. Secretary, in situations like this where we have a speaker, we give a hat or a cup or something.

Secretary Chertoff:  I have a lot of hats and cups.

Commissioner Basham:  You do have a lot of hats and cups, but because we're under a CR, Mr. Secretary, we couldn't afford to buy you anything.

Secretary Chertoff:  That's probably why you don't have lunch.

Commissioner Basham:  But if you would please just accept our thanks for an incredible presentation.  And, as I told you, he has depth of these issues that just sometimes astounds me, and I just sit in awe of the way you're leading this country and the way you're protecting us and our futures.  Thank you, sir, very much. 


This page was last modified on November 15, 2007