WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) hosted the annual Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) conference last week to discuss the unified approach to securing the global supply chain and best practices to address challenges ahead. More than 1,200 participants from the private sector joined the conference which was held in National Harbor, Md.
"C-TPAT is really at the heart of where we are going with the country's national effort on global supply chain security," said CBP Acting Chief Operating Officer Thomas S. Winkowski. "The program allows us to work together to address risk at the earliest point of the supply chain process while expediting trade. It keeps our nation safe and promotes economic competitiveness."
Richard Reed, deputy assistant to the president for Homeland Security, also shared his thoughts on the value of programs like C-TPAT for both government and industry to enhance not only the security of critical infrastructure, but also resiliency and response. Reed cited Hurricane Sandy as an example of the private/public partnership working hand-in-hand to re-constitute trade and travel at our ports of entry. Additional keynote speakers at the conference included CBP Acting Assistant Commissioner for the Office of Field Operations, Kevin K. McAleenan, who announced the selection of Ms. Lauren M. Kaufer as the new C-TPAT director.
After the 9/11 tragedy, the biggest challenge CBP faced was securing imports from terrorist infiltration via smuggling of weapons, terrorists, or weapons of mass effect. C-TPAT is a voluntary government-business initiative to build cooperative relationships that strengthen and improve overall international supply chain and U.S. border security. C-TPAT recognized that U.S. Customs and Border Protection can provide the highest level of cargo security only through close cooperation with the ultimate owners of the international supply chain such as importers, carriers, consolidators, licensed customs brokers, and manufacturers. The C-TPAT program is one layer in CBP's multi-layered cargo enforcement strategy. Today, the program has nearly 10,500 members, 700 of which joined this past year.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.