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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

In the face of terrorist threats and smaller, more lethal weapons of mass destruction, how do we keep our ports secure?

The United States is a maritime nation. More than 90% of U.S. imports and exports are delivered by ship. The Port of Baltimore, with its vibrant intermodal transportation link, is 30 miles from our Nation's capital, and is the nearest deepwater port to Chicago, Detroit, and America's heartland. The Port of Baltimore has the nation's maritime security challenges in microcosm — container security, cruise terminals, power generation, critical transportation links, population and financial centers — in addition to providing a gateway to the seat of our national government and the heartland. Keeping the gateways to America secure while keeping commerce flowing is a top priority of government and industry.

Join the U.S. Naval Institute as senior federal, military, academic and industry leaders examine the challenges and solutions relating to:

Directions to the 2nd Annual Homeland Port Security Conference: http://www.marylandports.com/cruises/page6a_directions.htm

Loding - The 2nd Annual Homeland Port Security Conference

A block of rooms is available for conference attendees at:

InterContinental Harbor Court Hotel
Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel

InterContinental Harbor Court Hotel

550 Light Street, Baltimore, MD 21202

The hotel is situated steps away from the Inner Harbor and Harborplace, along with offering deluxe guest rooms with a mesmerizing view of either the harbor or a scenic view of their landscaped gardens.

Please call 1-800-824-0076 or 410-347-9700 and identify yourself as a part of the U.S. Naval Institute Room Block.

Discounted Rate
A limited number of rooms are available at the $279 rate through Wednesday, 2 May.

Check-in Time: 3:00 p.m.
Check-out Time: 12:00 p.m.

Self parking is available in the hotel parking garage located on Lee Street. Rates are $21/day for overnight parking; valet parking overnight is $29/day.

Directions to the InterContinental Harbor Court Hotel


Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel

700 Aliceanna Street, Baltimore, MD 21202

Experience the amazing Harbor views and city life from their luxurious guestrooms, while being within easy walking distance to downtown Baltimore.

Please call 1-800-228-9290 or 410-385-3000 and identify yourself as a part of the U.S. Naval institute Room Block..

Discounted Rate
A limited amount of rooms are available at the $219 rate through Monday, 30 April.

*This is a non-smoking hotel.

Check-in Time: 4:00 p.m.
Check-out Time: 12:00 p.m.

An on-site parking garage is available at the end of President Street, which has a connecting bridge to the hotel. Rates are $21/day for overnight parking; valet parking overnight is $32/day.

Directions to the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel


By Art Pine

Baltimore, Maryland—The United States has made significant progress on improving harbor security and screening container ships since the terrorist attacks of 2001, but it still must develop better plans to keep commerce moving after a major port disruption.

That was the major theme sounded at the U.S. Naval Institute's second annual homeland port security conference held on 22 May in the cruise terminal of the Maryland Port Administration. The day-long session attracted hundreds of attendees from the military, law enforcement organizations, and the maritime industry.

The assessments came in keynote addresses by former Governor Thomas J. Ridge, who served as the first secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, and retired Coast Guard commandant James M. Loy, who was Ridge's deputy during the department's first three years, and in panel discussions through the day.

"The security and economy of the United States intersect at our ports," Ridge told the group in a speech that stressed the need for officials to "balance" America's port security measures against the necessity of keeping the U.S. and global economies expanding in case of another major terrorist attack.

Admiral Loy told the group that after five and a half years of building a system designed to prevent terrorist attacks, the United States needs to take stock and determine whether what it has done so far—much of it put together as part of an "emotional" response to the 2001 attacks—should be revised to fit in better with the nation's broader goals.

The United States should now seek to develop an overarching "intellectual construct"—such as the one that guided America during the Cold War—that would help it refine the current apparatus and procedures for dealing with homeland security, Loy told the conference in a luncheon speech. "It is in fact the economic underpinning that provides us with the quality of life that we care about," he said.

The series of panel discussions dealt with a wide range of key issues, from improving procedures for container screening and securing terminals for liquid natural gas (LNG) ships to refining the role of maritime domain awareness and restoring maritime commerce after a disaster.

Ridge and others stressed that the United States must continue to enlist the help of other countries in screening containers at foreign ports before they are loaded on ships bound for the United States—a process that U.S. Customs and Border Protection already has put in place in several major exporting countries.

"We have to be globally connected," Ridge said.

LNG: Nightmare Scenario

The conference's opening session dealt with what has become one of the nightmare scenarios in any discussion about port security—the fear of a major spill and explosion at a terminal for liquid natural gas ships.   

Jeffrey Beale, president of CH-IV International, which designs LNG shore facilities, sought to allay fears about the massive explosions that could come from such a mishap, pointing out that LNG can't burn unless it's first converted from a liquid to a gas. He also stressed that LNG vessels are built with especially strong outer and inner hulls and tanks, layered with insulation.

"Spill from an LNG tank will not result in an explosion," Beale said. He also pointed out that while LNG fires are white-hot, they burn themselves out rapidly, so an LNG fire wouldn't linger, as conventional fires do.   

Coast Guard Rear Admiral Brian Salerno, assistant commandant for plans and policy, also suggested that the safety record for LNG vessels has been a good one.

"LNG has been transported for 35 years, and we have never had a major LNG tragedy," he told the conference.

But panel members conceded there's still broad disagreement about how far from major downtown areas to locate LNG terminals in order to protect the public adequately.

Jerry Havens, a University of Arkansas professor who is a recognized expert on chemical explosions and the dispersion of hazardous gases, argued that current requirements that each LNG terminal be surrounded by an exclusion zone "are not based on a worst-case spill" and thus don't really guarantee protection to the public.

"That makes no sense to me," he said.

Havens also called on the Coast Guard to impose exclusion zones around LNG ships.

Retired Coast Guard Commander Christopher Doane, chief of operations planning for the Coast Guard's Atlantic Area, served as moderator of the discussion.

Maritime Domain Awareness

A second panel, on maritime domain awareness, focused on how the government can cope with the mass of disparate intelligence it now receives involving port security and container tracking, and how it can use the information to help protect the economy from disruption.

Norman Polmar, analyst and columnist for the U.S. Naval Institute's Proceedings magazine, sketched out the enormous opportunities that global transportation provides for terrorists, and the challenges that authorities face in keeping track of them.

Some 16 million containers arrive at U.S. ports each year, Polmar said. Goods—and, potentially, weapons—can cross U.S. borders in trucks, cars or vans. Yet, authorities must find ways of keeping on top of things without constricting commerce so much that it impedes economic activity.

George Karol, a retired Navy captain who is now a senior analyst with Science Applications International Corporation, said maritime domain awareness is "the inescapable operational requirement to mitigate against a quiet but slowly developing threat that has the potential to" cripple the economy.

Yet panelists agreed that although the government has done much to tighten security over the past five years, there still was no overarching framework for how to get new intelligence to the appropriate agencies.

"It's an incredibly muddled government picture; we've got a wealth of players," said Dana A. Goward, director of the Coast Guard's maritime domain awareness integration program.

Navy Rear Admiral Lee J. Metcalf, director of his service's maritime domain awareness program, said the government needs to develop a framework that would "help leverage what the Coast Guard and other organizations" have done. "We need to move toward that kind of a model," he said. "The challenge is, how do we do that in steps?"

At the same time, the Coast Guard's Dana Goward said a suggestion that U.S. maritime authorities create a new system that parallels what the Federal Aviation Administration does to monitor air traffic may not work as well for shipping traffic because so many entities are involved.

"It's not the processes—it's the people, places, and politics," he said.

Another member of the panel, W. Scott Gould, vice president for government strategy development at IBM Global Business Services, distributed a 28-page report on how to enlist business and government in improving global security in shipping without impeding the flow of commerce.

Containers: How Much Inspection Is Enough?

An afternoon panel took up the question of how much container screening is practical given the tremendous flow of maritime traffic.

Moderator Scott Truver, vice president for national security programs at General Dynamics Information Technology, laid out the dilemma for container inspection: The volume of container shipping is huge, and the United States doesn't yet have the technology to cover it all without enormous costs to the economy.

Thomas S. Winkowski, deputy assistant commissioner for field operations at U.S. Customs and Border Protection, said the government is working to expand its screening of containers—by expanding agreements with other countries to enable American customs agents stationed abroad to oversee the checking of containers bound for the United States before they leave foreign ports. He said the government now scans about 81 percent of containers heading for U.S. ports and expects to boost that to 92 percent by the end of this year, with minimal inconvenience to shippers.

"We're not here to stand in the way of legitimate commerce," he said.

But Luke Ritter, chief executive officer of Trident Global Partners, a transportation consulting firm based in Annapolis, said officials sometimes have "flirted dangerously close to...imbalance" in their efforts to avoid impeding commerce when they try to keep tabs on container traffic. He said the government needed to review how much screening was appropriate.

Also on the panel were F. Brooks Royster III, director of the Maryland Port Administration; Ryan Eddy, Advisor for Policy to the Director, Domestic Nuclear Detection Office; and Allan Thompson, vice president for global supply chain policy for the Retail Industry Leaders Association.

Recovering after an Attack

A final panel discussion, on how to restore maritime commerce after an attack, centered on the closest case-study the United States has experienced in the past three years—the efforts to restore the port facilities in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Gary LaGrange, president of the Port of New Orleans, compared the devastation following Katrina as "nothing less than a war zone." Moreover, he said, local officials and port authorities had no plans on the shelf for how to deal with it. "When it hit, we were pretty much caught with our pants down," he said.

LaGrange also praised the federal government, particularly the military, for providing prompt aid in the form of rescue crews and ships that served as temporary housing for recovery workers.

"The rapidity with which the federal government showed up, contrary to popular belief, was astounding," he said. "I never want to hear that the federal government didn't do anything to act."

But LaGrange and other panelists, including Owen Doherty, director of the office of security at the U.S. Maritime Administration; Kevin W. Krick, assistant director for security and accident prevention at the Pacific Maritime Association; and Mark Montgomery, senior vice president for East Coast operations of Ports America, Inc., agreed that a key component in the ability of any port to revive itself after a major disruption, is to have a detailed recovery plan that lists the assets and supplies that are likely to be available and outlines how to obtain them and put them to use.

Moderator of the panel was retired Army Lieutenant Colonel Robert Price, director of the Center for Homeland Security at Towson University in Baltimore County.

Loy: Time for Stock Taking

In calling for a time of stock taking in the effort to improve homeland security, Admiral Loy compared today's situation to the one the government faced in its attempts to prevent another big oil spill after the incident involving the tanker Exxon Valdez in 1989, which poured 11 million gallons of crude oil into Alaskan waters.

Immediately after the Exxon Valdez accident, he recalled, the administration and Congress pushed through several major pieces of legislation designed to regulate tanker shipping, some of them hastily put together in an effort to respond to public concern.

"That's where we stand today" on homeland security, Admiral Loy told the group. He said the government had spent billions of dollars on aviation security while providing far less to maritime security, and had burdened the system with "six or seven layers" that should be consolidated and made more efficient.

Loy said the challenge for maritime domain awareness was to find out "how many players are out there, and how do you keep them out of each others' way?"    
Loy said the United States has gone through similar stock-taking periods after other major traumas—World War II and the Cold War, for example—in which the government reacted quickly to a situation and then found it needed to sort out what it had done so far.

"The most evident element that remains," he said, is to develop "an intellectual construct that would allow us to go forward and recognize that what we were doing had a greater purpose."  He did not suggest what such a framework might contain.

Cruise around the Harbor

Attendees were treated to an early-morning tour of Baltimore harbor aboard the Lady Baltimore, a cruise ship operated by Harbor Cruises, a Baltimore tour boat company. Narrators were Brooks Royster and Coast Guard Captain Brian Kelley, captain of the port. Baltimore is a major center for container shipping on the East Coast.

The conference, the second in a continuing series on port security, was titled "Sum of All Fears," a reference to the best-selling novel by author Tom Clancy about a terrorist attack launched against the United States.

Mr. Pine, a former naval officer, is a veteran journalist who has worked as a Washington correspondent for the Baltimore Sun, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and Los Angeles Times.

Printer Friendly Schedule

Tuesday, May 22, 2007
6:45AM - 7:15AMRegistration Opens and Attendee Boarding for the Lady Baltimore from the Maryland Port Administration Cruise Terminal
7:15AM - 8:30AMBreakfast Cruise, Lady Baltimore
9:00AM - 9:45AMOpening Remarks
9:45AM - 10:45AM"Protecting our Cities: How Do We Keep LNG Terminals Secure?"
10:45AM - 11:00AMMorning Break: Coffee and Snacks
11:00AM - 12:00PM"Maritime Domain Awareness: What Is It, What Should It Be, and What are the Roles?"
12:00PM - 1:30PMLuncheon Keynote 
1:45PM - 2:45PM"Balancing Safety, Security, and Commerce: How Much Container Screening Is Practical?"
2:45PM - 3:00PMAfternoon Break: Coffee and Snacks
3:00PM - 4:00PM"After Attack:  How Do We Restore Maritime Commerce?"
4:00PM - 5:30PMCocktail Reception

F. Brooks Royster


Director, Maryland Port Administration


Captain Brian Kelley


Captain of the Port of Baltimore

Governor Thomas J. Ridge


First Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security


Chris Doane


Chief of Operations, U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area


Mr. Jeff Beale


President, CH-IV International


Chief William Goodwin


Chief, Baltimore City Fire Department


Dr. Jerry Havens


A Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering, University of Arkansas


RDML Brian Salerno, USCG


Assistant Commandant for Plans and Policy


Norman Polmar



RDML Lee Metcalf, USN


Director for Integration and Augmentation


CAPT Dana Goward, USCG


Director, U.S. Coast Guard Maritime Domain Awareness


The Honorable Scott Gould


Vice President, IBM Public Sector Strategy & Change


CAPT George Karol, USN (Ret.)




ADM James Loy, USCG (Ret.)

Keynote Speaker

Former Commandant of the Coast Guard and Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security


Dr. Scott Truver, Ph.D.


Staff Vice President, National Security Programs, Center for Security Strategies and Operations, General Dynamics Information Technology


Luke Ritter


CEO, Trident Global Partners


Vayl Oxford


DHS Domestic Nuclear Detection Office


Allen Thompson


Vice President, Global Supply Chain Policy Retail Industry Leaders Association


F. Brooks Royster III


Director, Maryland Port Administration


Jayson P. Ahern


Asst. Commissioner, Field Operations, Customs and Border Protection


LTC Robert Price, USA (Ret.)


Director, Center for Homeland Security, Towson University



Gary LaGrange


President & CEO, Port of New Orleans


Owen Doherty


Director, Office of Security, U.S. Maritime Administion


Kevin W. Krick


Pacific Maritime Association, Assist. Director, Security & Accident Prevention


Mark Montgomery


Senior VP—East Coast Operations, Ports America Inc.


Don’t miss this opportunity to position your company at an assembly of influential military, political, and business leaders gathered for a critical forum to discuss the issues essential to defending our nation’s ports, terminals, and maritime commerce.

  • Conference Co-sponsor
  • VIP Dinner (21 May at World Trade Center) — Invitation Only Event
  • Lady Baltimore Breakfast Cruise
  • Morning Conference Break
  • Afternoon Conference Break
  • Keynote Lunch
  • Closing Cocktail Reception
  • Conference Patron

For more information and details regarding how to become a sponsor, please contact [email protected].

There are currently no sponsors listed for this event. Please check back soon for a full list.


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