After the attacks on September 11, 2001, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) launched the Container Security Initiative (CSI) to increase security for maritime containerized cargo shipped to the U.S. from around the world.
More recently, DHS instituted the Secure Transit Corridors Program to develop secure supply chain routes for goods shipped among Mexico, the U.S., and Canada. The Navy subsequently adapted these systems to meet its own requirements for the security of its fixed and mobile munitions storage sites, such as railcars and cargo containers. Throughout these mutual efforts, the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific (SSC Pacific) has partnered with DHS and other organizations to develop, test, evaluate, and transition new cargo security technologies to meet specific requirements.
Most recently, SSC Pacific, DHS, and Sandia National Laboratories are successfully collaborating on smartphone reader technology to further optimize cargo security. Initiated within SSC Pacific in 2011, the current handheld project aims to develop a device that is able to connect to multiple security devices. The latest handheld technology combines three components: an Android smartphone, a phone application (app) that is another example of an SSC Pacific-Sandia partnership, and a hardware bridge that allows the phone to communicate via IEEE 802.15.4. It allows the user to connect to a data center, see the status of cargo locks, and then send commands to lock or unlock containers.
The focus will be a scalable port security solution to benefit joint military and commercial users, a critical national concern as most military cargo and personnel are moved by commercial shippers.
In addition, Sandia has served as a “Red Team,” working to exploit vulnerabilities and compromise the cargo security system. It was instrumental in the year-long demonstration of the system conducted at border crossings with Canada and Mexico. Sandia has also provided the command and control infrastructure to meet DHS requirements for its cargo security programs.
To build upon the security advances made under the SSC Pacific-DHS-Sandia partnership, SSC Pacific has entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with San Diego-based Cubic Defense Applications, Inc. SSC Pacific and Cubic will investigate additional capabilities for cargo security, such as fusion of automated capabilities using standardized interface protocols, logistical tracking through global positioning system (GPS), and inventory management of in-field storage. The focus will be a scalable port security solution to benefit joint military and commercial users, a critical national concern as most military cargo and personnel are moved by commercial shippers.