Securing the Global Trade Market
- By Ralph C. Jensen
- Mar 01, 2012
One of the most powerful economic engines in
the United States is global economic growth.
Advances in communication technology,
trade barriers and production cost reductions have
furthered global capital markets and provided new
In January, the White House announced a national
strategy for global supply chain security, an initiative
to strengthen global economic opportunities and protect
the welfare and interests of the United States.
The focus of this strategy is aimed at the worldwide
network of transportation, postal and shipping lanes,
assets and infrastructures throughout the chain.
One of the two goals set is to promote the efficient
and secure movement of goods. This means promoting
the timely, effective flow of legitimate commerce
while protecting and securing the supply chain from
exploitation and its vulnerability to disruption.
The White House suggested that to achieve this
goal there would have to be an enhancement of the
integrity of goods as they move through the global
supply chain so that threats could be understood and
resolved early on. This means strengthening the security
of physical infrastructures, conveyances and information
assets as trade is maximized through modernizing
supply chain infrastructures and processes.
Secondly, there is a strategy to foster a global supply
chain system that can withstand evolving threats
and hazards and recover from disruptions. This means
action on the part of state, local, tribal and territorial
governments, as well as the private sector and international
communities. It also means managing risk by
identification, assessing and prioritizing efforts by using
layered defenses and adapting a security posture
according to changing operational environments.
The true goal of the global supply chain will support
innovation and prosperity by securely and reliably
moving goods throughout the United States and
worldwide in a timely manner. This means protection
of the current system’s continuity and building for the
future with cost-effective measures.
The federal government will have to resolve threats
early so the flow of commerce is not jeopardized, and
it will have to do so by implementing security processes
into supply chain operations so that concerns can
be resolved as quickly as possible.
It also will be important to improve verification
and detection capabilities to identify goods that are
not what they appear to be and ensure they are not
contaminated or prohibited. This will prevent cargo
from being compromised or misdirected as it moves
through the system.
Also important will be the enhancement of security
infrastructure and conveyances, which will protect
the supply chain and critical nodes. This will limit access
to cargo, infrastructure, conveyances and information
to those with legitimate and relevant roles and
A secure global supply chain will maximize the
flow of legitimate trade and modernize the supply
chain infrastructure and processes to meet future
market opportunities and help develop new mechanisms
to facilitate low-risk cargo. It also simplifies
trade compliance processes and refines incentives to
encourage enhanced stakeholder collaboration.
Galvanizing action is threefold:
- Integrate federal efforts by funding smarter and
more cost-effective ways to address security threats
and maximize resources and expertise from across
the government. The White House plans to improve
initiatives throughout the government by developing
similar requirements, streamlining processes
and enhancing information-sharing practices.
- Foster an all-of-nation approach to leverage critical
roles played by state, local, tribal and territorial
governments and private sector partners in
strengthening supply chains. The government will
manage the seams between its activities and federal
efforts by empowering stakeholders to contribute
to the mission. This also will develop a culture of
mutual interest and shared responsibility.
- Thinking globally will enhance the coordination
with the international community and foreign
stakeholders who also have key supply chain roles
and responsibilities. The global supply chain transcends
national borders and federal jurisdiction;
therefore, global standards need to be developed
and implemented to strengthen detection, interdiction
and information sharing capabilities, and
promote end-to-end supply chain security efforts
within the international community.
In order to make this work expeditiously, the global
supply chain will need the support of innovation.
This will lead to prosperity by securely and reliably
moving goods and services within domestic borders
and around the world. Partners will be able to stand
together, which also stands as a warning to adversaries
that the government’s efforts to strengthen this system
will continue. There is a solid foundation in place,
and the strategy for global supply chain security will
be an ongoing part of future supply efforts.
The threat of natural disasters remains, and the
global supply chain and its components continue to
be an attractive target for terrorist attacks as well as
criminal exploitation, but the security of U.S. citizens
is paramount while the nation goes about the
business of promoting economic growth in a competitive
This article originally appeared in the March 2012 issue of Security Today.