Are America's Ports Secure?

With fifty percent of U.S. imports travelling by sea, ensuring that ships have a secure place to dock poses a challenge to American law enforcement. With such a heavy economic importance placed on U.S. ports, they have become a target for those wishing to inflict harm on the United States.

From a global economic perspective, the importance of ports cannot be overstated. Approximately 90 percent of international trade is based on maritime shipping.  And domestically, business that utilized waterways contributed $4.6 trillion to the U.S. economy in 2014.  The sheer volume of goods that pass through ports everyday means that any damage done to ports would have a profound impact throughout the entire economy. Henry Willis, director of the Homeland Security and Defense Center at the RAND Corporation, told The Cipher Brief, “the economic importance and visibility of ports make port infrastructure and operations attractive terrorism targets.” As a result there is a strong incentive to keep ports physically secure, both in the United States and elsewhere.

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