• Commentary by Erik Hoffer, President CGM Security Solutions Inc.

    During each day over 38 million major cargo shipments and 75 million courier shipments begin and end at our door steps. We take in cargo as a matter of course and welcome the couriers and drivers as they deliver products to us. Little consideration is given to much of this cargo as to where it has been, or who handled it, who shipped it or the fact of its relative safety or security, we just sign the form and take it in!

  • Q: What are the benefits to industry of participating in Air Cargo Advance Screening (ACAS)? A: While the benefits of ACAS participation vary between organizations, several universal advantages of joining include . . .

  • An interesting academic article published in International Security a few months before the 9/11 attacks provides a good way to conceptualize the fight against al-Qaeda. Written by Ivan Arreguín-Toft, “How the Weak Win Wars” began with an extended look at the famed “rumble in the jungle” boxing match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman . . . Foreman, “the strongest, hardest hitting boxer of his generation,” was heavily favored—but was defeated by Ali’s “rope-a-dope” strategy, which turned Foreman’s strength against him . . . 

  • Asset Retention Technology, or A.R.T., defines the new platform of  Rigsecure, a Florida Corporation’s product line for 2008. For every vulnerability to truck theft or loss, there is an appropriate deterrent that can reduce that risk to a manageable level. No product alone can replace prudent security best practices and no one can ever guaranty to neutralize all threats. By layering your security technology and processes to address known threats to corporate profits, you do stand the best chance to reduce conditions of loss and turn security costs into profit centers.

  • Cargo travels through many hands: airlines, ground handlers, trucking companies. That’s why it must have a chain of custody, Walt Beadling, managing partner at logistics security company Cargo Security Alliance, says.  “What that means is at any point in time, you know who has a particular piece of cargo, whatever it may,” Beadling says. “You may not know where it is, but you know who has responsibility for it. And at each point where the cargo’s transferred, there’s a handoff, a formal handoff, where custody is transferred from one entity to another.” 

    Erik Hoffer, vice president of CSA, says someone must design a logistical plan in order to create that chain of custody and have as few handoffs as possible.  “There’s always going to be that one point where nobody’s watching the store,” he says. “Without having the ability to have a chain of custody throughout the different modalities, you’re not going to get anywhere.  You’re just going to have a problem always.” 

  • . . . is 100% screening the best defense?

    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has declared economic war against the US and is attacking it through the global air cargo supply chain. In an article published in the November issue of its on-line jihadist magazine “Inspire”, AQAP promises more small-scale attacks like the recent attempts to bomb two  U.S.-bound cargo planes, which it likens to bleeding its enemy to “death by a thousand cuts”. Why not? It’s cheap, e!ective and safe . . . for the terrorists . . . and it hits every one of us in a very sensitive place: our wallets.


  • According to this GAO Report, TSA has not yet met the 100 percent screening mandate as it applies to inbound air cargo due to several persistent challenges . . . 

  • Today’s U.S. airport security policy rests on a fallacious proposition. By applying equal screening resources to all passengers and all bags, the system acts as if security officials believe that every passenger and every bag is equally likely to be a threat. This premise wastes limited security resources on low-risk passengers and bags, thereby devoting less resources to higher-risk passengers and bags. In addition, this approach has created a “hassle factor” at airports that drives away airline passengers.

  • The Congressional mandate for 100% screening of air cargo carried on passenger aircraft originating in the U.S. takes full effect in August, 2010.  This event has the potential to seriously disrupt the air cargo supply chain with severe economic consequences.  Timely, effective implementation of the TSA’s Certified Cargo Screening Program (CCSP) promises a solution, but only if shippers, industry associations and the air cargo industry work together to take quick action. Successful deployment of the CCSP depends upon adherence to, and the rapid adoption of, the “5 Principles of Secure Supply Chain Design and Operation”, described herein. 

  • By Erik Hoffer

    DEFINING VULNERABILITY: The overwhelming perception is that the global air freight system is both dynamic and efficient as it moves millions of packages worldwide on a daily basis. Little thought is given to possible disruptions in service or to the vulnerability of our fragile supply chain, especially as it relates to an airfreight based catastrophe. Logisticians routinely discount the myriad of threats to commerce as they use the air cargo system. Air cargo’s intrinsic vulnerability to financial loss seems to be almost transparent to them and therefore little is done or funded by business to reduce these perils at a corporate level. Only recently has our government dedicated resources to identify these risks worldwide and, unfortunately, has yet to create oversight standards to mitigate them.