Skip to comments.In Defense Of Dubai
Posted on 02/22/2006 1:18:57 AM PST by bd476
WASHINGTON, Feb. 22, 2006
A nefarious multinational corporation secretly controlled by a hostile Arab government has engineered a covert takeover of six major U.S. ports. America is at risk of losing control of its borders and compromising national security in an entirely preventable way.
Never have I seen a bogus story explode so fast and so far. I thought I was a connoisseur of demagoguery and cheap shots, but the Dubai Ports World saga proves me a piker. With a stunning kinship of cravenness, politicians of all flavors risk trampling each other as they rush to the cameras and microphones to condemn the handover of massive U.S. strategic assets to an Islamic, Arab terrorist-loving enemy.
The only problem -- and I admit it's only a teeny-weeny problem -- is that 90 percent of that story is false.
The United Arab Emirates is not an Axis of Evil kind of place, it will not own U.S. ports, it will not control security at U.S. ports and there is nothing new about foreigners owning U.S. ports. Odds are higher that you'll be wounded interfering with a congressman providing soundbites than by something smuggled into a port terminal leased by Dubai Ports World.
But please: let's not let the facts get in the way of a good story. And what's wrong with a little Arab-bashing anyway?
I am no expert on ports, transportation or shipping. But it takes very little reading and research to cut through the gas on this one.
Myth #1: That an Arab company is trying to buy six American ports.
No, the company is buying up a British company that leases terminals in American ports; the ports are U.S.-owned. To lease a terminal at a U.S. port means running some business operations there -- contracting with shipping lines, loading and unloading cargo and hiring local labor. Dubai Ports World is not buying the ports.
Several companies will lease terminals at a single port. In New Orleans, for example, the company Dubai Ports World is trying to buy (P&O Ports) is just one of eight companies that lease and operate terminals.
P&O Ports does business in 18 other countries. None of them are in righteous lathers about the sale of the business to a company owned by the United Arab Emirates. Dubai Ports World already operates port facilities all over the world, including such security-slacker states as China, Australia, Korea and Germany.
Myth #2: The U.S. is turning over security at crucial ports to an Arab company.
No, security at U.S. ports is controlled by U.S. federal agencies led by the Coast Guard and the U.S. Customs and Border Control Agency, which are part of the Homeland Security department. Local jurisdictions also provide police and security personnel.
Complaints about security at ports should be directed to the federal government.
Myth #3: American ports should be American.
Well, it's too late, baby. According to James Jay Carafano of the Heritage Foundation (a place really known for its Arab-loving, soft-on-terror approach), "Foreign companies already own most of the maritime infrastructure that sustains American trade "
At the port of Los Angeles, 80 per cent of the terminals are operated by foreign companies. Chinese companies operate more than half the terminals. So why is this suddenly a threat? After all, political outcry managed to scupper the deal a few months ago in which a Chinese company was going to take over the Unocal oil company.
Go to any port in the country and you'll be lucky to see a single giant vessel with U.S.A. on its stern. Foreign-owned airplanes fly into American airports every hour. Many U.S. companies have foreign entities among their largest shareholders.
My colleague Charlie Wolfson reports that State Department sources say Dubai Ports World already handles port calls for U.S. Navy ships from the 5th fleet for their regular port calls in the United Arab Emirates -- a pretty high measure of trustworthiness.
Myth #4: the United Arab Emirates has "very serious" al Qaeda connections.
That's what Republican Rep. Peter King says. It's also what the administration said of pre-war Iraq, but that doesn't mean it's true. I suppose you could say each and every Arab and Islamic country has al Qaeda issues, but even on that yardstick the UAE is a pretty good player and by most accounts, getting better.
Politicians have been quick to point out that two of the 9/11 hijackers were from UAE. And we're turning over our ports to them? Well, by that logic, we shouldn't let Lufthansa land in our airports or have military bases in Germany, because that country housed a bunch of the 9/11 hijackers as they were plotting.
Yes, Dubai has plenty of blood in its hands, especially as a source or courier for terror funds. But it is not a rogue state. It has been among the closer and more cooperative Arab allies for the past two years (another conspiracy theory: the U.S. is paying them off).
Some combination of these facts led the Dubai Ports deal to be approved by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. Certainly the security of American ports is an important issue. Certainly who controls the finances of companies that lease terminals at ports is far down the to-do list of how to improve security at ports.
That has everything to do with adequate funding and proper management at the relevant agencies. Management is the responsibility of the executive branch, while funding and oversight is the job of Congress. There is scant evidence that Congress or the administration have excelled in their duties.
That's why it's so tempting for politicians of both parties to indulge in xenophobic Arab-bashing on this matter of minimal national security importance. One Republican said that regardless of the facts, the administration was politically "tone deaf" on this one. Appearance is more important than reality.
Often bipartisanship is a sign of pragmatic consensus or noble common cause. In this case it is merely a scene of a politician occupational hazard: cover-your-arse-itis.
Dick Meyer, a veteran political and investigative producer for CBS News, is the Editorial Director of CBSNews.com, based in Washington.
The United Arab Emirates currently taking a political beating
over a deal involving U.S. ports is no stranger to the issue of
port security. Above: a motorboat off the coast of the capital
city of Dubai. (AP)
Yeah, and didn't some of those same hijackers learn how to fly the planes in Florida? LOL. I say we ban all Floridians from working either in airports or seaports.
What disgusts me more than anything is that so many GOP politicians are running scared from the liberal press. Even Rick Santorum (who is sweating out an uphill re-election bid) is choking on his own bile to join the Democrats on this "issue" because he figures the ignorant rabble will actually buy the sound-bites they hear on their car radios that we are about to be overrun with docks full of Muslims fork-lifting A-bombs off of ships and onto waiting trucks.
This whole story has made about every politician in Washington look like racist except The President! totally hilarious!
I've been to Dubai five times, most recently five weeks ago. I used to deal with ports and shipping containers from the inland warehouse and distribution end. I know enough to know that most people with something to say on this issue don't know what they are talking about.
Good article. I have made several visits to three different ports in the UAE and security there is anything but lax. This all seems to be a tempest in a teacup.
He'll be fine even if he loses on an over ride.
Political years turn these Congressional scumbags into particularly vile sacks of rancid sh*t.
Thanks for posting this - - it is one of the best articles on the ports issue that I have seen - - mainly because the writer has done a little research and is informed. Congratulations to Dick Meyer for having the integrity to avoid the lazy, knee-jerk reaction.
Stupid politicians running off at the mouth before they have the facts.
We already have troops in the UAE I believe.
I've generally kept quiet on the whole thing, since I know I don't know enough, and haven't found/made time to get really informed about it.
That said, the one thing about this, that really gives me pause, is that Jimmy Carter is for it. That's generally not a good sign.
Still, even a blind squirrel finds an acorn every now and then, maybe this is a time when Carter is right.
When someone starts telling me this is a good idea in oppostion to the will of the people and congress, my BS-meter goes off. They are an islamic nation. Islam declared jihad on us. Islam is the state religion of Dubai.
Israel gets it. There is no peace with islam.
Yemen was a fairly friendly port once.
Knee-jerk reaction? How else are we supposed to feel? Many of us lost friends in that attack.
Would we have opened our ports for control by any country with even REMOTE ties to Hitler during the 2nd WW?
Okay. Fine. Let's just trust them.
Wake me when the dust cloud settles.
"Dick Meyer, a veteran political and investigative producer for CBS News, is the Editorial Director of CBSNews.com, based in Washington."
Well now...that's his first problem. Was he a contributor on GuardGate?
Yeah, but if you go the other side, you have to side with Hillary Clinton.
Even more astounding this is from a CBS producer, although this will probably be shunted to page D-12 on their internet page and will not see the light of day on their tv or radio reports.
Knee-jerk reaction? How else are we supposed to feel? Many of us lost friends in that attack.
Would we have opened our ports for control by any country with even REMOTE ties to Hitler during the 2nd WW?
Uh you do know that the UAE is the most busy non-US port stop for the US Navy an they have been docking their for years.
Shhhhhhhhhh! No logic allowed during worship services!
"Congratulations to Dick Meyer for having the integrity to avoid the lazy, knee-jerk reaction."
Hmmmm...my sleepy knee is startin' to itch again with posts like this.
All Bush needs to do is explain to the GOP leadership how he came to the conclusion that all of america's security is...well...secured. He hasn't done this, and that is pretty piss-poor PR, prankly.
OK, I'll bite. What does the USS Cole have to do with port operations in the U.S.?
National Review Online
Port Insecurity? On the Dubai port deal.
February 21, 2006, 10:08 a.m.
Is the multimillion dollar deal that would hand over operations of six major United States ports to a company from the United Arab Emirates a major misstep from the Bush administration? We asked a few national-security experts. Here's what they had to say.
Washington claims that the United Arab Emirates is a reliable friend and ally of the United States in the war on terror. To the extent that Dubai Ports World is a UAE state-owned company, this may in fact be the key question to ask.
The answer is not hard to find if you start looking at the role played by the UAE as an eager financier of the huge worldwide infrastructure of radical Islam built over the past three decades by Saudi Arabia.
An infrastructure thats the main breeding ground of extremism and terrorism.
From the very beginning in the 1970s, the UAE has been a key source of financial support for Saudi-controlled organizations like the Islamic Solidarity Fund, the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), World Council of Mosques, and the Muslim World League (MWL) as documented in The Muslim World League Journal, an English-language monthly.
The IDB alone, for instance, spent $10 billion between 1977 and 1990 for Islamic activities and at least $1 billion more recently to support terrorist activities by the Palestinian Al Aqsa and Intifada Funds.
One of the most successful Islamist operations in the U.S. early on involved the Wahhabi ideological takeover of the Nation of Islam after the death of its founder Elijah Muhammad. Of the $4.8 million presented to W. D. Muhammad, Elijahs son and successor, in 1980 alone, one million came from UAEs president Sheikh Zayad, according to the August 1980 issue of the MWL Journal.
Zayad continued his philanthropic activities by donating $2.5 million for a Zayad Islamic Center at Harvard Universitys divinity school of all places. The donation had to be returned after it became known that a similar Zayad Center in the UAE was closed because it had become a hotbed of Islamic extremism. And this is likely just the tip of the iceberg. A reliable friend and ally? Perhaps, but hardly one of ours.
Alex Alexiev is vice president for research at the Center for Security Policy.
The U.S. Committee on Foreign Investments decision to allow the United Arab Emirates Dubai Ports World (a government-owned company) to buy Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation (a private company), to run as many as six major American ports, including New York, Baltimore, and New Orleans, is by no means a trivial national-security matter.
While its likely that CFIUS made a sound at a minimum, a well-intentioned decision in its behind-closed-doors deliberations, considering 9/11, the al Qaeda threat, not to mention this election years charged atmosphere, it makes heckuva lot of sense to shed some light on the decision through congressional hearings.
American ports receive nine million containers annually, and in theory these large metal boxes could be used to bring nukes into the U.S. for use against American cities, surface to air missiles to down civilian airliners, or, even, smuggle terrorists ashore. While advances have been made in port security, some analysts still see shipping as a big fat Achilles Heel for homeland security.
Moreover, while the UAE has become a war on terror partner, its history is checkered to say the least. Critics claim that the UAE recognized the Taliban, and al Qaeda used it in 9/11 preparations. Dubai, a Middle Eastern banking Mecca, has long been the crossroads of money laundering and terrorist financing.
In addition, the UAE has ties to Iran, and Pakistans Dr. Strangelove, A. Q. Khan, used the Emirates as a shipping hub for his nuke network.
Its not clear that there would be any change in management, personnel, or security procedures at the British company currently running the ports if the sale is approved, but after all weve been through and dont want to experience again this is a decision Americans have to feel comfortable with. Trust us, just wont cut it.
Peter Brookes is senior fellow for national-security affairs and director of the Asian Studies Center at the Heritage Foundation. He is author of A Devil's Triangle: Terrorism, WMD and Rogue States.
James Jay Carafano
Foreign companies already own most of the maritime infrastructure that sustains American trade the ships, the containers, the material-handling equipment, and the facilities being sold to the Dubai company.
It's a little late now to start worrying about outsourcing seaborne trade, but congressional hearings could serve to clear the air.
Sure security is important. Thats why after 9/11, America led the effort to establish the International Ship and Port Security code that every country that trades with and operates in the United States has to comply with. And compliance isnt optionalit is checked by the U.S. Coast Guard.
And the security screening for the ships, people, and cargo that comes into the United States is not done by the owners of the ships and the ports, but by the Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection, both parts of the Homeland Security department.
Likewise overall security for the port is coordinated by the captain of the port, a Coast Guard officer.
What happens when one foreign-owned company sells a U.S. port service to another foreign-owned company. Not much.
Virtually all the company employees at the ports are U.S. citizens. The Dubai firm is a holding company that will likely play no role in managing the U.S. facilities. Likewise, the company is owned by the government, a government that is an ally of the United States and recognizes that al Qaeda is as much a threat to them as it is to us.
They are spending billions to buy these facilities because they think its a crackerjack investment that will keep making money for them long after the oil runs out. The odds that they have any interest in seeing their facilities become a gateway for terrorist into the United States are slim.
But in the interest of national security, we will be best served by getting all the facts on the table.
James Jay Carafano is a senior research fellow for defense and homeland security at the Heritage Foundation.
This is the foreign-policy equivalent of the Harriet Meiers nomination to the Supreme Court, isnt it? Just as her wit and wisdom were beside the point, so Homeland Securitys careful negotiations with the new owners have nothing to do with the main issue, which is that only a tone-deaf bureaucrat would turn over the operation of our ports to a company from Dubai.
Not only does it add new security burdens to an agency already overwhelmed by its impossible mission, but it puts one of Irans closest partners in a most sensitive position inside the United States.
As Ive had occasion to note over the past few years, Dubai is home to billions of mullahdollars, and the black market through which all manner of illegal arms shipments and money-being-laundered have passed. Im sure it will have the same outcome as the Meiers fiasco. Faster, please.
Michael Ledeen, an NRO contributing editor, is most recently the author of The War Against the Terror Masters. He is resident scholar in the Freedom Chair at the American Enterprise Institute
James S. Robbins
I have to wonder if the approval of Dubai Ports World is payback for recent support by Dubai and the UAE in the war on terrorism. Some data points:
- December 2004: Dubai was the first government in the region to sign on to the U.S. Container Security Initiative to screen all containers heading for the United States for security risks.
- May 2005: Dubai signed an agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy to bar passage of nuclear material from passing through its ports, and install radiation-detecting equipment.
- June 2005: The UAE joined the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings and the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism.
- October 2005: The UAE Central Bank directed banks and financial institutions in the country to tighten their internal systems and controls in their fight against money laundering and terrorist financing. UAE banks routinely cooperate with U.N. and international law-enforcement agencies in supplying information about suspect accounts.
- November 2005: In the wake of the terror bombings in Jordan, General Shaykh Muhammad Bin-Zayid Al Nuhayyan, heir apparent of Abu Dhabi and supreme commander of the UAE armed forces, stated that Muslim scholars who live among us must adopt a stand toward this terrorism If they do not declare [terrorists] to be infidels, they should at least consider them as non-Muslims. If there are no honest stands toward these non-religious and inhumane operations, these [attacks] will continue.
- December 2005: The UAE National Consultative Council called for declaration of an all-out war against terrorism and depriving any person who pledges allegiance to foreign extremist groups the right of UAE citizenship. The council proclaimed that it regarded links to such groups as high treason.
The UAE has also assisted the Coalition effort in Iraq, in particular training Iraqi security forces and sending material assistance to the Iraqi people.
There is a lot on the other side of the ledger too particularly a thank you statement from Hamas to the UAE in July 2005 for all the support but given the way relationships work in the Middle East I can see Dubai expecting favorable treatment in return for its recent cooperation in the effort to combat terrorism, and especially for supporting the war effort in Iraq. It is the way of things.
James S. Robbins is author of the forthcoming Last in Their Class: Custer, Picket and the Goats of West Point and an NRO Contributor.
National Review Symposium: Port Insecurity?
He or his aides probably have, but IMO the camera loving congresscritters, couldn't resist getting on the knee jerk tsunami.
BTW, this takeover of P&O by DPWorld was well known in the business world since last November and was not secret as some of the knee jerkers say.
Lol, there's a thought.
Politics laced with a little (or a lot) of ignorance is a powerful force.
Cannoneer No. 4 wrote: "I've been to Dubai five times, most recently five weeks ago. I used to deal with ports and shipping containers from the inland warehouse and distribution end..."
What is your impression then of this whole issue?
A member of the MSM got it right!!!
Squint wrote: "Good article. I have made several visits to three different ports in the UAE and security there is anything but lax. This all seems to be a tempest in a teacup."
Thanks for the feedback. It's also good to hear from people like you who have had some experience in UAE ports.
JoeGar wrote: "A member of the MSM got it right!!!"
Thanks for the feedback, Joe.
"May 2005: Dubai signed an agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy to bar passage of nuclear material from passing through its ports, and install radiation-detecting equipment."
Whew! I'm glad that is out of the way. Now I feel safe. Seems like the situation could be potential for another "Pakistanis are our GWOT friends, even though the pak godfather of nuke weaponry shopped his technology for some bucks to some pretty mean guys", potentially, opportunistically speaking (but not very clearly).
Someone needs to tell Greg Norman, Bill Clinton's friend, that he is dealing with a terrorist supporter, Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman for Nakheel. Since he is designing golf courses with him.
Hillary call 'your husband'. You need to figure out which side of this issue is best to take for the most political support during your next election.
Not that you (Hillary) would ever take another position when it suits your political needs. /sarcasm
It's time for politicians to study and issue before they engage their mouths. Not that that will ever happen.
what is Dubai like? I've been to Port Said, Egypt, Tunisia, Israel, and Jeddah. But no Dubai. I've read on other posts that sailors have to stay on the pier in uniform, but could go out in town in civvies.
Great piece, particularly when put against the "But they're Arabs, 9-11, hell-o, case closed!" retard argument of the other side.
'this is all a matter of anti-Arab profiling: "I want those who are questioning it to step up and explain why all of a sudden a Middle Eastern company is held to a different standard than a [British] company," which last week was "sold to the UAE firm. With all due respect, Mr. President, here's why: * The UAE and, specifically, Dubai has been a breeding ground for terrorism. * Its banking system considered the commercial center of the Arab world provided most of the cash for the 9/11 hijackers. * * It... " '"..........
"It (DUBAI) UAE - is a breeding ground for terrorism.........."
Clinton sold Nukes to China under the table alleged (Cox Report), US didn't believe Japan would bomb Pearl Harbor us either. Our politicians are out cheating like Abramoff, Enron, Mexicans drug lords have their countries army at our southern borders, smuggling in dope.
Doesn't anyone know that the Islamic terrorists are supported by Arab and all those other countries. France is already concerned that their islam population is larger than than their regular French citizens.
I do not believe that only americans will be used to work on the docks security wise or anything else. It's time to wake up and smell the coffee. This is a TROJAN Horse if I ever saw one and US is asking for it.
Tell me, who's running this country? From now on I am only voting for politicians who vote against this issue. Americans better wake up and start protecting themselves, becayue there is a good chance we will have too. Katrina is a good example of the kind of care we will be getting in disaster.
CowboyJay wrote: "When someone starts telling me this is a good idea in oppostion to the will of the people and congress, my BS-meter goes off. They are an islamic nation. Islam declared jihad on us. Islam is the state religion of Dubai.
Israel gets it. There is no peace with islam."
CowboyJay, sometimes it is hard to get to the facts when headlines shout out the direction someone wants our opinions to lean.
In this case, it might be worth taking a little time to research this before assuming that the President has suddenly flipped his lid.
Do you remember the post 9/11 reaction from some who would not hear of the US going after the terrorists and those nations who would support them? I do, vividly.
Today I do not believe that the President has made a sudden u-turn or changed directions on our national security because he has not, nor have his closest advisers.
This is a political storm only.
'America is at risk of losing control of its borders and compromising national security in an entirely preventable way. '
OOps I thought he was talking about the US/Mexican border!
twidle wrote: "...Tell me, who's running this country? From now on I am only voting for politicians who vote against this issue. Americans better wake up and start protecting themselves, becayue there is a good chance we will have too. Katrina is a good example of the kind of care we will be getting in disaster..."
Twidle, headlines, 30 second news briefs, clever comments from pundits always alarm, that's what they are supposed to do, to get you to listen carefully and long enough to sell you some name brand soap suds during commercials.
The best way to get to the facts so that voting decisions are based on the facts is to research when you have some extra time.
Yes, and Timothy McVeigh--the Oklahoma City bomber--grew up in New York state, didn't he? I suggest the United States immediately withdraw all contracts and business with any company in New York. After all, it was home to our worst domestic terrorist.
Well, that is something of a myth since this isn't just 'an Arab company' but is instead actually a purchase by an Arab emirate.
But this incessant beat that companies have no security role in our ports is patently untrue. In point of fact, private companies have received millions of taxpayer dollars in matching grants to improve port security in the last few years. Here is a program description from the Coast Guard.
The GAO wrote up a document analyzing port security U.S. in June 2004. What it found was that the security planning required from the thousands of private owners and operators needed improvement.
Facilities and vessels can be vulnerable on many security-related fronts. Facilities such as container terminals, where containers are transferred between ships and railroad cars or trucks, must be able to screen vehicles entering the facility and routinely check cargo for evidence of tampering. Chemical factories and other installations where hazardous materials are present must be able to control access to areas containing dangerous goods or hazardous substances. Vessels, ranging from oil tankers and freighters to tugboats and passenger ferries, must be able to restrict access to areas on board the vessel such as the bridge or other control stations critical to the vessel's operation. To reduce the opportunity for terrorists to exploit these vulnerabilities, as well as to help minimize the effects of accidents or natural disasters, facilities and vessels need to take mitigation steps. For example, fences, security guards, and monitoring cameras can all be used to reduce the potential for unauthorized entry and help prevent vulnerabilities from being exploited.
Dealing with such vulnerabilities involves a careful balance between the benefits of added security and the potential economic impacts of security enhancements. While there is broad support for greater security, this task is a difficult one because the nation relies heavily on a free and expeditious flow of goods. Particularly with "just in time" deliveries, which require a smooth and expeditious flow through the transportation system, delays or disruptions in the supply chain could have serious economic impacts. Striking the right balance between increasing security and protecting economic vitality of the national economy and individual port stakeholders will remain an important and difficult task. It is also important to keep in mind that total security cannot be bought no matter how much is spent on it. It is difficult if not impossible to successfully anticipate and thwart all types of potential terrorist threats that highly motivated, well skilled, and adequately funded terrorist groups could devise.
In this environment, MTSA required owners and operators of facilities and vessels to conduct assessments that would identify their security vulnerabilities and to develop security plans to mitigate these vulnerabilities. Under the Coast Guard's implementing regulations, these plans are to include such items as measures for access control, responses to security threats, and drills and exercises to train staff and test the plan. The plans are "performance-based," meaning that the security outcomes were specified, but the stakeholders were free to identify and implement whatever measures they desired as long as these measures achieved the specified outcomes.
You can also read the testimony of Rear Admiral Craig Bone to the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation subcommittee of the House, who is in charge of port security for the Coast Guard:
Culture of Security: Finally, and perhaps most importantly we have been able to take important steps to instill a culture of security within a system previously focused almost exclusively on efficiency. Reducing the vulnerabilities of our vessels and ports required a cultural security at the top of the agenda rather than as an afterthought. It is centered on the people who must implement the new security measures. Under our MTSA regulations, facilities and vessels are required to designate individuals with security responsibilities, including company security officers, facility security officers, and vessel security officers. These individuals must have knowledge, thorough training and equivalent job experience. They must be familiar with, and responsible for, implementation of the specific security measures outlined in their facility/vessel security plans and they must be knowledgeable in emergency preparedness, the conduct of security audits, and security exercises. In addition, facility security officers must have training in security assessment methodologies; current security threats and patterns; recognizing and detecting dangerous substances and devices, recognizing characteristics and behavioral patterns of persons who are likely to threaten security; and techniques used to circumvent security measures.
Increase Operational Presence. Third, we seek to better protect critical maritime infrastructure and improve our ability to respond to suspect activities by increasing our operational presence in ports, coastal zones and beyond,--to implement a layered security posture, a defense-in-depth. Our collective efforts to increase operational presence in ports and coastal zones focus not only on adding more people, boats and ships to our force structures, but making the employment of those resources more effective through the application of technology, information sharing, and intelligence support.
Improve Response and Recovery Posture. Finally, we are improving our ability to respond to and aid in recovery if there were an actual terrorist attack. Understanding the challenge of defending 26,000 miles of navigable waterways and 361 ports against every conceivable threat at every possible time, we are also aggressively working to improve our response capabilities and readiness. While many of the increases in MDA and operational presence augment our collective response and recovery posture, we must also incorporate initiatives that will increase our ability to adequately manage operations and coordinate resources during maritime threat response or recovery operations. The Coast Guard is implementing the new National Response Plan across all operations. The Incident Command System is our mandated crisis management system, and we have years of practical experience in its use. At the local level, each port is ready with port-specific and even sub-area specific, response plans. All law enforcement agencies, public service providers, and port stakeholders have participated in the plan development process. The Coast Guard has confidence that if a maritime transportation security incident (TSI) should occur in one of our ports, the local responders (Coast Guard Sector Commander or Captain of the Port, other federal agencies, state and local authorities, and partners in industry) will immediately react with mitigation, response, and recovery activities in that port and region. At the same time, we are continuing to refine tools and analysis to aid senior leadership in their ability to rapidly respond to a crisis, minimize damage, and aid in recovery operations.