Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Monday that security efforts will rely heavily on risk management and information sharing with trade partners to secure the movement of goods and people.
“Good, thoughtful, sensible security by its very nature facilitates lawful travel and legitimate commerce,” Napolitano said. “Simply put, our homeland security and our economic security go hand-in-hand.”
One quarter of the U.S. economy depends on foreign trade, so DHS is turning more toward international partners to improve security at home, Napolitano said at the second annual “State of Homeland Security” at the National Press Club. The result will be more emphasis on information sharing to promote trusted trader programs and mutual recognition of other nations’ cargo screening protocols.
“The key to evaluating potential risk is information — by sharing and leveraging information, we can make informed decisions about how to best mitigate risk,” Napolitano said. “And the more we know, the better we become at providing security that is seamless and efficient.”
Napolitano said the department had more than doubled the size of the Border Patrol to protect the border between ports of entry. Now DHS will work on improving infrastructure at border crossings to make them more efficient. The department spent $400 million of stimulus funds to improve facilities on the Canadian border, and expansion of the ports of Nogales, Ariz., and San Ysidro, Calif.
“These efforts are not only speeding legitimate trade, but they are also stopping illegal goods from entering the country — goods that can undermine domestic businesses that play by the rules,” Napolitano said. She said the U.S. is working closely with the Canadian and Mexican governments to expand trusted shipper and traveler programs.