Rep. Martha McSally’s legislation to protect global supply chains against terrorist activity unanimously passed out of the Homeland Security Committee. For the first time in 11 years, The bill reauthorizes and modernizes the Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) — a global supply chain security program led by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). CTPAT has over 12,000 participants and is recognized throughout the world as the premier cargo pre-vetting program.
McSally’s testimony highlighted how this opt-in program intercepts terrorist activity by ensuring businesses met high-security standards, while also cutting down on traffic at ports of entry by expediting pre-vetted companies.
“Reducing wait times and inspections for participants who enhance the global supply chain greatly enhances cross border trade and economic growth while reducing the workload on the already overworked officers of CBP,” said McSally while testifying in committee. “C-TPAT achieves this in a way that also strengthens our national security through rigorous initial and recurrent background checks and site visits. I am proud to sponsor the reauthorization of this highly successful program in order to expand its reach and increase its benefits to private industry.”
CTPAT was first established by the Safe Port Act of 2006. Under this flagship program, companies voluntarily partner with CBP to enhance security throughout their supply chain. CBP works with them to protect the supply chain, identify security gaps, and implement specific security measures and best practices. McSally’s legislation not only codifies the structure of the current program but also makes sure that C-TPAT remains a true partnership between CBP and private industry.
The bill makes three crucial updates to the program to ensure it is ready to meet the dynamic threats currently facing the global supply chain. First, it requires CBP to formally liaise with industry stakeholders when implementing new or updated security criteria and provide tangible benefits to all participants at various stages of the CBP vetting and site visit validation process.
Second, it reduces redundant inspections on pre-vetted cargo and provides CBP with a mechanism to suspend or expel participants from the program if they fail to abide by security requirements or pose a threat to national security.
Third, it establishes a process for CBP, with Congressional oversight requirements, to continuously vet participants, review their security measures, and conduct site visits to their facilities to ensure compliance with and continued dedication to security measures.
The bill is headed to the House floor.
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