Chapter 7 - National Security
Chapter 7 - National Security
Note: This report was predominantly written prior to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States.
U.S. Coast Guard vessel in Baltimore, MD.
One of the U.S. Department of Transportation's (DOT's) strategic goals is to ensure that the nation's transportation system is secure and available for defense mobilization and that our borders are safe from illegal intrusion. Our economic well-being and national security are dependent on a secure transportation system that can move people, goods, and military personnel and equipment without fear of intentional disruption or damage by terrorists or other criminal elements. Since the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001, these goals have become even more critical.
The ability to move military personnel and equipment within the United States and then "project" those forces overseas depends on three transportation components: ground transportation, sealift, and airlift. In each of these components, DOT plays a key role in mobilizing and coordinating the public and private transportation resources and systems necessary to deploy U.S. forces overseas.
As the events of September 11 showed, transportation systems, both overseas and in the United States, can be a target of terrorists and criminals, particularly because they are accessible, attract broad media coverage when attacked, and may be associated with national symbols, such as airlines. In 1998, there were 1,033 terrorist and criminal attacks aimed at transportation systems worldwide-a 20 percent increase over 1997 and a 107 percent increase over 1995. These attacks resulted in 1,700 deaths and 2,200 injured people. In the United States alone, 27 incidents were recorded in 1998, nearly double the total from the previous year.
Our national security is also dependent on key transportation-related sectors of the economy: the oil industry, shipbuilding, and aircraft manufacturing. Since 1997, the United States has imported more than half the oil that it consumes. The U.S. transportation system consumes much more oil today than it did 20 years ago, increasing U.S. vulnerability to oil disruptions, and making the availability of oil a national security concern. The United States' shipbuilding industry has experienced long-term decline. The United States today ranks just ahead of Romania, but behind countries such as Croatia and Finland in merchant shipbuilding. In contrast, while the United States produces fewer aircraft than it did 20 years ago, the U.S. aircraft manufacturing industry remains competitive internationally. Our Armed Forces' reliance on ships and aircraft make the maintenance of a strong manufacturing base in these industries a vital national security concern.
Finally, our national security depends on the ability of the United States to secure the nation's borders from the illegal intrusion of drugs, contraband, and aliens. The increasing flow of international trade and passenger travel means that more cars, trucks, and railcars are crossing U.S. borders, and more ships are arriving at U.S. ports. With increasing traffic and the flow of goods come more opportunities to smuggle illegal drugs, contraband, and aliens. The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) is the lead federal agency for maritime drug and alien interdiction and shares the lead for air interdiction with the U.S. Customs Service. In fiscal year 1999, USCG seized a record 111,689 pounds of cocaine, with an estimated street value of $3.7 billion. In 2000, USCG interdicted 4,217 illegal aliens at sea and expects the number to rise in coming years. Securing the nation's borders, therefore, is yet another example of how transportation and national security are inextricably linked.
Movement of Military Forces and Materiel
Our nation's civilian transportation infrastructure provides vital strategic mobility for materiel and forces in times of national emergency. Since the end of the Cold War, U.S. Armed Forces have shifted from anticipating a possible global conflict with a dangerous and powerful adversary to being prepared for rapid deployment in localized incidents. At the same time, fewer U.S. troops are permanently stationed in foreign countries, increasing reliance on reserve forces. Therefore, the smaller, more mobile, U.S. military force structure places different demands on our transportation system .
One of the first military actions undertaken in a conflict is force deployment or "projection"-moving troops and equipment. During Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, the U.S. Department of Transportation mobilized and coordinated the public and private transportation resources and systems necessary to deploy U.S. forces to the Persian Gulf. Force projection relies on three transportation components: sealift, airlift, and ground transportation .
The ability of the United States to respond to military emergencies requires adequate U.S.-controlled maritime shipping capacity to move equipment, fuel, supplies, and ammunition . The National Defense Reserve Fleet (NDRF) supports the Department of Defense (DOD) during national emergencies and consists of U.S. vessels strategically docked throughout the United States. The number of ships in the NDRF has declined since 1975 (figure 1) and today comprises 312 ships, 91 of which are Ready Reserve Force (RRF) ships. RRF ships can be tendered to the Navy's Military Sealift Command during armed conflicts and humanitarian emergencies in 4 to 30 days, depending on their location and readiness .
In addition to the NDRF, which consists of government-owned vessels, DOD also relies on commercial transportation providers for 90 percent of its peacetime freight and personnel movements and an estimated 95 percent of its wartime movements. A major portion of this commercial transportation capacity includes the use of U.S.-flagged vessels and the U.S. merchant marine under the Maritime Administration's Maritime Security Program (MSP). The MSP was established to help ensure the existence of and access to as many as 47 modern and militarily useful U.S.-flagged oceangoing commercial vessels with U.S. crews for DOD sealift requirements .
The Civil Reserve Air Fleet (CRAF) is another key component of the nation's mobility resources. Selected aircraft from commercial U.S. airlines are contracted to CRAF to support DOD airlift requirements when military aircraft needs exceed capabilities. The CRAF program provides incentives for civil carriers to commit their aircraft. As of December 2000, 31 carriers and 702 aircraft were enrolled in CRAF  (table 1).
Finally, the nation's rail and highway systems play critical roles in the movement of military equipment and personnel. When a contingency arises, vast amounts of military equipment and personnel are moved from continental U.S.-based military installations to various seaports and airports. Most of this equipment travels over U.S. highways .
The Strategic Highway Network (STRAHNET) system of public highways provides access, continuity, and emergency transportation of personnel and equipment in times of peace and war. The 61,000-mile system, designated by the Federal Highway Administration in partnership with DOD, comprises about 45,400 miles of Interstate and defense highways and 15,600 miles of other public highways. STRAHNET is complemented by about 1,700 miles of connectors-additional highway routes linking more than 200 military installations and ports to the network  (see map).
1. U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, Office of Aviation Policy and Plans, personal communication, Apr. 18, 2001.
2. U.S. Department of Transportation, The Changing Face of Transportation (Washington, DC: 2000), pp. 7-1-7-6.
3. U.S. Department of Transportation, Maritime Administration, "Proceedings of the National Conference on
the Marine Transportation System: Ports, Waterways, and Intermodal Connectors," November 1998.
4. U.S. Department of Transportation, Maritime Administration, Office of Ship Operations, The National Defense Reserve Fleet, available at http://www.marad.dot.gov/offices/ship/press-gm.htm, as of June 28, 2000.
Terrorist Threats to Transportation
The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, have totally transformed the threat environment under which the United States operates.This chapter was predominantly written before September 11, and thus it does not reflect analysis of the terrorist threat that has been done since those attacks took place. It is based on publicly available data through 1999 and represents an analysis of those data only.
In 1999, the number of persons killed or wounded in international terrorist attacks fell sharply because of the absence of any single attack causing mass casualties. While the number of casualties dropped in 1999, the number of terrorist attacks rose 43 percent from the previous year (table 1). Moreover, terrorist threatsthrough 1999 were increasingly aimed at U.S. interests. From 1994 to 1999, the proportion of attacks targeted at U.S. interests rose from 20 percent to 43 percent of the total number of international terrorist attacks (figure 1).
Transportation systems are an attractive target for both international and indigenous terrorist groups1 (figure 2). In recent years, there have been violent attacks against transit passengers, vehicles, and systems worldwide, including Tokyo, where subway passengers were poisoned by a release of sarin nerve gas in 1998 . In 1998, nearly 1,700 deaths and 2,200 injuries resulted from violent acts against transportation worldwide.2 
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, during the 1990s, domestic U.S. terrorist incidents (actual, suspected, and prevented) ranged from a low of 1 in 1994 to a high of 25 in 1997. In the early 1990s, bombings and arson predominated. By the late 1990s, letter bombs and large-scale vehicle bombs became the major concern, particularly following the bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995. Antigovernment organizations and "hate" groups were increasingly linked to these incidents. A similar phenomenon has occurred in many countries overseas, where indigenous terrorists are motivated more by domestic grievances and ethnic conflict than by geopolitical causes . Since September 11, obviously, aircraft used as bombs and suicide terrorist attacks have emerged as major threats.
Finally, increasing U.S. dependence on sophisticated electronic information and communications systems for commerce, energy, vital human services, and transportation systems is a cause for concern due to the threat from electronic or cyber terrorism. Such threats prompted the creation of the President's Commission on Critical Infrastructure Protection to review the physical and electronic vulnerabilities of the nation's key infrastructure sectors, including transportation.
1 International terrorism is terrorism that involves citizens or the territory of more than one country. Domestic or indigenous terrorism involves groups or individuals whose activities are directed at their own government or population without foreign involvement.
2 The U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of Intelligence and Security, is in the process of compiling 1999 data and plans on releasing its 1999 report in late-2001.
1. Federal Bureau of Investigation, Terrorism in the United States-1997 (Washington, DC: 2000).
2. U.S. Department of Transportation, The Changing Face of Transportation (Washington, DC: 2000).
3. U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of the Secretary of Transportation, Office of Intelligence and Security, Worldwide Terrorist and Violent Criminal Attacks Against Transportation-1998 (Washington, DC: 1999).
Vulnerability of Transportation
Infrastructure to Terrorism
Transportation infrastructure, both overseas and in the United States, is increasingly a target for terrorists. In 1998, there were 1,033 terrorist and criminal attacks aimed at transportation systems-a 20 percent increase over 1997 and a 107 percent increase since 1995.1 These attacks resulted in 1,700 deaths and 2,200 injured people. In the United States alone, 27 incidents were recorded in 1998, nearly double the total from the previous year .
Transportation infrastructure draws terrorists because it is accessible; attracts broad media coverage when attacked; may be associated with national symbols, such as national airlines; and large numbers of people can be affected by a single act. While all transportation modes have been targeted, attacks on highways and maritime accounted for almost half of all incidents in 1998 (table 1). Prior to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, civil aviation accounted for a relatively small percentage of terrorist attacks on transportation, comprising only 7 percent of such attacks in 1998. Even before September 11, however, terrorism experts recognized that aviation was an attractive target for terrorists because it is the most visible national symbol of transportation. In 1998, attacks against buses accounted for the greatest number of deaths and injuries for a single mode (table 2).
An area of concern is the growing number of Americans traveling to foreign locations on cruises. In 1998, between 6 million and 8 million Americans took cruises to over 200 ports around the world. Moreover, Americans represent more than 80 percent of the passengers on all cruises worldwide, presenting terrorists with a large number of vulnerable targets .
Violent acts against domestic transportation doubled between 1997 and 1998 (none of these involved international terrorists). Of the 27 attacks in 1998 (figure 1), 11 were aimed at rail, including sabotage and derailment, attempted bombings, bomb threats, and one case of an incendiary device placed on railroad tracks. The remaining incidents included three bus hijackings; two planned or threatened attacks against bridges; three attacks against aviation; two pipeline bombings; and six maritime incidents that involved bombings, threats against cruise lines, and piracy .
Increasingly, sophisticated electronic information and communications systems are used in day-to-day transportation operations, causing concern about the possibility of electronic or "cyber-based" disruptions of key support services. During the late 1990s, the security of the nation's transportation system, potential countermeasures, and the need for improvements prompted the creation of the President's Commission on Critical Infrastructure Protection. The Commission identified three areas where transportation was potentially vulnerable to cyber-terrorists: the Global Positioning System for civil aviation navigation; air traffic control as part of the National Airspace System; and computer-based systems that control modern pipeline operations. Since release of the Commission's report, the government has taken steps to improve coordination of counter-terrorism efforts and has begun working with the transportation industry to identify new threats and vulnerabilities .
1. Executive Office of the President, "Presidential Decision Directive 62: Protecting American's Critical Infrastructure," Fact Sheet, May 1998.
2. U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of the Secretary of Transportation, Office of Intelligence and Security, Worldwide Terrorist and Violent Criminal Attacks Against Transportation-1998 (Washington, DC: 1999).
International Terrorism and Civil Aviation
Prior to September 11, 2001, the number of terrorist attacks aimed at civil aviation had declined between 1995 and 1999. In fact, incidents of unlawful interference with civil aviation, primarily hijackings and sabotage, had been decreasing since the 1970s (figure 1), while the number of flights, enplanements, and passenger-miles flown by scheduled air carriers had increased dramatically. Nevertheless, because civil aviation is a highly visible national symbol of transportation, terrorism experts recognized that it would remain a tempting target for terrorists .
In 2000, attacks against civil aviation worldwide claimed only 2 lives and wounded 27 others. Although the number of fatalities in attacks on aviation had been declining in recent years, aviation has historically been a high profile target for terrorists. Airlines are identified with a nation; therefore, terrorists can equate an attack against a U.S. flag airline with an attack on the United States . Table 1 breaks out worldwide incidents by category.
The terrorist threat to aviation has been continually evolving. For example, after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) responded to a rash of hijackings in the 1970s by deploying metal detectors at domestic airports, terrorists began to board aircraft and leave explosive devices in the aircraft via carry-on baggage at various overseas locations. Similarly, after FAA began examining carry-on baggage, terrorists were successful in placing explosive devices on board aircraft via checked baggage without actually boarding the aircraft . Now, terrorists have exploited a new area of vulnerability by adopting the tactic of suicide hijackings.
The bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in December 1988 had stimulated some of the most significant changes in aviation security prior to the September 11 terrorist attacks. Specifically, the Aviation Security Improvement Act of 1990 strengthened the role of the federal government in civil aviation security. Among other things, the Act instructed FAA to fund the development of Explosive Detection Systems (EDSs), establish EDS certification standards, and test and certify EDSs for eventual deployment .
Although air carriers have borne the primary responsibility for applying security measures, the White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security, established after the loss of TWA Flight 800 in July 1996, further strengthened the federal role. Following Commission recommendations, FAA purchased and deployed advanced security technologies, including more than 100 EDS devices for checked baggage screening and more than 570 explosives trace detection devices for use at screening checkpoints at more than 90 U.S. airports. The major carriers assume operational costs for installed EDSs and other technologies .
Prior to the September 11 attacks, the most stringent security measures were on flights bound for or arriving from overseas destinations, because the vast majority of criminal and terrorist acts against civil aviation up until that time had taken place overseas. Now, new security measures are in place on domestic flights, and additional security measures are being considered. As we have seen, the decline in terrorist attacks on aviation during the 1990s did not mean that the threat had diminished.
See figure 2 for Incidents Against Aviation by Geographic Region: 1996-2000.
1. Flynn, C., Associate Administrator for Civil Aviation Security, Federal Aviation Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, "DOT Flagship Initiatives on National Security: Status Report on Implementation of the Recommendations of the White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security," briefing paper, December 2000.
2. U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, Associate Administrator for Civil Aviation Security, personal communication, Apr. 18, 2001.
3. 14 CFR Part 129 (9 June 2000). U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration. Operations: Foreign Air Carriers and Foreign Operators of U.S.-Registered Aircraft Engaged in Common Carriage. Information available at http://www.faa.gov/avr/avrhome.htm, as of Apr. 21, 2001.
4. U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of the Secretary of Transportation, Office of Intelligence and Security, Worldwide Terrorist and Violent Criminal Attacks Against Transportation-1998 (Washington, DC: 1999).
5. U.S. General Accounting Office, Resources, Community, and Economic Development Division, Aviation Security: Additional Actions Needed To Meet Domestic and International Challenges (Washington, DC: January 1994).
World Petroleum Reserves
Because transportation depends on petroleum for about 95 percent of its energy needs, the long-term availability of petroleum supplies is a key concern. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) estimates that total world oil resources are about 2,311 billion barrels. This estimate includes expected but still undiscovered conventional petroleum, revisions made to known (discovered) oil reserves, and remaining reserves. Undiscovered conventional oil reserves are estimated to be 732 billion barrels worldwide (table 1). This estimate is 20 percent higher than earlier USGS assessments, reflecting the expectation that greater reserves than were previously thought to exist will be discovered in the Middle East, the northeast Greenland Shelf, the West Siberia and Caspian Sea areas of the former Soviet Union, and the Niger and Congo delta areas of Africa. USGS also notes for some areas, such as Canada, Mexico, and China, estimated undiscovered reserves are lower than previously reported .
The United States has 11 percent (83 billion barrels) of the estimated worldwide total of undiscovered oil, 76 billion barrels of reserve additions, and 32 billion barrels of remaining reserves . Alaska, Texas, California, and offshore areas of the Gulf of Mexico account for the majority of proved oil reserves in the United States.
In the last 100 years, an estimated 710 billion barrels of oil have been produced worldwide. The United States has produced about 171 billion barrels or nearly 50 percent of its total oil endowment . According to the Energy Information Administration, proved reserves have been declining an average of 2 percent per year . Although worldwide resources are plentiful, the availability of these resources is affected by production costs, technologies, markets, and national policies. These uncertainties plus the fact that U.S. oil reserves are declining have implications for U.S. oil import vulnerability and transportation's overwhelming reliability on petroleum.
1. U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration, U.S. Crude Oil, Natural Gas, and Natural Gas Plant Liquids Reserves 1999 (Washington, DC: 2000).
2. U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Geological Survey World Petroleum Assessment 2000-Description and Results (Washington, DC: June 2000), also available at http://greenwood.cr.usgs.gov/energy/WorldEnergy/DDS-60/, as of Feb. 24, 2001.
Transportation's Dependence on Imported Oil
Transportation is the only sector of the economy that consumes much more oil today than it did 20 years ago, making it highly vulnerable to oil disruptions. Beginning in 1997, the United States imported more than half of the crude oil and petroleum products that it consumed (figure 1), with net imports reaching 9.9 million barrels a day (mmbd) in 1999. The transportation sector, alone, consumed nearly 13 mmbd, which is equivalent to all domestic production plus approximately 40 percent of imports .
Oil imports emerged as a national security issue in the 1970s when they grew to a significant fraction of total oil consumption. Today, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Mexico, and Iraq are the top five suppliers of U.S. oil  (table 1). Of these, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, and Iraq are members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).1 In 1999, OPEC supplied about 46 percent (4.9 mmbd) of net imports, or 25 percent of total U.S. oil consumption (figure 2).
The U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration (EIA), expects non-OPEC oil production to increase in the future. Much of this increase will come from the former Soviet Union. Other areas expected to increase production levels include the North Sea area, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Colombia, and Brazil .
Nevertheless, as U.S. consumption increases and domestic production decreases, dependence on foreign oil supplies is rising. Whether a high level of oil imports poses serious strategic and economic problems for the United States depends on several factors, such as oil prices, ability of markets to respond to changes in supply and demand, OPEC's market share, and the importance of oil to the economy.
1. U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration, Annual Energy Outlook 2000, DOE/EIA-0383 (2000) (Washington, DC: December 1999).
2. _____. Monthly Energy Review (Washington, DC: April 2000), tables 1.3, 1.5, 3.1a, and 3.1b.
U.S. Merchant Shipbuilding and Repair
Because of the need to ship military forces and materiel around the globe, maintaining a strong manufacturing base capable of designing and building ships is a national security concern. Ships also provide much of the capacity needed to move international trade. Shipbuilding is, thus, a key industry in the United States and around the world.
In 1999, South Korea overtook Japan as the world leader in merchant shipbuilding in terms of gross tonnage. These two countries accounted for 69 percent of the gross tonnage of merchant ships on order as of July 2000. The United States ranked 11th, with about 1 percent of the world's gross tonnage on order  (table 1). Nevertheless, the U.S. shipbuilding industry has made some progress in its efforts to reemerge as an active participant in the commercial shipbuilding market (figure 1). The United States has 19 major private shipyards that can build vessels over 122 meters in length. More than 200 privately owned firms repair ships, but only 73 are classified as major repair yards with the capacity to handle vessels over 122 meters in length.
Over the last 10 years, the U.S. shipbuilding industry has invested more than $2.2 billion in capital improvement projects, the majority of which were targeted at increasing efficiency and competitiveness (figure 2). Investments were made in new shipyard layouts, and new cranes, transporters, automated equipment, and highly mechanized production systems were purchased . Several government programs also have provided assistance in revitalization efforts. These include an expanded Ship Financing Program (Title XI) of the Merchant Marine Act of 1936, as amended, and the National Shipbuilding and Conversion Act of 1993.
Revitalization efforts, however, have been complicated by an overall decline in world shipbuilding price levels. In 1998, world newbuilding price levels were less than most recorded world newbuilding prices in 1997. This decline continued into 1999, possibly due to a worldwide decrease in vessel orders and resulting competition .
1. Lloyds' Maritime Information Service, World Orderbook, datafile, July 2000.
2. United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Review of Maritime Transport 1999 (New York, NY: United Nations, 1999), p. 35.
3. U.S. Department of Transportation, Maritime Administration, MARAD '99 (Washington, DC: May 2000), pp. 16-20.
U.S. Aircraft Manufacturing
Aircraft play a key role in the national security of the United States. Thus, maintaining a strong manufacturing base with a trained and skilled workforce capable of designing and building aircraft and aircraft components is an issue of national security. In 1999, the aerospace industry employed 846,000 workers, representing 4.6 percent of all manufacturing jobs in the United States. Although the number of U.S. aircraft produced has declined sharply since the late 1970s (figure 1), the U.S. aerospace industry as a whole-which includes the production of civil and military aircraft as well as space and missile systems-remains internationally competitive and has generated strong sales, profits, and net exports.
Commercial aircraft sales recovered from the recession that struck the industry in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The sales of general aviation aircraft rebounded from a low of 899 produced in 1992 to 2,496 in 1999-but this was nowhere near the record high of 17,817 aircraft produced in 1978 . Much of the decline in general aviation aircraft production in the late 1970s and early 1980s coincided with increasing lawsuits against manufacturers. Liability costs rose and production and sales fell sharply. The decline in production and sales was reversed after enactment of the General Aviation Revitalization Act of 1994, which limited lawsuits against manufacturers .
Production of large transport-category aircraft over the last 20 years has experienced annual increases and decreases but no decline comparable to that of general aviation. In 1979, the United States produced 376 transport-category aircraft, compared with 620 in 1999. The United States' sole remaining manufacturer of such aircraft, the Boeing Company, retains a sizeable portion of the world market but faces growing competition from its chief European competitor, Airbus Industrie  (figure 2).
The U.S. aerospace industry is the single largest U.S. net exporter, with a positive trade balance in 1999 of $37 billion (figure 3). The industry exports over 40 percent of its total output and nearly 75 percent of its commercial products. Aircraft manufacturing and sales make up the largest component of the U.S. aerospace industry. U.S. manufacturers shipped 3,477 civil aircraft in 1999 with a total value of $45 billion, an increase of 342 aircraft and $3.7 billion over 1998 levels. Civil transport production accounted for 620 aircraft valued at $38 billion .
While U.S. production of civil aircraft has been increasing in recent years, production of military aircraft continues to decline. In 1999, the United States produced 333 military aircraft, down from 811 in 1995. Of that total, 226 were exported and 107 were delivered to U.S. military agencies. Much of the decline in U.S. military aircraft production can be attributed to the end of the Cold War .
1. Aerospace Industries Association, Aerospace Facts and Figures: 1999/2000 (Washington, DC: 1999).
2. Vilhauer, Robert, Aviation Affairs Office, The Boeing Company, personal communication, Sept. 28, 2000.
3. Aerospace Industries Association, Director of Aerospace Research Center, personal communication, Feb. 7, 2001.
Drug Smuggling and Interdiction
The U.S. government has identified drug smuggling as one of our nation's foremost national security problems. In 1998, an estimated 6.2 percent of Americans 12 years of age and older were illicit drug users . To address this problem, $17.9 billion was spent on drug control programs in fiscal year (FY) 1999. Of that total, $3.2 billion was earmarked for drug interdiction operations (figure 1).
The increasing flow of trade and passenger travel means that more cars, trucks, and railcars are crossing U.S. borders, and more ships are arriving at U.S. ports from all over the world. Moreover, the growth in the use of containers to ship commodities has facilitated cargo transfers and increased intermodal transportation services, thus allowing an easier worldwide flow of goods from road to rail to sea. With increasing traffic and the flow of goods comes increasing opportunity to smuggle illegal drugs .
The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) is the lead federal agency for maritime drug interdiction and shares the lead for air interdiction with the U.S. Customs Service. USCG patrols the Transit Zone, a 6 million square mile area, which includes the Western Atlantic, the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Eastern Pacific area. Cooperative agreements with nearly two dozen nations throughout the Transit Zone serve as the basis for combined U.S. and foreign counterdrug operations and enable USCG to exercise limited law enforcement authority inside foreign territory and aboard foreign-flagged vessels.
In FY 1999, USCG seized a record 111,689 pounds of cocaine-equal to 506 million drug doses, with an estimated street value of $3.7 billion (figure 2). USCG also launched a new counter-narcotics initiative in the Caribbean. This initiative, called Operation New Frontier, resulted in the confiscation of more than 6,900 pounds of narcotics .
Control of the processing and sale of illicit drugs worldwide is a continuous challenge. The United States has wrestled with drug control since the 1930s when the Federal Bureau of Narcotics was first established. Since then, increasingly rigorous antidrug programs have been established as demand has increased. Maritime trafficking of illegal drugs is expected to remain a global threat in the near future .
1. Executive Office of the President, Office of National Drug Control Policy, National Drug Control Strategy 2000, chapter 1, available at http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/publications/policy/ndcs00/index.html, as of Sept. 7, 2000.
2. Office of Naval Intelligence and U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Coast Guard, Threats and Challenges to Maritime Security, 1999, available at http://www.uscg.mil, as of September 2000.
3. U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Coast Guard, The 1999 Annual Report of the U.S. Coast Guard (Washington, DC: May 2000).
Alien Smuggling and Interdiction
Many alien interdiction cases begin as U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) search and rescue operations, and most occur in high seas in overcrowded and unseaworthy vessels. According to USCG, professional criminals vie for a share of the $10 billion a year migrant smuggling activity . For example, as much as $6 million may be paid by a large boatload of migrants from the People's Republic of China (PRC) to be smuggled into the United States. USCG reports that PRC migrants pay between $35,000 and $40,000 each, and Cuban migrants pay between $3,000 and $8,000 each to smugglers .
From 1995 to 2000, the majority of USCG interdictions involved migrants from Cuba, the Dominican Republic, the PRC, and Haiti (figure 1). USCG estimates that approximately 20,000 illegal PRC migrants reach the Western Hemisphere by sea each year and most are bound for the United States. Often, Guam is used as a stopping point to gain entrance into the United States. Once in Guam, migrants can be sent to the United States for court hearings on requests for asylum or to address criminal behavior; once in the United States, they can disappear .
Cuban interdiction operations differ from those of other countries. Under the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act (Public Law 89-732), Cuban migrants who reach U.S. shores can stay in the United States and obtain permanent residency status within one year. If captured at sea, they are returned to Cuba or taken to a safe haven . Many Cubans are transported in regular high-speed boats that blend into normal boating traffic. Near the U.S. shore, migrants are transferred to small rafts that are difficult to interdict.
Overall, USCG expects illegal migrant activity by sea to rise. In 2000, Haitian and Ecuadorian migrant interdictions together accounted for 58 percent of the total USCG activity for the year(figure 2).
1. Office of Naval Intelligence and U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Coast Guard, Threats and Challenges to Maritime Security (Washington, DC: March 1999).
2. U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Coast Guard, The 1999 Annual Report of the U.S. Coast Guard (Washington, DC: May 2000).
3. ____. America's Coast Guard: Safeguarding U.S. Maritime Safety and Security in the 21st Century (Washington, DC: 2000).