HEAD: Tom Ridge, former governor of PA
BUDGET: $36.2 billion
ORGANIZATION: Five major directorates
COMPOSITION: 22 existing federal agencies
LOCATION: Nebraska Ave. Center (NAC) in Northwest Washington, DC
WEB SITE: www.dhs.gov
The newest Cabinet agency is the Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS). While the entire department will touch facets of trucking, of special interest is Border & Transportation Security (BTS).
The agency's largest directorate, BTS includes Transportation Security Administration,Customs Service, border security functions of INS, Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service, and Law Enforcement Training Center. Actions related to border crossing procedures, foreign carrier regs and safety, cargo manifest rules, agriculture and animal hauling regs and driver identification will have biggest impact on trucking.
Information Analysis & Infrastructure Protection is responsible for protecting telecommunications and computer networks, as well as interstate highway system, bridges and tunnels.
Emergency Preparedness & Response directorate will ensure that we can recover from terrorist attacks and natural disasters. This includes repairing and rebuilding highways, bridges, terminals, etc.
Science & Technology coordinates R&D to prepare and respond to terrorist threats and weapons of mass destruction. Will study technology applicable to truck location, truck safety, driver biometrics, cargo security and detection of weapons inside trucks.
Management directorate oversees budget, management and personnel issues.
Other agencies being folded into DHS include the U.S. Coast Guard and Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services. Trucking should be especially interested in the port rules and regulations announced by the Coast Guard, which affect container shipments and port entry by truckers.
The Office of Private Sector Liaison will provide the business community with a direct line of communication to DHS. It hopes to build a relationship with industry and trade associations to discuss challenges faced by companies in the age of terrorist threats.