Maritime Security: Potential Terrorist Attacks and Protection Priorities [January 9, 2007]   [open pdf - 185KB]

From the Summary: "A key challenge for U.S. policy makers is prioritizing the nation's maritime security activities among a virtually unlimited number of potential attack scenarios. While individual scenarios have distinct features, they may be characterized along five common dimensions: perpetrators, objectives, locations, targets, and tactics. In many cases, such scenarios have been identified as part of security preparedness exercises, security assessments, security grant administration, and policy debate. There are far more potential attack scenarios than likely ones, and far more than could be meaningfully addressed with limited counter-terrorism resources. Clear perspectives on the nature and likelihood of specific types of maritime terrorist attacks are essential for prioritizing the nation's maritime anti-terrorism activities. In practice, however, there has been considerable public debate about the likelihood of scenarios frequently given high priority by federal policy makers, such as nuclear or 'dirty' bombs smuggled in shipping containers, liquefied natural gas (LNG) tanker attacks, and attacks on passenger ferries. Differing priorities set by port officials, grant officials, and legislators lead to differing allocations of port security resources and levels of protection against specific types of attacks. How they ultimately relate to one another under a national maritime security strategy remains to be seen."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL33787
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