PROTECTING US STRATEGIC TECHNOLOGY
For decades, foreign adversaries of the United States have sought to acquire US and Western arms and technology through both legal and illegal means. Illicit trade in these items has allowed our enemies to secure the fruits of Western research and strategic technology at a relatively low cost, while placing US citizens, troops and national interests, as well as global security, at risk. Strategic technologies and weapons are essential to the defense of the United States. In the wrong hands, however, these items could become instruments of terrorism or war that could be used against the United States.
As with any illicit trade, the precise volume of illegal exports is difficult to measure or even to estimate. Federal investigations and seizures suggest that this global market amounts to tens of millions of dollars annually. However, the monetary value of these products pales in comparison to their strategic and military value.
Sensitive products include aircraft, missile and weapons technology; materials and equipment used in the construction of nuclear weapons; night vision technology; biological and chemical warfare agents and their precursors; systems for weapons detection, tracking and monitoring; and a wide range of manufacturing technologies for microelectronics, computers and other digital components.
Project Shield America seeks to prevent foreign adversaries, terrorists, and criminal networks from obtaining and trafficking in WMD and their components. The initiative also seeks to prevent these groups from obtaining sensitive US technologies, commodities, munitions and firearms. Furthermore, Project Shield America targets financial transactions that support these activities or violate US sanctions or embargoes.
Inspection and Interdiction – Specially trained US Customs and Border Protection Inspectors are stationed at high-threat US ports of entry to inspect outbound shipments for possible violations of US export laws. Any violations are reported to ICE agents for further investigation.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agents conduct investigations of export violations, seize illegal shipments of controlled technology and munitions, and pursue the arrest, prosecution, and conviction of violators. In a one year period, ICE agents opened approximately 3,000 new criminal investigations into the illegal export of US munitions and strategic technology. ICE agents also conduct outreach visits with industry officials to educate them about US export laws and to solicit their assistance in preventing illegal foreign acquisition of their products.
This partnership is crucial, allowing ICE agents to concentrate on proactive investigations and to identify vulnerabilities in the export system before they can damage vital US interests. Furthermore, these industry outreach visits often result in tips from industry sources that lead to criminal investigations. In the 2003 and 2004 fiscal years, ICE agents have conducted more than 5,500 industry outreach visits around the country, resulting in tips that have prompted dozens of ICE criminal investigations nationwide and worldwide.
ICE Attaches stationed in nations around the world enlist the support of host governments to develop leads and investigative information in support of ongoing domestic arms and strategic technology investigations. At the same time, these ICE Attaches help support investigations by foreign law enforcement into illegal weapons and technology trafficking.
These efforts are all supported by the ICE Arms and Strategic Technology Investigations Unit's Exodus Command Center located in Washington, DC. The command center serves as an information-sharing hub for DHS as well as for the US Departments of Commerce, Defense and State and other agencies concerned with the export of US strategic technology and products.
of Homeland Security,
© 2005 Jim Kouri- All
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Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country.
He writes for many police and crime magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer, Campus Law Enforcement Journal, and others. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com, Booksamillion.com, and can be ordered at local bookstores.
This partnership is crucial, allowing ICE agents to concentrate on proactive investigations and to identify vulnerabilities in the export system before they can damage vital US interests.