Security and Trade Efficiency Platform
Security and Trade Efficiency Platform
From looted ancient artifacts and natural resources to hazardous industrial materials, products can be stolen, counterfeited and misdirected to profit organized criminals and terrorists alike. At worst, the illicit trafficking of dual-use technologies could present pathways for non-state actors and countries of concern with materials to make Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). The Stimson Center’s Security and Trade Efficiency Platform (STEP) illustrates how countering the proliferation of WMD can also produce practical benefits to trade security and economic development.
STEP aims to recast the case for WMD nonproliferation by illustrating its innate connection with important local issues such as trade security and supply chain efficiency. The STEP framework is simple: if the public and private sector collaborate to identify and eliminate security vulnerabilities that expose supply chains to illicit trafficking of dual-use technologies, it will not only help advance global WMD nonproliferation efforts, but also improve local trade capacity.
STEP works closely with governments and industry stakeholders to identify operational inefficiencies and other weakpoints in a supply chain that could also be exploited as trafficking pathways for dual-use materials. Finding and eliminating these weakpoints also present opportunities to streamline supply chain operational processes to help industry avoid bottlenecks, reduce redundancies, and improve responsiveness to customers. Unlike many other security-related initiatives, STEP reaches out to all actors involved in the supply chain, including on-the-ground industry and operational stakeholders, as opposed to engaging exclusively with port personnel and customs. Piecing together these various perspectives within the supply chain allows STEP to offer recommendations that align across the chain, from regulations to operations.
In March 2016, the Stimson Center, along with partners NTELX, the Caribbean Maritime Institute and the CARICOM UN1540 Implementation Programme, successfully completed its most recent STEP project in Kingston, Jamaica. For Jamaica, STEP studied the supply chain involving the import and export of HAZMAT-designated, dual-use precursors chemicals, which if not secured could be diverted to nonpeaceful means, such as chemical weapons. After speaking to over fifty individuals representing Jamaican government and industry, STEP constructed business process maps synthesizing the different transactions and interactions in a supply chain to identify aforementioned weakpoints, which were presented to relevant Jamaican government agencies.
With the flexibility and portability of STEP, Stimson envisions partnerships around the world to bring innovative approaches that integrate security and development resources in a coherent and cost-effective manner.
Pragmatic Solutions — STEP Principles
Often there is a perceived schism between security and operational efficiencies, namely that added security measures increase the burden on the overall system, resulting in redundancies that slow productivity. STEP challenges these narrow perspectives by closely working with public and private sectors to impart the following principles:
WMD Nonproliferation Framed Under the Local Context: Despite possessing small amounts of sensitive dual-use material/technologies, developing countries remain a critical part of the WMD nonproliferation regime in that its legitimate trade routes and supply chains can be exploited to divert dual-use materials, especially if trade and border security are not well maintained. Thus, the most compelling reason to uphold WMD commitments must appeal to the trade community, emphasizing the fact that strategic security enhancements could yield greater confidence in their capacity to trade, which could attract future investments.
Security Reinforces Trade: Secure supply chain processes boost trade facilitation as they increase stakeholder/client confidence that cargo will not be sabotaged, diverted, or stolen. Security does not necessarily mean cumbersome inspections and other checks — it can be achieved without sacrificing efficiency.
Security Does Not Stop at the Port Perimeter: Security operations are not only confined within the port and relegated to customs officials or port security personnel. The entire supply chain must remain vigilant and be responsible for ensuring that cargo is secure by following proper procedures and maintaining operational efficiency such that processes are not obscured, confused, and vulnerable for foul play.
Importance of Understanding the Supply Chain: Stakeholders within the supply chain often have a narrow scope that entails only their duties in isolation, without recognition of the next link within the chain. Thus, there is a need to acknowledge the connection of responsibilities to the full process to incentivize vigilance and efficiency.