J.J. Coughlin, director of law enforcement services for LoJack Supply Chain Integrity and chairman of the Southwest Transportation Security Council, already counts at least four major legislative efforts affecting supply chain stakeholders and at least 14 other strategies. The problem is “there’s so much redundancy,” says Coughlin, a member of the ASIS Supply Chain and Transportation Security Council.
Seth Stodder, former director of policy and planning for U.S. Customs and Border Protection and now a consultant working on the strategy for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), says that he understands the industry’s fears, which is why DHS is reaching out to private supply chain stakeholders before the strategy evolves into an implementation plan.
“Part of the reason to go and talk through all of this with the private sector ... is to try and cut down the weeds a little bit,” he says. “There are areas where there are overlapping regulations and duplication, and this is an opportunity to take an inventory of everything we’ve done for the last 10 years and say, ‘This works, this doesn’t, this is duplicative.’”
Stodder says the idea is to find ways to consolidate and streamline regulations to make it easier on supply chain stakeholders, who are overwhelmingly private sector. “Nobody in the government wants to slow down commerce,” he says.
However, the federal government does want to ensure that disruptions—whether man-made or natural—don’t block the “carotid artery of the global trading system” and paralyze it. This happened in 2002 when the West Coast port shutdown led to the stoppage of all trans-Pacific trade for 10 days because of a labor dispute.