The Export Control and Related Border Security Program (EXBS) quarterly newsletter is published by the Office of Export Control Cooperation in the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation at the U.S. Department of State.
The newsletter provides highlights of EXBS activities in the past quarter, introduction of new advisors, and highlights from EXBS posts in the field.
EXBS completed 65 bilateral, regional, and international training events during the third quarter of 2010 (July to September). The newsletter provides highlights of select notable engagements.
In June and July, the State Cus-toms Service of Ukraine used EXBS-donated equipment to uncover three large shipments of cocaine. All were at the Port of Odessa and were the result of exceptional targeting and examination procedures. The estimated total street value of the three shipments is over $255 million, the largest cocaine seizure in Europe in the past ten years.
The Customs Officer responsible, who had attended EXBS courses in 2008 and 2010, used all the tools at his disposal and took considerable risks to find the deeply concealed shipments.
Case one: A container coming from Bolivia contained 8012 pieces of wood flooring. The officer used an EXBS-donated tow cart to x-ray each piece. The x-ray images indicated 212 pieces each contained three packages of cocaine. EXBS donated hand tools were used to disassemble the flooring to extract 152 kilos of cocaine.
Case two: Five containers also coming from Bolivia contained scrap metal. In the scrap were 36 pieces of unusually heavy drill pipe. The EXBS donated VACIS (mobile imaging system) scans revealed nothing. The officer used a Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) donated saw to cut one of the pipes. This revealed that within there was another pipe. Between the pipes there was cocaine. All 36 pieces were similarly loaded with cocaine, for a total of 582 kilos.
Case three: Two containers coming from Venezuela contained 4 smelter ovens. The port has a Rapiscan system; however, it was not in use due to concern about excessive radiation. The officer convinced management that they should scan the ovens using the Rapiscan. Management concurred, and the scan revealed possible contraband. The Customs Officer drilled into the side of the oven. He then inserted a fiberscope and was able to see packages of contraband. The drill was donated by DTRA and the fiberscope by EXBS. Complete examination revealed 1200 kilos of cocaine.
Advanced information was received on all three shipments, but on shipments 1 and 2, there was no consignee or shipper information. On shipment 3, this information was available and the ovens were reassembled for a controlled delivery. The controlled delivery resulted in the arrest of 5 individuals.
The Georgian Coast Guard (GCG) recently completed two weeks of EXBS boarding officer training conducted by the GCG and a U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Maritime Law Enforcement (MLE) mobile training team. Successful completion of the joint training marks a culmination of several years of MLE skill development and practical expertise, whereby GCG personnel have success-fully demonstrated the ability to train their own. Additionally, GCG MLE personnel, in coordination with the USCG training team, drafted detailed train-ing and qualification standards for GCG law enforcement personnel. The standards were presented to and subsequently endorsed by the Georgian Head of Border Police. The GCG MLE training and qualification standards are expected to formally go into effect before the end of the year.
As further testament to the GCG MLE proficiency and professionalism, recent boarding officer course graduates successfully completed a seizure of a commercial vessel suspected of illegal transit and subsequent smuggling in the occupied territory of Abkhazia.
While visiting the U.S. on a Targeting and Risk Management-International Visitors Program in July, six senior Customs enforcement leaders from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia gained first-hand knowledge of how U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers identify high-risk cargo shipments and target them for closer scrutiny and possible physical inspection in order to interdict illicit trafficking in items of proliferation concern and other contraband.
This program demonstrated the full gamut of related CBP activities, from the National Targeting Center in Virginia identifying high-risk shipments entering the global supply chain to the United States, to inspecting cargo shipments at land border crossings in New York and the Port Elizabeth Seaport in New Jersey, and inspecting aircraft and associated cargo landing at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. Participants also visited the Newark Regional CBP Laboratory, which conducts testing and analysis to detect trafficking in WMD related materials.
During the visit, Balkan Customs officials learned about CBP’s targeting systems and databases; targeting tactics, techniques, and procedures, and application of these in various environments; contraband seizure methods; and post-seizure analysis. These officials were impressed by what they observed during the week-long visit, and they anticipated implementing initiatives to enhance the manner in which their agencies identified and targeted risky shipments for closer inspection upon returning to their capitals.
In coordination with the EXBS program in Armenia, the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Second Line of Defense (SLD) Program Office provided SLD train the trainer sessions with Armenian Customs Officers from June 28 – July 1, 2010 in Yerevan, Armenia.
The week began with several days of classroom training at a Regional Customs House in Yerevan and concluded with a series of practical exercises at Yerevan’s Zvartnots International Airport cargo facility utilizing installed Yantar Radiation Portal Monitors (RPMs). Team Leader Wayne Lechelt, who had visited Armenia previously, commented during the final day of exercises that this was obviously a highly motivated group of officers and that he was optimistic that they would ultimately form a long-term training cadre for Armenia.
Since receiving their first Aspect RPMs in 2006, over 40 RPMs have been installed at Armenia’s rail, vehicular and pedestrian ports of entry, including several locations at Zvartnots International Airport.
On August 24, in Tbilisi City Hall, EXBS donated personal radiation detec-tion devices, worth more than $200,000 to the Government of Georgia. Charles Hiscock, EXBS Advisor to Georgia, attended the ceremony, which received national Georgian press coverage. 21 of the devices, commonly known as "pagers," were given to the Emergency Situations Service within the Tbilisi Mayor’s office, and 71 pagers were given to the Patrol Police Department of the Ministry of Interior of Georgia. Training on use of the new equipment will be provided by the Nuclear Radiation Safety Service of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources. The personal radiation detection devices are meant to protect government officials and the public, to increase Georgia’s security and to support Georgia in the international effort to control radioactive materials.
EXBS started operations in Georgia in 2006. The program has invested more than $6 million in equipment, training, and advisory support primarily focused on controlling the illicit transnational movement of weapons of mass destruction, their components and delivery systems. In addition to enhanced border enforcement, EXBS works with Georgian and EU colleagues to help update Georgian export control legislation and licensing processes to meet internationally accepted standards.
When the 12 newest Member States (Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia) joined the European Union between 2004 and 2007, they "graduated" from the EXBS program based on assessments showing they met certain minimum standards for strategic trade controls in the fields of effective legal frameworks, licensing processes, enforcement procedures, industry out-reach, and investigation and prosecution of export control violations. A closer look in 2008 revealed the need for some post-graduate work to address existing gaps and to foster regional leaders to serve as mentors to other EXBS partners. Therefore, EXBS designated funding from Fiscal Year 2009 and 2010 global funds, as well as a significant amount of "old" money recovered and re-obligated for a number of these countries, in order to provide a wide array of training, equipment, and technical assistance.
Although the post-graduate countries did not require full-level EXBS engagement, limited engagement has allowed us to ensure the continuation of effective export control systems meeting international standards, provide refresher training and advanced technical assistance, and provide guidance to post-graduate countries in the development of their own outreach programs.
Our Berlin-based special advisor for re-engagement, Vonda Delawie, works closely with action officer Thanh Kim in the Office of Export Control Cooperation and with EXBS points-of-contact in each "post-graduate" partner-country embassy to update assessments, identify highest-priority needs, and program the appropriate assistance. In order to do this, Vonda started making the rounds in May 2010. Typically, this involves a jam-packed two-day visit to each country, meeting licensing and enforcement officials, briefing the Embassy (political and economic officers, Regional Security Officers, Deputy Chiefs of Mission, Law Enforcement Working Groups, and others) on the EXBS program, and touring border posts, ports etc.
To make the best use of the time, Vonda tries to coincide her visits with relevant USG capacity- building events already scheduled, such as a Second Line of Defense (SLD) regional meeting in Lithuania, a Defense Threat Reduction Agency/International Counterproliferation Program (DTRA/ICP) training in Sofia, International Nonproliferation Export Control Program (INECP) Commodity Identification Trainings in Ljubljana and Bratislava, or a regional Analysis of Strategic Commodity Transfers in Budapest. This way, she can observe the event and get feedback from organizers and participants.
Engaging our Embassies to support the EXBS program requires an array of diplomatic negotiating skills. Busy embassy staffers already have a long list of bilateral responsibilities, and we are asking them to take on additional duties of issue-specific out-reach to host-national officials and to provide some logistical support for our implementers—not to mention our roving advisor. Fortunately, EXBS is an easy "sell" because our programs help to support each embassy’s strategic goals in a concrete way. To strengthen the relationship between EXBS and these embassies, we will bring together embassy staff dealing with the EXBS program for two days of informative briefings and best-practice exchanges in early November.
Meanwhile, the Re-engagement Advisor is off again. She will be in Bratislava to observe the Chemical-Biological Commodity Identification Training, then in Warsaw for consultations with our DTRA/ICP colleagues, later on in Budapest for a regional ASCOT, maybe Klaipeda (Lithuania) in December for maritime security training, Poland in January…there’s always something going on in the post-graduate countries!
Karen Chaisson joined EXBS in August 2010 as the Advisor to Azerbaijan. Ms. Chaisson has eighteen years of international development experience, and is serving as an EXBS Advisor as a detailee from her current assignment as a Program Analyst in the Office of International Affairs at U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). At CBP, she has served as Desk Officer for Azerbaijan and Russia, and the Georgia Border Security and Law Enforcement Program Man-ager. She has managed EXBS programs for Kazakhstan, Armenia, Moldova, and Ukraine. She was also an International Affairs Specialist at U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters. She has provided maritime safety and security training and technical assistance programs for over sixty countries.
Dale Ott joined EXBS in August 2010 as the Advisor to Albania. Mr. Ott served twenty five years in the U.S. Army Special Forces. He has twenty years experience with the Palatine, Illinois Police Force. He also has over ten years experience as a liaison/advisor implementing force protection, criminal investigation procedures, and law enforcement tactics to foreign nationals in Croatia, Macedonia, East Timor, Jordan and Iraq. He has also developed and implemented border security programs in Albania, Africa, and Afghanistan. Most recently, Mr. Ott returned from Afghanistan where he was assigned to the Border Management Task Force. He advised and served as liaison with the Afghan Customs Officials, Customs Police, Border Police, and Afghan Military.
Afghanistan EXBS Program Coordinator Roohullah Sheikaib, a locally-employed Program Assistant, received a Franklin Award from U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, Karl Eikenberry, at the American Embassy on July 6, 2010. In recognition of his professionalism, devotion to duty and ability to accomplish the Export Control and Related Border Security mission during the absence of the EXBS Advisors from April 26, 2009 to April 25, 2010, Mr. Shekaib took on additional responsibilities and completed several important program objectives with the Afghan Customs and Border Police.
The Export Control and Related Border Security (or "EXBS") program is the United States Government's premier initiative to help other countries develop and improve their strategic trade and related border control systems. The EXBS program takes a regional and multilateral approach, promoting harmonization of national export control systems with international standards. The program also organizes a number of regional and international fora to bring national policymakers and technical experts together to share information and best practices.
For more information about EXBS Activities, please contact Ms. Valerie Reed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of Export Control Cooperation
Harry S Truman Building, Room 3317
2201 C. St., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20520