Port ID Rules Could Cost Jobs
The program they are talking about is the "Transportation Workers Identity Credential" (or TWIC) and it affects more than just maritime security. The original (and possibly current) plan called for a single ID card program across the transportation industry. From trains to planes to ships at sea, this would be the ID for you and me (well, ok, probably just me as you probably don't work in the industry.) The system involves extensive background checks and pretty much regulates what one can and can't do at a port. For example, a clerk or steveadore might have one level of clearance, a trucker another and management a third. The system would have a centrally located database of vetted personnel and would allow for a person to be pulled from all systems at the same time (thus preventing John TruckDriver from being denied entry at terminal A and still having access at Terminal B). All in all it looks like a good program that should enhance port security by a large measure.
It will be interesting to see how the Democrats handle this story since the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) has been so staunchly behind them (under the banner of the AFL-CIO) and is rather against the TWIC programs background checks and restrictions.
But since the Democrats have recently declared themselves to be so concerned about port security and have made it one of their talking points, that I think they will find themselves at a loggershead over this one (or will simply do the normal "Democrat Slide" and slip away from the issue and make it a BIRFEB.)
Personally I say bring TWIC on! I've been waiting for the program to start for quite a while now.