Posted: April 27th, 2021

Hlss661 | Operations Management homework help

please answer original forum with a minimum of 250 words and respond to both students separately with a minimum of 100 words each

Please Follow directions or I will dispute 

Page 1 Original Forum with References 

page 2 Steven response with references 

page 3 Lyle response with references 


What are CBRNE threat vectors? What challenges are present in detecting these concerns, and what are security/industry doing to address them? Consider the impact and importance of the development of Mega Ports the widening of the Panama Canal and the increased use of the western rivers of the United States as a means of moving large quantities of hazardous chemicals.

student Response 


In regards to maritime and port operations, Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives, or more commonly known as CBRNE encompass not one but a multitude of threat vectors that can threaten operational security and port operations.  CBRNE covers a plethora of deleterious actions utilizing a multitude of agents.  These agents can range from microscopic botulinum toxins to multi-megaton nuclear devices and anything that is nasty, toxic or can go boom in between.

            For the sake of this forum, I will limit my discussion to the use of a Radiological Dispersion Device as the threat vector of choice, with the means of delivery being a TEU shipping container.  A TEU is the designation for a twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) shipping container with internal dimensions of 20 feet long, with 8 feet width and height.  The other type of shipping container is the FEU which designates a forty-foot container (Freightos, 2021).

            A Radiological Dispersion Device (RDD) or more commonly known as a “dirty bomb” is a non-nuclear, conventional explosive device that disperses radioactive material.  Terrorist organizations have the technological acumen and access to material to construct the explosive delivery system for the device.  Obtaining the radioactive material would pose a more substantial obstacle to overcome but not impossible for a determined foe to obtain.  An example of such a device constructed by non-state actors could be something as small as Composition-4 (C4) plastic explosive integrated with cesium-137.  The cesium -137 could be obtained from something as innocuous as a medical gauge or discarded medical equipment.  The Federation of American Scientists have calculated that a small amount of cesium-137 delivered via an explosive device at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. would blanket approximately 40 city blocks with radioactive material that would exceed contamination limits as set forth by the Environmental Protections Agency.  One estimate concluded that if decontamination was not conducted that the area would not be inhabitable for decades (Medalia, 2003)

            Given the fact that only 5% of the nearly 10 million shipping containers that are processed and pass through ports every year are screened, it is very easy to see that a RDD could be employed in a maritime port environ quite easily (Bakir, 2007).  There are however, protocols and practices in place at ports that help detect and deter a possible RDD event.  Some examples are such items as radiation portal monitors.  These are a drive through systems that monitor and scan vehicles and their cargo to detect radiation.  Other types of equipment that are employed are such items as radiation isotope identifiers and large-scale gamma ray/x-ray imaging systems.  Additionally, the Office of the Nuclear Smuggling Detection and Deterrence (NSDD), a sub-system of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) assists that any nuclear material entering the country are legal and secure (EPA, 2019).

            With the widening of the Panama Canal, the New Panamax ships will now be able to transit the canal system and with this transit brings the possibility of an RDD.  The New Panamax cargo ships are larger than those that previously utilized the canal system. These new ships are 1400 feet in length, 180 feet in width and 60 feet in depth and have a cargo carrying capacity of 13,000 TEU.  These newer ships can carry significantly more cargo containers, increasing the amount of cargo being transited; this however would make it considerably more labor intensive in scanning for a possible RDD once the ship reaches its port destination (Maritime Connector, 2019).


Bakir, N. (2007).  A brief analysis of threats and vulnerabilities in the maritime domain. In:           Linkov I., Wenning R.J., Kiker G.A. (eds) Managing Critical Infrastructure Risks.      NATO Science for Peace and Security Series C: Environmental Security. Springer,   Dordrecht.

EPA. (2019). Radiation and shipping port security. Environmental Protection Agency.      Washington, D.C. Retrieved from:       port-security

Freightos. (2021). TEU shipping containers and international freight. Retrieved from:    

Maritime Connector. (2019). Panamax and new panama. Maritime Connector. Croatia. Retrieved             from:

Medalia, J. (2003).  Terrorist “dirty bombs”: A primer.  Congressional Research Service Report     for Congress. Washington, D.C. Retrieved from: 


One of the initiatives being done is the inspection of cargo at the port of origin (Bakir, 2007). The Department of Energy (DOE) works with other countries to setup monitoring equipment at some major ports overseas to check for radiological material before the ships even head our way (Bakir, 2007). “The capability to detect harmful cargo largely depends on the effectiveness of non-intrusive inspection (NII) technologies” (Bakir, 2007). In other words, we can’t physically inspect every container because there are simply too many, so we use technology to detect hazardous materials, such as X-ray and gamma imaging (Bakir, 2007). I also know from personal experience, when the Coast Guard board these large cargo ships, we carry radiation detection equipment on each person. 

The challenge is getting other countries on board with standards of shipping security and making sure they have the correct functioning equipment to able to detect hazardous materials. In addition, we need our technology on our end to work as well and have people trained to use it. There are some people who barley knows how to use the equipment using it in the field. They will basically just know to call someone else if the equipment beeps. I think it is assumed that everyone using detection equipment is an expert with it and that is not usually the case. Sometimes we focus a lot on preventing the smuggling of hazardous materials, but we also have large ships carrying large amounts of hazardous materials on purpose. These ships need to be protected as they enter the ports and for the duration of their stay. 

An attack on a cargo ship carrying ammonium nitrate could cause a large explosion and easily take down the port it is docked at or pulling into. The Coast Guard has many regulations in place since 2004 for cargo of this type to prevent an attack or accident (Bakir, 2007). When I was stationed in San Francisco, we would provide armed escorts of these types of vessels, sometimes the local police would participate as well. Any large cargo vessel that has “No Smoking” painted on the outside of the superstructure largest enough to read from the freeway, is usually carrying a large amount of hazardous materials. 

Bakir, N. O. (2007). A brief analysis of threats and vulnerabilities in the maritime domain. Managing Critical Infrastructure Risks, 17-49. doi:10.1007/978-1-4020-6385-5_2

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