Alion hires Massey for port work

Integrator will look to establish best practices for maritime security market
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Saturday, December 1, 2007

MCLEAN, Va.--Alion, a systems integrator and technology developer doing roughly 90 percent of its business with the federal government, has hired Charles Massey as director of ports and maritime security in an attempt to grow its business with the private sector and round out its homeland security knowledge base.
Massey served at the international borders and maritime security program manager at Sandia National Laboratories, where he supported the Department of Energy and National Nuclear Security Administration's Megaports initiative, and worked on security efforts at ports in 30 countries. He also ran Operation Safe Commerce at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Now, with Alion, he will look to develop a turnkey-style security solution for ports that are underfunded and understaffed for screening 100 percent of the cargo that comes through their operations.
"The one thing I see missing a lot of the time in maritime security approaches is an assessment of the overall system," Massey said of his challenge. "I try to break it down when I go into a particular port to make sure they understand what it is they're trying to protect, and what they're protecting themselves from."
"A lot of people," he continued, "come in pushing a technology solution ... They'll say, 'You need to put in biometrics.' Maybe for identifying, that makes sense, but I've seen that proposed for a port that doesn't even have a good fence line or guards at the gate. Biometrics might work great, but that's not the need there."
Ports are concerned primarily with keeping their flow of goods unimpeded and keeping costs low, Massey said, and integrators can show them how security systems can help in both areas. A high-quality security system will give government regulators confidence to restart a port after a homeland-security event, Massey said, and "from another perspective, from a business case, they've seen it's good for business. It's a service that shippers are looking for, if it's not too much of a unit cost. That can be passed on to the shipper, and he might see it as a small price to pay for the value added."