A leading U.S. national security authority said during a Georgia Institute of Technology luncheon that the country’s cargo transportation systems are vulnerable to terrorist attack.

            Stephen E. Flynn, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, warned at the event held at Georgia Tech’s Sam Nunn School of International Affairs on Oct. 21 that disruption of the country’s ports could plunge the world into a global recession.

            He warned that neither national nor state governments were addressing the risks sufficiently because of budget restraints. He also said that private businesses would not make necessary investments without knowing their liabilities.

            “The next disruption could close all of our ports and bring about a global recession,” he said.

            Dr. Flynn, a retired commander from the U.S. Coast Guard and a former director of global issues at the National Security Council, said there was no way of identifying suspicious cargo that might be sent on unusual routes or at unusual times.

            “We have built an elaborate transportation system that no longer is dependent on warehousing and is reliable and low cost,” he said. “But there is no way to way to monitor their contents as they move from point A to B…or to know if they have been tampered with during the process.”

            He told GlobalFax during an interview at the event that Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and the Port of Savannah face “big challenges” for improving cargo security because many of their operations are managed by the private sector.

            The Council of Foreign Relations is an independent national membership organization with offices in New York and Washington.

            To reach Dr. Flynn, send an email to  HYPERLINK mailto:slflynn@cfrr.org slflynn@cfrr.org