An Iowa native attended this morning’s (Friday) Washington D.C. ceremony as President Bush signed the Port Bill into law, designed to keep terrorists from sneaking nuclear, chemical and germ weapons into the U.S. by boat. Kory Sylvester, who grew up in Webster City, serves on the National Nuclear Security Administration in D.C.
Sylvester says the bill-signing is the culmination of a tremendous amount of work. Sylvester says “It was a focus this year of my time on the Committee on Homeland Security in the House. I was on loan there helping them work on nuclear detection-related topics.
The Port Act itself does a variety of things intended to increase the security at the nation’s seaports as well as the security of container shipments coming into the United States.” 11-million shipping containers enter the U.S. every year.
Sylvester says he’s honored to have played a role in helping create the far-reaching anti-terrorist law. He says his direct contribution to the legislation was in authorizing the Domestic Nuclear Detection office at the Department of Homeland Security, which has a large research and development focus, trying to develop better methods of detecting nuclear and radiological threats.
Under the new law, the nation’s 22 largest ports have until year’s end to get radiation detectors on-line, and every worker at 360-some ports in the U.S. will have to undergo background checks.