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A Proven Method for Identifying Security Gaps in International Postal and Transportation Critical Infrastructure

January 2014 Technical Note
Greg Crabb (United States Postal Service), Julia H. Allen, Pamela D. Curtis, Nader Mehravari

In this report, the authors describe a method of identifying physical security gaps in international mail processing centers and similar facilities.


The safety, security, and resilience of international postal, shipping, and transportation critical infrastructure are vital to the global supply chain that enables worldwide commerce and communications. But security on an international scale continues to fail in the face of new threats. Owners and operators of critical postal, shipping, and transportation operations need new methods to identify, assess, and mitigate security risks and gaps in the most effective manner possible. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service, in collaboration with the Universal Postal Union (UPU) and the CERT® Division at Carnegie Mellon University’s Software Engineering Institute, developed a physical security assessment method to identify gaps in the security of international mail processing centers and similar shipping and transportation processing facilities. This assessment method and its associated field instrument are designed to be repeatable, cost effective, scalable, accurate, meaningful, and transparent. Since the method uses UPU standards as its reference, it may be used by the international community to evaluate the security of postal administrations around the world. The method also can be applied to other types of critical transportation services, such as metropolitan transit systems. This report describes the history, development approach, field experiences, and benefits of this method.