FORMER U.S. CUSTOMS DEPUTY COMMISSIONER CHARLES
JOINS SANDLER & TRAVIS TRADE ADVISORY SERVICES AS
SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, BORDER SECURITY
(from the website www.strtrade.com. )
WASHINGTON, DC May 16, 2002 ‰¥ã Sandler & Travis Trade Advisory Services, Inc. (STTAS), a leading provider of customs and international trade consulting services, today announced it has named former U.S. Customs Deputy Commissioner Charles Winwood as Senior Vice President, Border Security.
Winwood, a 30-year Customs Service veteran, served as Acting Commissioner in 2001, and held numerous other positions in the agency, including Assistant Commissioner for the Offices of Field Operations, Strategic Trade, and Inspection and Control. Winwood is widely respected for his leadership in creating Customs‰¥ú Risk Management Program and has received numerous commendations for his service, including the Presidential Rank Award for Distinguished Executives and the Commissioner‰¥ús Unit Citation. He was twice presented with the Meritorious Executive Presidential Rank Award and was named Federal Executive of the Year in 1994.
‰¥þCommissioner Robert C. Bonner has led the efforts to focus the government and trade community‰¥ús attention on improving global supply chain security. As Senior Vice President of Border Security, Chuck Winwood will draw upon his experience at Customs to work with companies and U.S. and foreign government agencies to develop and implement innovative, secure border operation initiatives consistent with the Commissioner‰¥ús new vision,‰¥ÿ said Robert Schaffer, President of STTAS.
Winwood joins a number of former senior Customs officials at the firm, including three other past Deputy Commissioners ‰¥ã Samuel H. Banks, Michael H. Lane and Alfred R. De Angelus. This seasoned team of customs experts combined with STTAS‰¥ú proven business procedures and proprietary technology will ensure that governments and companies' supply chains operate efficiently.
STTAS works closely with companies and governments throughout the world to develop information technology, risk management protocols and other global commerce facilitation mechanisms to meet the increasing demands of global trade. STTAS is one of five first-tier partners in the United States Customs Modernization (Automated Commercial Environment or ACE) effort to design, develop and implement a comprehensive information technology system for commercial, enforcement, and administrative operations.
In addition, companies and governments that have developed their own customs and trade systems tap the resources of STTAS to provide innovative solutions to support their internal operations. Other clients rely entirely on STTAS to wholly manage specific international trade functions. In-house and public corporate seminars and training sessions, project management services for tariff classification, preference programs (i.e., NAFTA, GSP), and duty drawback as well as other corporate services such as valuation of merchandise, country of origin determination, and U.S. and Canadian Customs compliance services are available on a project-by-project basis or as a complete managed service.
STTAS and its affiliated law firm, Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, have offices throughout the United States and in Canada. For more information, visit www.strtrade.com.
Editor‰¥ús note: Winwood will be based in STTAS‰¥ú Washington, D.C. office, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Suite 400, Tel: (202) 638-2230. (Isn't that the same address as the Commissioner at Headquarter's?)
HOW IS ACE COMING ALONG ANYWAY?
( sections in quotes from GAO Report published May 2002 You can read the entire report -Customs Service Modernization: Management Improvements Needed on High-Risk Automated Commercial Environment Project. GAO-02-545, May 13 by doing a cut and paste of the following web address:
"Customs is in the early stages of a multiyear, multibillion-dollar project: the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE), a new import processing system that is to support effective and efficient movement of goods into the United States. By congressional mandate, Customs' spending plans for ACE must meet certain conditions, including being reviewed by GAO. In this study, GAO addresses whether Customs' latest plan satisfies congressional conditions and is consistent with open GAO recommendations, and it identifies opportunities for strengthening project management."
You might think that with three past Customs Deputy Commissioners (Samuel H. Banks, Michael H. Lane and Alfred R. De Angelus) already working within STTAS, which is one of five first-tier partners in the United States Customs Modernization (Automated Commercial Environment or ACE) and with Mr. Charles (Chuck) Winwood having been both the Deputy Commissioner and the Acting Commissioner working inside the Customs Service until he also joined the same firm, you might think that the GAO Report should have been filled with high praise for ACE.
We recall that under Mr. Winwood's within Customs leadership, while funding for Customs staffing was put on a back burner, and while official denials met Congressional questions about COBRA funding problems, Customs big Congressional coup was getting the funding for ACE. In his Valentine's Day visit to NY in 2001, Mr. Winwood was positively ecstatic with hopeful ACE projections (for the Customs Service).
What a surprise it was to read the sour GAO report about ACE! GAO refers to investment in ACE as a high risk endeavor. It appears that "Customs severely underestimated costs...Customs still lacks important acquisition management controls..Customs has recently decided to compress its time frame for delivering the system from 5 to 4 years..."
Maybe if GAO knew that Mr. Winwood was about to join the repository of other sterling Customs Headquarters alumnus already working within STTAS, perhaps the GAO report on ACE might have taken a different tone?
WITHIN THE FRAMEWORK OF SECURING OUR BORDERS
NTEU Customs Chapter leaders and their membership have been expressing complete disgust over the systems changes which are being rolled out under the guise of improving our border security. It seems as if every conceivable idea which serves the industry and trade interests is being taken down from its position on the bureaucratic shelf labeled "things we would never get away with," receiving fast repackaging as "border security," being given an appropriate spin by a servile media, and getting rolled out and accepted by a gullible public.
Is it any wonder that Customs role as a regulatory Agency has been so undermined over the years by the very industries and trade interests which Customs is supposed to be regulating? A large part of the problem is the same problem which has undermined many federal regulatory agencies. There is an erosive effect, if not an outright corrupting influence, to the revolving door which exists between federal regulatory agencies and the industries they are believed to be regulating. In some agencies, that revolving door is an outright open portal.
Customs is one sorry example of that revolving door or open portal. We have the ex-Deputy Commissioners cluster in STTAS covering the future movement of freight under ACE. Recall that their influence will be felt well beyond freight. Remember that the ACE being formed now is envisioned to eventually be THE technological targeting tool for all branches of Customs activity. That means the Enforcement and Passenger Branches as well as the Trade Branches. Winwood had been very clear about that in his Valentines Day '01 talk in NY.
We also still have the ex Customs Commissioner Carol Hallet as president of the ATA, which is the large umbrella lobbying group for all the domestic airlines in the US. And, as we learned in the MAY 13 WAKE UP CALL, another ex Customs Commissioner, George Weise was attending the Border Trade Alliance conference to hear Ridge and Bonner talk. He wasn't there as a Customs employee.
Under this Administration, Customs has decided to turn its back on your Union. There is very little contact between the Customs Commissioner and your National Union. There is virtually no contact between the Director of Homeland Security and your National Union. So your Union is being denied its legal rights and its long standing role to try and modify the carrier and industry friendly changes at negotiations.
It is time that all NTEU Chapters and their National Union increased their extremely frank discussions with the media and with Congressional reps. The latest Sword of Damocles hanging over your Union's head is the ever present, very real fear that Bush and Company are poised to take away our bargaining rights. If Bush decides to take away our bargaining rights, at least the American people will know that we lost those rights trying to alert the public to the real dangers to our border security.
It might very well be a losing battle. If we do not make the effort, we are complicit with our silence.
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