CORE-Observatory

MARITIME SECURITY – Vessel Tracking Systems Provide Key Information, but the Need for Duplicate Data Should Be Reviewed, GAO, March 2009 (CORE1065)

Summary: The US government considers identification and tracking of vessels at the US coastal areas, inland waterways and ports important for protecting the US homeland and economy from maritime terrorism. The US coastal guards use a range of identification and tracking solutions to detect any anomalies in maritime traffic that might suggest terrorist activity, such as transportation of weapons of mass destruction, use of explosive-laden boats as weapons, smuggling of weapons, drugs, people or other contraband. This GAO report reviews the US Coast Guards’ current and future solutions for monitoring the maritime traffic: long-range identification and tracking system (LRIT), long-range automatic identification system (AIS) and various radar and camera systems. The report elaborates strengths and weaknesses of these identification and tracking solutions and proposes a roadmap for further strengthening of the US coastal security. The future advancements should pay particular attention to tracking of small and non-commercial vessels and to reconsider ways to collect and analyze data that is relevant for coastal surveillance.  Offering background information about vessel-level tracking and tracing of maritime cargo movements, the report is a relevant source document for those CORE demonstrations that involve shipping of containers from, through and into the US. The report is available for download at: www.gao.gov/new.items/d09337.pdf.

MARITIME SECURITY – DHS Progress and Challenges in Key Areas of Port Security, GAO, July 2010 (CORE1064)

Summary: This GAO report analyses the progress the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has made in maritime supply chain security over the past five to ten years. The report raises problems that the DHS and its component agencies – the Coast Guard and the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) – have encountered regarding improvement of risk management, reduction of the vulnerability to threats of small vessels, implementation of security assessment in foreign ports, and the overall progress in supply chain security.  The report states that so far the Coast Guard has carried out risk assessments, but their results do not allow effective comparison and prioritization of risks across ports. The Coast guard has also identified points of vulnerability related to waterside attacks by small vessels, reached out to the general public to encourage recreational sailors to report anomalies, started tracking of small vessel, tested equipment to screen small vessels for nuclear material and conducted security maneuvers such as vessel escorts. Nevertheless, resource constraints and technical problems prevent the Coast Guard to protect the US coastline and maritime infrastructure from small-vessel threats effectively. Moreover, the Coast Guard has been assessing security in foreign ports, but the lack of the agency’s resources and certain countries’ reluctance to collaborate with the US authorities have slowed down the global security assessment. Finally, as for the general supply chain security, the DHS has been running the Secure Freight Initiative (SFI) in foreign ports to test the feasibility of the 100% scanning of US-bound shipping containers with non-intrusive inspection (NII) technologies and radiation detection equipment. The findings of the SFI pilots indicate that the 100% scanning is not a feasible policy because it would disrupt port logistics, damage international trade and raise healthy concerns, among other things. The report is available for download at: www.gao.gov/assets/660/659087.pdf.

AVIATION SECURITY – Progress Made, but Challenges Persist in Meeting the Screening Mandate for Air Cargo, GAO, March 2011 (CORE1062)

Summary: This GAO report reviews the recent progress of the US air cargo security scheme. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the main agency responsible for the US air cargo security, has been working towards the implementation of the 100% screening requirements of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007. So far TSA has set up a voluntary Certified Cargo Screening Program (CCSP) to allow trusted logistics operators to screen air cargo outside congested airports, launched a program for testing technologies for air cargo screening and expanding its program for approving explosive detection dog teams. The main obstacle in meeting the 100% screening requirement is that TSA has no reliable mechanism for verifying screening data from domestic foreign screening operators, which self-report the data. TSA also struggles in finding resources to employ as many transport security inspectors as it is required to oversee the Certified Cargo Screening Program. The report also points out that the current technologies that TSA has approved for cargo screening cannot screen large cargo units – pallets or unit loading devices (ULDs) – and this incapability reduces speed and cost-efficiency of air cargo screening. Overall, this GAO document provides a general outlook on state and challenges the US air cargo security regime, and therefore those CORE demonstrations that focus on the US-bound or US-origin air transport should consider the report as a key source material. The report is available for download at: www.gao.gov/assets/130/125678.pdf.

MARITIME SECURITY – Progress Made, but further actions needed to secure the maritime energy supply, GAO, August 2011 (CORE1061)

Summary: The GAO report discusses actions the US Coast Guard and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have taken to strengthen security of energy tankers and offshore energy infrastructure – that produces, transports, or receives oil and natural gas – from terrorist attacks. The report’s key recommendation is that the Coast Guard need to assess risks to all offshore facilities in the US territorial waters, to improve emergency response plans in case of oil spills and to design performance measures for emergency response activities. This GAO document focuses on a rather narrow field of critical infrastructure, the US maritime energy infrastructure, which is not in the CORE’s scope. The CORE’s risk cluster might consider useful the description how the Coast Guard has applied its Maritime Security Risk Analysis Model (MSRAM) to determine risk of the US maritime energy infrastructure. The report is available for download at: www.gao.gov/new.items/d11883t.pdf.

 

PORT SECURITY GRANT PROGRAM, Risk Model, Grant Management, and Effectiveness Measures Could Be Strengthened, GAO, November 2011 (CORE1060)

Summary: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has granted almost 1.7 billion USD to port security through the Port Security Grant Program (PSGP). The program is administered by a component agency of DHS, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). This GAO reports highlights some problems that the grant program has encountered. The first issue is that the risk assessment the FEMA uses to assess risk levels and assign grants to different ports does not take into account how security improvements affect the vulnerability of the ports to terrorist attacks. The report recommends the FEMA to design a vulnerability index that accounts for security improvement and to coordinate with the Coast Guard to get access to the most accurate vulnerability and threat information. The second issue with the grant program is that much of the grant money does not get used and translate into practical port security projects. The GAO report proposes acceleration of the grant granting process with updated administrative procedures and with more administrative staff.  Finally, this GAO report recommends the FEMA to develop performance metrics to assess its administration in relation to the Port Security Grant Program. The contents of this GAO report is not very relevant to CORE because no US seaports are partners in the project. The report is available for download at: www.gao.gov/assets/590/587142.pdf.

SUPPLY CHAIN SECURITY – CBP Needs to Enhance Its Guidance and Oversight of High-Risk Maritime Cargo Shipments, GAO, January 2015 (CORE1059)

Summary: The report reviews the US Customs and Border Protection’s (CPB) approach to risk assessment and targeting of maritime shipping containers. The report’s highlights that CPB does not have clear decision rules and reporting procedures to monitor percentage of containers that the risk assessment system flags high-risk and that get eventually examined. The source of this problem is that the CPB’s officials (targeters) may waive examination of the high-risk containers if the container (i) falls within a predetermined category (standard exception), or (ii) the targeters can articulate why the shipment should not be considered high risk. The targeting units have currently differing definitions of “standard exceptions” and differing views on what constitutes the “articulate reasons.” The GAO report recommends the CPB to clarify, harmonize and enforce the rules and the procedures for waiving the high-risk containers from examination. As for CORE, this report provides a detailed and recent outlook on the US maritime risk assessment and targeting scheme, and this information is going to support work of the CORE’s risk cluster and the demonstrations that involve shipping of sea containers into the US. The report is available for download at: www.gao.gov/assets/670/668098.pdf.

TRANSPORTATION SECURITY INFORMATION SHARING – Stakeholder Satisfaction Varies; TSA Could Take Additional Actions to Strengthen Efforts, GAO, June 2014 (CORE1020)

Summary: This report presents and discuses findings of a survey on stakeholders’ satisfaction to the US Transportation Security Administration’s security-related activities and to the way the TSA disseminates information about its activities. The survey’s scope is the overall US transportation system, covering aviation, rail, and highway modalities and transport of passengers and freight. Given the broad scope and the US-centricity of the survey, this report is not very relevant for CORE. The education and training cluster could anyhow learn how security-related user satisfaction surveys are done and how to establish a mechanism for collecting regular user feedback. The report is available for download at: http://gao.gov/assets/670/664350.pdf.

MARITIME SECURITY – Progress and Challenges with Selected Port Security Programs, GAO, June 2014 (CORE1019)

Summary: The report provides a comprehensive review of progress and challenges of various port security activities and programs the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has carried out since 9/11. In essence, the report is a summary and an update of a number of more detailed GAO reports on maritime supply chain security. The report states that needs to strengthen further its efforts on maritime domain awareness through intensified communication among maritime stakeholders. Regarding the US domestic port security, the report recommends DHS to reassess its Port Security Grant Program (PSGP) that allows ports to request funds for security projects and to improve quality of vulnerability assessment in US ports. The report also urges DHS to overcome challenges of risk-based targeting and scanning of US-bound shipping containers.  The findings and recommendations of this report help CORE consortium understand the current state of the US maritime security regime. This understanding benefits particularly the demonstrations of WP9 and WP14. Also educational and training as well as risk clusters of CORE may find the report’s information useful. The report is available for download at: www.gao.gov/assets/670/663784.pdf.

MARITIME SECURITY – Progress and Challenges in Key DHS Programs to Secure the Maritime Borders, GAO, November 2013 (CORE1018)

Summary: This report is a summary of previous GAO reports on US maritime supply chain security and border controls. The report focuses on progress and challenges in four main areas of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) activity on the maritime security. The report highlights that DHS and its component Coast Guard agency could improve its maritime domain awareness through increased information sharing and more advanced vessel-tracking systems. The Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in turn could step up its role in securing US-bound container traffic by conducting more frequent risk assessment audits in key foreign ports that ship cargo into the US and by fostering more close relationship with foreign authorities. The GAO report also recommends the Coast Guard to rethink its maritime surveillance, interdiction and security operations because current protection and support is not adequate in high priority locations. The report also calls for more collaboration and coordination among maritime authorities, port operators and ocean carriers. Finally, the report encourages the DHS to develop performance metrics and data collection procedures the agency uses to assess and monitor its maritime security programs and activities. This report gives a recent update on the US maritime security activities that might be helpful for CORE demonstrations and clusters. The report is available for download at: www.gao.gov/assets/660/659087.pdf.

 

MARITIME SECURITY – Ongoing U.S. Counterpiracy Efforts Would Benefit From Agency Assessments, GAO, June 2014 (CORE1017)

Summary: This GAO report explains how the US government agencies have fought sea piracy around the Horn of Africa and at the Gulf of Guinea since 2010. The report also describes the current state of sea piracy threats in these two areas, and it urges US government agencies to reconsider their resource allocations, strategies and tactics related to the counterpiracy efforts. The report points out that the number of annual piracy incidents at the Gulf of Guinea has surpassed the yearly incidents off the Horn of Africa. This shift in pirate attacks prompt changes in the US counterpiracy operations. However, as the report points out, the US government agencies responsible for the counterpiracy activities have not recently conducted reassessments of their actions, despite the changing conditions. The report therefore recommends the US government agencies to re-evaluate the counterpiracy efforts, especially at the Gulf of Guinea that is becoming the most important hotspot of the international sea piracy. This GAO report provides information about modern sea piracy from which CORE’s maritime demonstrations might benefit. The report is available for download at: www.gao.gov/assets/670/664268.pdf.