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.
Full review: This document has only a limited relevance for CORE because the consortium does not involve any US seaport operators. The demonstrations of WP9 and WP14 that cover shipping of goods from and into the US through local seaports might find it useful to learn about how US ports can apply for funds to improve the security. Otherwise, other demonstrations do not benefit much of this information. However, the CORE’s risk cluster can benefit from the rather detailed description of the risk analysis model in the report’s Appendix II.
- Maritime Security: Actions Needed to Assess and Update Plan And Enhance Collaboration among Partners Involved in Countering Piracy off the Horn of Africa. GAO-10-856. Washington, D.C.: September 24, 2010.
- Critical Infrastructure Protection: Update to National Infrastructure Protection Plan Includes Increased Emphasis on Risk Management and Resilience. GAO-10-296. Washington, D.C.: March 5, 2010.
- Quadrennial Homeland Security Review: 2010 Reports Addressed Many Required Elements, but Budget Planning Not Yet Completed. GAO-11-153R. Washington, D.C.: December 16, 2010.
Additional keywords: Critical infrastructure protection (CIP), maritime security and security of supply, Port Security Grant Program (PSGP)