Maritime Security: Vessel Tracking Systems Provide Key Information, but the Need for Duplicate Data Should Be Reviewed, Report to the Committee on Homeland Security, House of Representatives   [open pdf - 1MB]

"U.S. ports, waterways, and coastal approaches are part of a system handling more than $700 billion in merchandise annually. With the many possible threats-including transportation and detonation of weapons of mass destruction, suicide attacks against vessels, and others-in the maritime domain, awareness of such threats could give the Coast Guard advance notice to help detect, deter, interdict, and defeat them and protect the U.S. homeland and economy. GAO was asked to review the Coast Guard's efforts to achieve awareness about activity in the maritime domain. This report addresses: the extent to which the Coast Guard has vessel tracking systems in place, can use these systems to track vessels that may be threats, and has coordinated the development and implementation of these systems. To answer these questions, GAO analyzed relevant statutes, regulations, and plans for vessel tracking systems, compared the roles of the planned systems, and interviewed appropriate officials. To ensure efficient use of resources, GAO recommends that the Commandant of the Coast Guard determine the extent to which duplicate vessel tracking information from LRIT and commercially provided long-range AIS is needed to accomplish Coast Guard missions, particularly in light of information already available through national technical means. DHS agreed with this recommendation."

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Government Accountability Office: http://www.gao.gov/
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Listed on April 22, 2009 [Critical Releases]