Maritime Security: The SAFE Port Act: Status and Implementation One Year Later, Statement of Stephen L. Caldwell, Director, Homeland Security and Justice Issues, Testimony before the Subcommittee on Border, Maritime and Global Counterterrorism; Committee on Homeland Security; House of Representatives [open pdf - 641KB]
"Because the safety and economic security of the United States depend in substantial part on the security of its 361 seaports, the United States has a vital national interest in maritime security. The Security and Accountability for Every Port Act (SAFE Port Act), modified existing legislation and created and codified new programs related to maritime security. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its U.S. Coast Guard, Transportation Security Administration, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection have key maritime security responsibilities. This testimony synthesizes the results of GAO's completed work and preliminary observations from GAO's ongoing work related to the SAFE Port Act pertaining to (1) overall port security, (2) security at individual facilities, and (3) cargo container security. To perform this work GAO visited domestic and overseas ports; reviewed agency program documents, port security plans, and post-exercise reports; and interviewed officials from the federal, state, local, private, and international sectors. GAO has made recommendations to DHS to develop strategic plans, better plan the use of its human capital, establish performance measures, and otherwise improve program operations. DHS has generally concurred with our recommendations and is making progress implementing them. We provided a draft of this information to DHS agencies and incorporated technical comments as appropriate."