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    Subject Term: "Port security"

    8 publications with a total of 18 open recommendations
    Director: Kimberly Gianopoulos
    Phone: (202) 512-8612

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To strengthen CBP's trade enforcement efforts, the Commissioner of CBP should direct the Office of Trade to include performance targets, when applicable, in addition to performance measures in its Priority Trade Issue strategic and annual plans.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Customs and Border Protection
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of September 2017, CBP indicated that CBP's Office of Trade has been performing biweekly reviews of current performance measure results and had scheduled a management planning meeting to closeout FY 2017. CBP indicated that these efforts will help establish the performance target baselines for FY 2018. CBP indicated that it plans to establish the FY 2018 priorities and Priority Trade Issue strategic and annual plans, but as of September 2017 has not provided timeframes for project completion.
    Recommendation: To strengthen CBP's trade enforcement efforts, the Commissioner of CBP should direct the Office of Trade and the Office of Field Operations to develop a long-term hiring plan that articulates how CBP will reach its staffing targets for trade positions set in the Homeland Security Act and the agency's resource optimization model.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Customs and Border Protection
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of September 2017, CBP indicated that, in order to develop a long-term hiring plan, CBP's Office of Trade (OT), Office of Field Operations (OFO), and Human Resources Management (HRM) established a working group of key stakeholders to define the hiring challenges related to the trade positions. CBP identified the key stakeholders for the working group and was planning its first meeting for the working group. In the interim, CBP indicated that it was actively addressing trade hiring gaps through a variety of mechanisms that includes building recruiting partnerships with universities as well as closely tracking and monitoring the hiring of import specialists from initial announcement through entrance on duty.
    Director: Rebecca Gambler
    Phone: (202) 512-8777

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that efforts to address smuggling through cross-border tunnels, ultralight aircraft, panga boats, and recreational vessels are effective and that managers and stakeholders have the information needed to make decisions, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Commissioner of CBP to assess and document how the alternative technological solutions being considered will fully meet operational needs related to ultralight aircraft.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS concurred with this recommendation and stated that it plans to assess and document requirements related to ultralight aircraft threats and how technological solutions will address these requirements as part of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations air domain awareness efforts. DHS plans to complete these efforts by July 2018.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that efforts to address smuggling through cross-border tunnels, ultralight aircraft, panga boats, and recreational vessels are effective and that managers and stakeholders have the information needed to make decisions, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Commissioner of CBP and the Director of ICE to jointly establish and monitor performance measures and targets related to cross-border tunnels.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS concurred with this recommendation and stated that U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will review available information and develop performance measures and targets as deemed appropriate by February 2018.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that efforts to address smuggling through cross-border tunnels, ultralight aircraft, panga boats, and recreational vessels are effective and that managers and stakeholders have the information needed to make decisions, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Commissioner of CBP to establish and monitor performance targets related to ultralight aircraft.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS concurred and stated that within U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Air and Marine Operations and the U.S. Border Patrol are developing a joint performance measure and targets for interdicting ultralight aircraft. DHS plans to complete these efforts by October 2017.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that efforts to address smuggling through cross-border tunnels, ultralight aircraft, panga boats, and recreational vessels are effective and that managers and stakeholders have the information needed to make decisions, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)-U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) tunnel committee to convene and establish standard operating procedures for addressing cross-border tunnels, including procedures for sharing information.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS did not concur with this recommendation. However, CBP and ICE agreed that strengthening operational procedures may be beneficial and stated that they will jointly review procedures and discuss revising and/or consolidating the procedures. We continue to believe that the recommendation is valid and will monitor DHS's efforts to address it.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that efforts to address smuggling through cross-border tunnels, ultralight aircraft, panga boats, and recreational vessels are effective and that managers and stakeholders have the information needed to make decisions, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Commandant of the Coast Guard, Commissioner of CBP, and the Director of ICE to establish and monitor Regional Coordinating Mechanisms performance measures and targets related to panga boat and recreational vessel smuggling.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS did not concur with this recommendation. DHS stated that that it believes that by establishing common terminology to address our first recommendation, the RECOMs will have more reliable, usable analyses to inform their maritime interdiction efforts. However, DHS did not believe that performance measures and targets related to smuggling by panga boats would provide the most useful strategic assessment of operations to prevent all illicit trafficking, regardless of area of operations or mode of transportation. DHS also cited the recent creation of the DHS Office of Policy, Strategy, and Plans that is to work with U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and other components and offices to better evaluate the effectiveness of all operations that work to prevent the illegal entry of goods and people into the country, as appropriate. We continue to believe that the recommendation is valid and will monitor DHS's efforts to address it.
    Director: Rebecca Gambler
    Phone: (202) 512-8777

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the usefulness of airport wait time data that CBP currently reports on its public website, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection to report airport wait time data for different categories of travelers.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Gregory C. Wilshusen
    Phone: (202) 512-6244

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance the cybersecurity of critical infrastructure in the maritime sector, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Commandant of the Coast Guard to work with federal and nonfederal partners to ensure that the maritime risk assessment includes cyber-related threats, vulnerabilities, and potential consequences.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In April 2017, USCG stated that the National Maritime Strategic Risk Assessment (NMSRA) was still being finalized. The agency stated that they expected this to be completed by July 2017. Once completed, we will analyze the results of the NMSRA in order to validate the extent to which its contents implement our recommendation.
    Recommendation: To enhance the cybersecurity of critical infrastructure in the maritime sector, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Commandant of the Coast Guard to use the results of the risk assessment to inform how guidance for area maritime security plans, facility security plans, and other securityrelated planning should address cyber-related risk for the maritime sector.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In April 2017, USCG stated that it had developed a draft Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular (NVIC) to provide guidance on assessment methods that assist vessel and facility owners and operators identify and address cybersecurity vulnerabilities. USCG stated that the draft NVIC would be published in the Federal Register for 60 days, to enable maritime stakeholders to review and provide comment. Once USCG provides us a final copy of the NVIC, we will analyze it to determine if it provides guidance for addressing cyber-related risk in the maritime sector.
    Recommendation: To enhance the cybersecurity of critical infrastructure in the maritime sector, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Commandant of the Coast Guard to work with federal and nonfederal stakeholders to determine if the Maritime Modal Sector Coordinating Council should be reestablished to better facilitate stakeholder coordination and information sharing across the maritime environment at the national level.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In April 2017, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) stated that the tasking for the National Maritime Security Advisory Committee to explore the issue of information sharing mechanisms in regards to cyber information had been completed. However, USCG did not mention any decision related to the reestablishment of the sector coordinating council.
    Recommendation: To help ensure the effective use of Port Security Grant Program funds to support the program's stated mission of addressing vulnerabilities in the maritime port environment, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the FEMA Administrator, in coordination with the Coast Guard, to develop procedures for officials at the field review level (i.e., captains of the port) and national review level (i.e., the National Review Panel and FEMA) to consult cybersecurity subject matter experts from the Coast Guard and other relevant DHS components, if applicable, during the review of cybersecurity grant proposals for funding.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2017, FEMA officials stated they would provide GAO an update on the status of the recommendation by July 2017. Once provided, we will analyze the information we receive and update status of implementation efforts.
    Recommendation: To help ensure the effective use of Port Security Grant Program funds to support the program's stated mission of addressing vulnerabilities in the maritime port environment, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the FEMA Administrator, in coordination with the Coast Guard, to use any information on cyberrelated threats, vulnerabilities, and consequences identified in the maritime risk assessment to inform future versions of funding guidance for grant applicants and reviews at the field and national levels.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2017, FEMA officials stated they would provide GAO an update on the status of the recommendation by July 2017. Once provided, we will analyze the information received and update status of implementation efforts.
    Director: Irving, Susan J
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In light of declining discretionary budgets, to reduce or eliminate the reliance of the AQI program on taxpayer funding, Congress should consider allowing USDA to set AQI fees to recover the aggregate estimated costs of AQI services--thereby allowing the Secretary of Agriculture to set fee rates to recover the full costs of the AQI program.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of March 2017, Congress had not passed legislation to give the Secretary of Agriculture authority to set fee rates to fully recover the aggregate costs of agricultural quarantine inspection (AQI) services, as GAO suggested in March 2013. In the 114th Congress, the Savings, Accountability, Value, and Efficiency Act of 2015 was introduced in the House and referred to the committees of jurisdiction. The act would require the Secretary of Agriculture to (1) study whether the amount of AQI fees collected cover the aggregate costs of AQI services, and (2) report to Congress the results of the study and any recommendations for ensuring that fees covered costs. The act would not authorize the Secretary of Agriculture to set fee rates to recover the full costs of the AQI program. The current AQI fee authority does not permit the U.S. Department of Agriculture to set AQI fees to recover the aggregate estimated costs of AQI services. Authorizing the Secretary of Agriculture to set fee rates to recover the full costs of the AQI program would save the federal government money by reducing the program's reliance on U.S. Customs and Border Protection's annual Salaries and Expenses appropriation.
    Recommendation: Congress should consider amending USDA's authorization to assess AQI fees on bus companies, private vessels, and private aircraft and include in those fees the costs of AQI services for the passengers on those buses, private vessels, and private aircraft.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of March 2017, Congress had not passed legislation to give the Secretary of Agriculture authority to assess agricultural quarantine inspection (AQI) fees on private vessels, private aircraft, and commercial buses and include in those fees the costs of AQI services for the passengers on those vehicles. In the 114th Congress, the Savings, Accountability, Value, and Efficiency Act of 2015 was introduced in the House and referred to the committees of jurisdiction. The act would require the Secretary of Agriculture to (1) study whether the amount of AQI fees collected cover the aggregate costs of AQI services, and (2) report to Congress the results of the study and any recommendations for ensuring that fees covered costs. The current AQI fee authority does not permit the U.S. Department of Agriculture to assess AQI fees on private vessels, private aircraft and commerical buses and to recover, through those fees, the costs of AQI services for the passengers on those vehicles.
    Director: Caldwell, Stephen L
    Phone: (202)512-9610

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better ensure consistent implementation of and accountability for DHS's resilience policy, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Assistant Secretary for Policy to develop an implementation strategy for this new policy that identifies the following characteristics and others that may be deemed appropriate: (1) steps needed to achieve results, by developing priorities, milestones, and performance measures; (2) responsible entities, their roles compared with those of others, and mechanisms needed for successful coordination; and (3) sources and types of resources and investments associated with the strategy, and where those resources and investments should be targeted.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In the 60-day letter provided in January 2013, DHS indicated that the Resilience Integration Team (RIT) was developing a draft implementation plan to be circulated among relevant stakeholders for review. On 10/30/13, we notified DHS that we would like to see a copy of the resilience policy implementation plan (if developed), or any other related documentation if the plan is still in development. We were informed later that day that a draft plan had been developed, and DHS needed to confirm its status. In May of 2015, we were told again that a draft plan had been developed but never finalized. As of August 2015, DHS's Policy Office is looking into the status of plan development. We await their response. DHS response still pending as of 10/4/16.
    Director: Maurer, Diana C
    Phone: (202) 512-9627

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help reduce the risk of duplication by strengthening DHS's administration and oversight of these programs, and to better identify and reduce the risk of duplication through improved data collection and coordination, the FEMA Administrator should take steps, when developing non disaster grant management system (ND Grants) and responding to the May 2011 FEMA report recommendations on data requirements, to ensure that FEMA collects project information with the level of detail needed to better position the agency to identify any potential unnecessary duplication within and across the four grant programs, weighing any additional costs of collecting these data.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Directorate of Emergency Preparedness and Response: Federal Emergency Management Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of March 2017, FEMA had taken steps to address GAO's February 2012 recommendation, but actions were not complete. For example, in fiscal year 2014, FEMA modified its existing grants data system to capture more robust project-level data--such as project budget data--for the Homeland Security Grant Program, which includes the State Homeland Security Grant Program and the Urban Areas Security Initiative. However, FEMA stated that it will not be able to use ND grants to cross-check for redundant projects across all preparedness grant programs until project-based applications are deployed for all preparedness grant programs in the system. For example, Port Security Grant Program and Transit Security Grant Program applications are not housed in the legacy grants data system that was modified to collect more specific project data. To mitigate this issue, FEMA reported that its program officers manually cross-check for redundant projects across all preparedness grant programs. Further, grant program policies call for applicants to coordinate across all preparedness grant stakeholders to help ensure unity of effort and avoid redundant investment proposals. Although future upgrades over several years to ND Grants are planned to eliminate duplication during the application process, FEMA believes the most efficient use of resources is to use current legacy systems to identify duplication in the meantime. Using this interim approach to collect more specific project-level data during the grant application process should help FEMA strengthen the administration and oversight of its grant programs until FEMA implements its long-term solution to upgrade ND Grants. However, implementing ND Grants as previously planned would better position FEMA to identify potentially unnecessary duplication within and across grant programs, as ND Grants was designed to have greater project-level enhancement capability than the legacy system.
    Director: Caldwell, Stephen L
    Phone: (202) 512-9610

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To facilitate better agency understanding of the potential need and feasibility of expanding electronic verification of seafarers, to improve data collection and sharing, and to comply with the Inflation Adjustment Act, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Commandant of the Coast Guard and Commissioner of CBP to jointly establish an interagency process for sharing and reconciling records of absconder and deserter incidents occurring at U.S. seaports.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) concurred and stated that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Coast Guard would begin to assess the appropriate offices within each component involved in the review and to establish a working group to evaluate the current reporting process within each component, and between CBP and Coast Guard. Further, DHS noted that it was working to co-locate the Coast Guard's ICC Coastwatch and CBP's National Targeting Center-Passenger and that this would help to eliminate many of the absconder-and deserter- reporting inconsistencies GAO identified between Coast Guard and CBP. In January 2013, CBP and Coast Guard officials reported that they had studied the CBP and Coast Guard data and found that multiple factors had likely contributed to the data variances, including differences in definitions for absconders/deserters among CBP and Coast Guard field units, and the method in which field units had recorded and reported absconder and deserter incidents. Officials reported that the two agencies were planning to develop an interagency memorandum of agreement (MOA) with field guidance for reporting absconder and deserter incidents. Officials reported that they expected to finalize and implement the MOA and field guidance by November 30, 2013. In July 2014, CBP described a new process in place for interagency data reconciliation, reporting that this action was taken in lieu of previously discussed plans to develop an interagency MOU. In December 2015, CBP reported that it expected to complete the effort by March 2016. In March 2016, CBP report that it expected to complete the effort by September 2016. CBP officials reported that the Coast Guard and CBP determined that the absconder data variances were caused by the agencies using different reporting criteria. Officials reported that the two agencies were preparing a memo and guidance to issue to field units by August 31, 2016. Officials reported that the recommendation would be fully implemented by September 30, 2016. In September 2016, CBP reported that it expected to implement the effort by December 31, 2016. In December 2016, CBP reported that the agency had drafted a memo to coincide with new Coast Guard procedure for conducting asymmetric migration vetting and deconfliction. CBP was also working to require all ports of entry to report all maritime asymmetric migration events directly to Coastwatch or a Targeting Framework event. However, on October 18, 2016, the DHS Deputy Secretary issued Department Policy Regarding Investigative Data and Event Deconfliction Policy Directive 045-04 that sets forth DHS policy for investigative data and event deconfliction and the use of related deconfliction systems in the course of certain law enforcement activity. As a result of the newly published Directive, DHS requires that CBP develop and implement related policy, by January 17, 2017. The policy directive requires DHS components to develop a policy applicable to components having equities in Investigative Data and Event Deconfliction. The policy will focus on more effective coordination of investigative activity to ensure officer safety by identifying links between ongoing criminal investigations. The Policy also requires that CBP components, at a minimum, conduct deconfliction thru the Deconfliction and Information Coordination Endeavor, Regional Information Sharing Systems Officer Safety Event Deconfliction System, Secure Automated Fast Event Tracking Network or Case Explorer systems. CBP and Coast Guard are now looking at a directive which makes it a port responsibility to deconflict case related information. The timeline for drafting and finalizing that directive is January 2017. Because of this change in direction, CBP and Coast Guard are requesting an extension to March 31, 2017 to finalize and disseminate the new policy.