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Report to the Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, and Fisheries, 

Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, U.S. Senate:

November 2002:

Coast Guard:

Strategy Needed for Setting and Monitoring Levels of Effort for All 



GAO Highlights: 

November 2000:


Strategy Needed for Setting and Monitoring Levels of Effort for All 


Highlights of GAO-03-155, a report to Subcommittee on Oceans, 

and Fisheries, Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and 

Why GAO Did This Study: 

The September 11th attacks affected the scope of activities of many 


agencies, including the Coast Guard. Homeland security, a long-

standing but 

relatively small part of the Coast Guard’s duties, took center stage. 


the Coast Guard remains responsible for many other missions, such as 


stem the flow of drugs and illegal migration, protecting important 


grounds, and responding to marine pollution. GAO was asked to review 


Coast Guard’s current efforts and future plans for balancing resource 


among its many missions.  


What GAO Found: 

As the Coast Guard adjusts to its new post–September 11th 

environment, it 

will likely take several years to determine how best to balance 


out nonsecurity missions alongside new security responsibilities. 

In recent 

months the Coast Guard has increased its level of effort in 


activities such as drug interdiction and fisheries patrols, but some 

of these 

activities remain below earlier levels.  For example, patrol boats 


used for drug interdiction are still being used for harbor security 


Substantial increases in nonsecurity activities are also unlikely in 

the near 

future, because the mission-related initiatives proposed in the 

fiscal year 

2003 budget are directed primarily at security missions. Most notably, 


of the proposed 1,330 new staff would replace reserve staff activated 


September 11th.   

The Coast Guard has not yet developed a strategy for showing, 

even in general 

terms, the levels of effort it plans for its various missions 

in future years. 

Understandably, the Coast Guard’s attention has been focused on 


added security responsibilities.  However, developing a more 


strategy is now important, as a way to inform the Congress about 

the extent 

to which the Coast Guard’s use of its resources--cutters, boats, 


and personnel--will allow it to continue meeting its many 


Also important is designing a way to keep the Congress informed 

about its 

progress in achieving this balance.  The Coast Guard has 

considerable data 

from which to develop progress reports, but this information 

is currently 

in disparate forms and documents.


[See PDF for image]

Coast Guard patrol boats like this one, formerly used mainly 

in activities 

such as intercepting drugs or illegal immigrants, were still 

being used 

extensively for harbor security patrols in mid-2002. 

Source: U.S. Coast Guard.

[End of figure]

GAO recommends that the Coast Guard:

* Develop a longer-term strategy that outlines how the Coast 

Guard sees its 

resources being distributed across its various missions, and 

a time frame for 

achieving this desired balance.

* Develop and implement a useful reporting format that allows 

the Congress 

to understand and assess the progress in implementing this 


* Reexamine recommendations from past studies of the agency’s 

operations as 

a way to identify and improve operational efficiencies and 

help leverage 


The Coast Guard reviewed a draft of this report but did not 

take a formal 

position on GAO’s recommendations.

To view the full report, including the scope and methodology, 

click on 

the link above.

For more information, contact JayEtta Hecker at 

(202) 512-2834 or


Results in Brief:


Expanded Security Activities Primarily Affected Law Enforcement and 

Marine Safety Missions:

Funding Increases Proposed in Fiscal Year 2003 Budget May Not Have A 

Major Effect on Nonsecurity Missions:

Opportunities for Increased Operational Efficiency Could Help Meet 

Mission Responsibilities:

Framework for Monitoring Levels of Effort and Results Has Two Main 




Agency Comments and Our Evaluation:


Appendix I: Objectives, Scope, and Methodology:

Appendix II: GAO Contacts and Staff Acknowledgements:

GAO Contacts:

Staff Acknowledgments:

Tables :

Table 1: Description of Selected Coast Guard Ships and Aircraft:

Table 2: Allocation of Proposed New Personnel by Program Area, Fiscal 

Year 2003 Budget Request:

Table 3: Examples of Coast Guard Partnering in Individual Ports:

Table 4: Types of Measures for Monitoring Agency Missions and 

Table 5: Examples of Measures Currently Developed by the Coast Guard:


Figure 1: Distribution of Resource Hours Spent Aboard High-and Medium-

Endurance Cutters before and after September 11th:

Figure 2: Distribution of Resource Hours Spent Aboard 82-, 87-, and 

Foot Patrol Boats before and after September 11th:


November 12, 2002:

The Honorable John F. Kerry


The Honorable Olympia J. Snowe

Ranking Minority Member

Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, and Fisheries

Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

United States Senate:

The aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attacks affected the 

scope of activities for many federal agencies. This is especially true 

of the United States Coast Guard. The attacks prompted the nation to 

evaluate its vulnerabilities to terrorism, and this evaluation has 

focused considerable attention on the nation’s vast and sprawling 

network of ports and waterways. Ports and waterways are particularly 

vulnerable because they are both a potential target for a terrorist 

attack and an avenue for tools of destruction to make their way into 

the country. While homeland security has long been one of the Coast 

Guard’s missions, the agency has spent the past decade focusing on 

other major national objectives, such as the nation’s attempts to 

reduce the flow of drugs, monitor and protect important fishing 

grounds, and respond effectively to marine pollution.[Footnote 1] 

September 11th drastically changed the nation’s priorities, but it did 

so by adding to the Coast Guard’s many responsibilities rather than by 

replacing responsibilities that were already in place.

The impact of these changes on the Coast Guard, and consideration of 

how to manage them, have been a matter of intense congressional 

attention. For example, proposals to move the Coast Guard from its 

current organizational home within the Department of Transportation 

(DOT) to a new Department of Homeland Security have generated questions 

about the Coast Guard’s ability to meet its new security 

responsibilities while still dealing with its other more traditional 

roles. You asked us to examine how the Coast Guard’s various missions 

have fared since September 11th. As agreed with your staff, we focused 

our work on the following four questions:

* What nonsecurity missions were most affected by the September 11th 

terrorist attacks, and what are the most recent levels of effort for 

these missions?

* To what extent would proposed funding for new initiatives in the 

President’s fiscal year 2003 budget request allow the Coast Guard to 

increase levels of effort for nonsecurity missions, while addressing 

increased security responsibilities?

* Are there operational efficiencies that the Coast Guard can consider 

as a way to help accomplish all of its missions in 2003 and beyond?

* What framework would help the Congress monitor levels of effort and 

results attained for all Coast Guard missions?

To answer these questions, we conducted such activities as reviewing 

Coast Guard documents and records and visiting Coast Guard 

installations to determine how activities were being affected. We 

conducted our work at Coast Guard headquarters and at five of the Coast 

Guard’s nine districts. The districts we visited spanned three coasts-

-East, West, and Gulf. Our work, which was conducted from December 2001 

through October 2002, was done in accordance with generally accepted 

governmental auditing standards. A detailed description of our scope 

and methodology appears in appendix I.

Results in Brief:

The September 11th attacks primarily affected levels of effort in two 

nonsecurity missions: law enforcement (such as drug and migrant 

interdiction and fisheries enforcement) and marine safety (such as 

pollution-related exercises, inspections of certain types of vessels 

and facilities, and boating safety). For law enforcement activities, 

which are carried out extensively with multiple-mission resources such 

as cutters, patrol boats, aircraft, and small boats, the effect can be 

partly seen in shifting usage patterns for these resources. Coast Guard 

data show that the number of hours spent on law enforcement by cutters 

and patrol boats, aircraft, and smaller boats dropped from about 67,000 

hours for the quarter ending June 30, 2001, to about 39,000 hours for 

the quarter ending December 31, 2001. By the quarter ending September 

30, 2002, total hours spent for law enforcement by these resources had 

risen to about 62,500, near the pre-September 11th level. Such 

aggregate data provide a useful indication of overall effort, but they 

do not tell the entire story, particularly for individual Coast Guard 

locations. Our visits to Coast Guard sites turned up examples in which 

law enforcement activities remained below pre-September 11th levels. 

For example, in the Northeast, some patrol boats formerly used for 

fisheries patrols were conducting security patrols, and as a result, 

fisheries patrols were 40-50 percent lower than in previous years. The 

Coast Guard does not have data that provide a similar overview of how 

marine safety activities were affected, but our visits to individual 

sites identified instances in which the level of these activities was 

reduced after September 11th and remained reduced as of mid-2002. At 

local marine safety offices, for example, officials said they had 

reduced planning and outreach functions, pollution and planning 

exercises, and selected safety inspections of fishing and other 


Proposed funding increases for new mission-related initiatives in the 

Coast Guard’s fiscal year 2003 request submitted as part of the 

President’s budget would likely not have a major effect on the level of 

effort for nonsecurity missions, according to Coast Guard officials. 

The administration’s fiscal year 2003 budget request for the Coast 

Guard proposes $213 million for new initiatives, $188 million of which 

would be directed at security missions; the remaining $25 million is 

for search and rescue initiatives and enhancements to the vessel 

traffic information system. The proposed security initiatives would add 

1,330 new staff, many of whom would replace reserve personnel activated 

after September 11th, and acquire more than 80 small patrol boats for 

security patrols. The Coast Guard is still working out plans for using 

new staff, but Coast Guard field personnel said that because the 

positions are largely expected to be replacements for reservists who 

would return to civilian status, opportunities to increase security 

staffing levels and thereby free up other staff for nonsecurity 

missions would be limited. Moreover, the Coast Guard’s preliminary 

allocation of cutter, patrol boat, and aircraft hours for fiscal year 

2003 largely mirrors the allocation for fiscal year 2002--a further 

indication that the Coast Guard does not plan major changes in the 

level of effort for nonsecurity missions in the short term. The Coast 

Guard, which so far has been understandably focused on developing and 

implementing its expanded homeland security missions, has not yet 

devised a plan for how much of its resources will be devoted to 

security-related and nonsecurity-related missions in the long term.

A number of opportunities to improve operational efficiency are 

potentially available for helping the Coast Guard with the challenges 

it faces in accomplishing all its missions and tasks in 2003 and 

beyond. In the past, we and others have made recommendations for 

improving the Coast Guard’s operational efficiency. Many of them--such 

as examining whether dockside monitoring by other federal or state 

agencies can substitute for part of the Coast Guard’s at-sea boardings 

of commercial fishing vessels--still have relevance in the Coast 

Guard’s new environment. In particular, opportunities may exist for 

enhanced partnering with federal, state, and local agencies, as well as 

private entities, helping all parties to leverage limited resources and 

achieve efficiencies. For example, the Coast Guard is successfully 

partnering with the State of California and the Ports of Los Angeles 

and Long Beach to operate the area’s vessel traffic-monitoring system. 

Such partnering may be possible in other locations where the Coast 

Guard operates such systems. Although some mechanisms are in place to 

help ports share information about the various kinds of successful 

partnering projects, these mechanisms are not working effectively.

Although the Coast Guard generates considerable information about its 

mission activities, this information in its current form does not 

provide a framework the Congress and the Coast Guard can use to monitor 

the agency’s levels of effort and results attained for security and 

nonsecurity missions. As part of the proposed legislation creating the 

Department of Homeland Security, the Congress is currently considering 

a requirement for periodic reports about the levels of effort being 

directed at nonsecurity missions. Our current review, along with past 

reviews of other agencies, indicates that a useful framework for 

monitoring these levels involves two main components. The first is a 

strategy that identifies, at least in general terms, the levels of 

effort the Coast Guard projects for its various missions in future 

years, along with a time frame for achieving these planned levels. This 

strategy is not yet in place, and as a result the Congress does not 

know what the Coast Guard believes the appropriate levels of effort 

should be to achieve these missions over the longer term in this new 

operating environment. The second component is having adequate 

information for assessing progress in achieving these levels of effort 

and the desired results. Several kinds of quantitative measures are 

needed: inputs (such as budget allocation by mission); outputs (such as 

the utilization of Coast Guard cutters, or the number of fisheries 

patrols that are conducted); and outcomes (such as the percentage of 

distress calls that result in a successful rescue). To help interpret 

these measures correctly, it is also important for the Coast Guard to 

provide explanations of changes in its strategy and other pertinent 

developments. For example, a reduction in expenditures might occur for 

different reasons, such as a reduced effort or discovery of a way to 

accomplish the same task with fewer resources.

We are recommending that the Coast Guard develop (1) a longer-term 

strategy that outlines how the Coast Guard sees its resources--cutters, 

boats, aircraft, and personnel--being distributed across its various 

missions, as well as a time frame for achieving this desired balance 

among missions; (2) a useful reporting format allowing the Congress to 

understand and assess the Coast Guard’s progress in implementing this 

strategy; and (3) a systematic approach for reviewing past 

recommendations for operational efficiencies and sharing information 

about successful partnering projects. The Coast Guard reviewed a draft 

of this report, but did not take a formal position on GAO’s 



The Coast Guard, a Department of Transportation agency, is involved in 

seven main mission or program areas: (1) enforcement of maritime laws 

and treaties; (2) search and rescue; (3) aids to navigation; (4) marine 

environmental protection; (5) marine safety and security (including 

homeland security);[Footnote 2] (6) defense readiness; and (7) ice 

operations. The Coast Guard has two major commands that are responsible 

for the overall mission performance in the Pacific and Atlantic areas. 

These commands are further organized into a total of nine districts, 

which in turn are organized into a number of groups, marine safety 

offices, and air stations. Groups provide more localized command and 

control of field units, such as small boat stations, and patrol boats. 

Marine safety offices are located at coastal ports and on inland 

waterways, and they are responsible for the overall safety and security 

of maritime activities and for environmental protection in their 

geographic areas. To accomplish these varying missions and 

responsibilities, the Coast Guard operates a variety of equipment (see 

table 1), including high-and medium-endurance cutters,[Footnote 3] 

patrol boats, and aircraft.

Table 1: Description of Selected Coast Guard Ships and Aircraft:

Type of asset: Ships.

Type of asset: 378-foot high-endurance

cutter; Number: Ships: 12; Ships: [Empty]; Description: Ships: This is 

the largest multipurpose cutter in the fleet. It has a planned crew 

size of 167, a speed of 29 knots, and a cruising range of 14,000 

nautical miles. The Coast Guard operates it for about 185 days a year, 

and it can support helicopter operations.

Type of asset: 270-foot medium-endurance cutter; Number: Ships: 13; 

Ships: [Empty]; Description: Ships: This cutter has a planned crew size 

of 100, a speed of 19.5 knots, and a cruising range of 10,250 nautical 

miles. The Coast Guard operates it for about 185 days a year, and it 

can support helicopter operations.

Type of asset: 210-foot medium-endurance cutter; Number: Ships: 14; 

Ships: [Empty]; Description: Ships: This cutter has a planned crew size 

of 75, a speed of 18 knots, and a cruising range of 6,100 nautical 

miles. The Coast Guard operates it for about 185 days a year, and it 

can support operations of short-range recovery helicopters.

Type of asset: 110-foot patrol boat; Number: Ships: 49; Ships: [Empty]; 

Description: Ships: This patrol boat has a planned crew size of 16, a 

speed of 29 knots, and a cruising range of 3,928 nautical miles. The 

Coast Guard operates most of these craft for about 1,800 hours a year.

Type of asset: 87-foot patrol boats; Number: Ships: 50; Ships: [Empty]; 

Description: Ships: This patrol boat has a planned crew size of 10, a 

speed of 29 knots, and a cruising range of 900 nautical miles. The 

Coast Guard operates most of these craft for about 1,800 hours a year.

Type of asset: Total; Number: Ships: 141[A]; Ships: [Empty]; 

Description: Ships: [Empty].

Type of asset: Aircraft; Number: Ships: [Empty]; Ships: [Empty]; 

Description: Ships: [Empty].

Type of asset: HC-130 long-range surveillance airplane; Number: Ships: 

27; Ships: [Empty]; Description: Ships: This is the largest aircraft in 

the Coast Guard’s fleet. It has a planned crew size of seven, a speed 

of 290 knots, and an operating range of about 2,600 nautical miles. The 

Coast Guard operates most of these aircraft for about 800 hours every 


Type of asset: HU-25 medium-range surveillance airplane; Number: Ships: 

25; Ships: [Empty]; Description: Ships: This is the fastest aircraft in 

the Coast Guard’s fleet. It has a planned crew size of five, a speed of 

410 knots, and an operating range of 2,045 nautical miles. The Coast 

Guard generally operates these aircraft for about 800 hours a year.

Type of asset: HH-60J medium-range recovery helicopter; Number: Ships: 

42; Ships: [Empty]; Description: Ships: This helicopter is capable of 

flying 300 miles off shore, remaining on scene for 45 minutes, hoisting 

six people on board, and returning to its point of origin. The Coast 

Guard operates most for about 700 hours a year. It has a planned crew 

size of four, a maximum speed of 160 knots, and a maximum range of 700 

nautical miles.

Type of asset: HH-65 short-range recovery helicopter; Number: Ships: 

95; Ships: [Empty]; Description: Ships: This helicopter is capable of 

flying 150 miles off shore. It has a crew allowance of three, a maximum 

speed of 165 knots, a maximum range of 400 nautical miles, and a 

maximum endurance of 3.5 hours. The Coast Guard operates most for about 

645 hours a year.

Type of asset: Total; Number: Ships: 200[B]; Ships: [Empty]; 

Description: Ships: [Empty].

[A] Total does not include icebreakers or buoy tenders but does include 

a 213-foot medium-endurance cutter that was commissioned in 1944, a 

230-foot medium-endurance cutter that was commissioned in 1942, and a 

282-foot medium-endurance cutter that was commissioned in 1999, 

following 26 years in service with the U.S. Navy. :

[B] Total does not include three support aircraft (VC-4, C-20, and C-

37) and eight leased MH-68A helicopters used in support of the counter-

drug mission.

Source: Developed by GAO from data supplied by the Coast Guard.

[End of table]

A federal agency that is also part of the armed services, the Coast 

Guard has both military and civilian positions. At the end of fiscal 

year 2001, the agency had over 41,000 total full-time positions--about 

36,100 military and about 5,700 civilians. The Coast Guard also has 

about 8,000 reservists who support the national military strategy and 

provide additional operational support and surge capacity during 

emergencies, such as natural disasters. Also, about 35,000 volunteer 

auxiliary personnel assist in a wide range of activities, ranging from 

search and rescue to boating safety education.

Added homeland security requirements pose a challenge to the Coast 

Guard as it works to balance all of its missions. While maritime 

homeland security is not necessarily a new mission, the Coast Guard’s 

level of effort in this mission prior to September 11th had been 

minimal when compared with most of its other missions.[Footnote 4] The 

events of September 11th caused the Coast Guard to direct efforts 

increasingly into this area, highlighted by the Coast Guard’s 

establishing a new program area: Ports, Waterways, and Coastal 

Security. Additionally, legislation now under consideration by both 

houses of Congress would mandate that the Coast Guard take on even 

greater homeland security responsibilities.[Footnote 5] For example, 

some of the additional responsibilities the Coast Guard would be 

required to perform if the legislation passes include conducting port 

vulnerability assessments, establishing local port security 

committees, assessing antiterrorism measures at foreign ports, 

conducting antiterrorism drills, and maintaining harbor patrols.

Expanded Security Activities Primarily Affected Law Enforcement and 

Marine Safety Missions:

Taken together, the available data and additional information provided 

by Coast Guard field personnel about levels of effort indicate that 

activities in two nonsecurity missions--law enforcement and marine 

safety--were the most affected by the Coast Guard’s shift of resources 

to security functions after September 11th. For law enforcement, data 

show that the Coast Guard shifted the use of multiple-mission resources 

like cutters and patrol boats to security efforts immediately after 

September 11th. Specifically, the data show a sharp decline in the 

number of hours these resources spent in law enforcement after 

September 11th, followed by a return to more traditional levels, though 

the results vary by type of resource and continue to be affected when 

the Coast Guard must respond to heightened security levels. For marine 

safety, which is largely carried out without using these resources, 

there are no similar data for making comparisons in the levels of 

effort. However, during our visits at individual Coast Guard sites, we 

were provided many examples showing that as of mid-2002, expanded 

security responsibilities were still affecting levels of effort for 

both missions. Resource levels in two other nonsecurity missions--aids 

to navigation and search and rescue--were also temporarily affected by 

September 11th, but according to Coast Guard personnel, overall effects 

on mission performance from these changes were minimal.

Initial Effect of September 11th on Resource Deployment Was 


For the Coast Guard, the events of September 11th produced a dramatic 

shift in resources used for certain missions. The Coast Guard responded 

quickly to the attacks with a number of significant steps to ensure 

that the nation’s ports remained open and operating. The Coast Guard 

relocated vessels, aircraft, and personnel--especially those 

associated with law enforcement--to enhance security activities. For 

example, nearly all cutters that were conducting offshore patrols for 

drug, immigration, and fisheries law enforcement were recalled and 

repositioned at entrances to such ports as Boston, Los Angeles, Miami, 

New York, and San Francisco. Smaller patrol boats and motor lifeboats, 

which had been used for search and rescue, fisheries patrols, and other 

nonsecurity functions, were used to conduct security patrols within 

port facilities, becoming the port’s “cop on the beat,” according to 

Coast Guard officials.

This change can be seen in the mission hours logged by multiple-mission 

resources. The Coast Guard does not have an agencywide measure, such as 

a mission-by-mission breakdown of how all employees spend their time, 

that would provide a comprehensive picture of how nonsecurity missions 

were affected throughout the entire organization. The best quantitative 

picture of how missions were affected can be obtained from data about 

how the Coast Guard’s multi-mission resources, such as cutters, boats, 

and aircraft, were used before and after September 11th. These 

resources are used in a variety of nonsecurity missions, and they 

figured heavily in the Coast Guard’s homeland security 

response.[Footnote 6]

The resource-hour data show a large rise in homeland security activity 

and a drop in several other missions, especially law enforcement. 

Overall, the data for all types of resources (cutters and patrol boats, 

other boats, and aircraft) showed that homeland security activities 

accounted for 2 percent of total hours during the quarter prior to 

September 11th (April-June 2001). For the quarter in which September 

11th occurred (July-September), the figure for homeland security rose 

to nearly 16 percent, and in the subsequent quarter it more than 

doubled, to 37 percent. Law enforcement was the nonsecurity mission 

most affected as a consequence of this rapid rise in homeland security 

activities, according to Coast Guard personnel. Law enforcement 

accounted for 28 percent of all mission hours from April through June 

2001, 26 percent from July through September, and 15 percent from 

October through December. Total law enforcement resource hours for the 

various types of resources declined from about 67,000 from April 

through June 2001 to about 39,000 from October through December. Here 

are resource-by-resource breakdowns:

* For Coast Guard high-and medium-endurance cutters, the months 

immediately before and after September 11th showed a dramatic shift 

toward security-related activities and away from law enforcement. 

Typically, 73 to 88 percent of these cutters’ resource hours have been 

spent on law enforcement activities, compared with less than 3 percent 

on homeland security. In the second quarter of fiscal year 2001 

(January-March 2001), for example, they logged about 25,700 resource 

hours in law enforcement activities, compared with less than 1,000 

hours in security-related activities and about 4,600 hours in all other 

missions, including such activities as search and rescue and marine 

environmental protection. In the quarter immediately after September 

11th(October-December 2001), law enforcement activities dropped to 

about 13,400 hours, or about 47 percent of their total resources hours; 

efforts devoted to security-related activities increased to more than 

11,000 hours, and other missions were at about 3,800 hours.

* For the Coast Guard’s 82-, 87-, and 110-foot patrol boats, the shift 

was even greater. Prior to September 11th, these boats were used mainly 

for law enforcement and search and rescue activities in offshore 

waters, with law enforcement activities generally accounting for 68 

percent or more of their resource hours and homeland security missions 

for less than 5 percent. In the quarter immediately after September 

11th (October-December 2001), security-related hours increased to the 

point that they greatly exceeded the number of hours spent on law 

enforcement activities (about 20,500 hours for security versus about 

12,000 hours for law enforcement).[Footnote 7]

These and other changes put a strain on some resources. Local 

commanders reported that to meet new security requirements while still 

being able to meet other essential missions, such as search and rescue 

activities, they have had to operate small boats at 20 to 50 percent 

above normal levels. They reported that hours for patrol boats also 

increased, and that some personnel were working 60 to 100 hours a 

week.[Footnote 8]

Although Coast Guard officials indicated that marine safety activities 

were also heavily affected by the need to shift personnel to security 

activities, the Coast Guard does not have data capturing the extent of 

this shift. To a much greater extent than for law enforcement, marine 

safety activities are carried out in ways other than using multiple-

mission resources. For example, personnel at marine safety offices are 

extensively involved in conducting inspections of ships in port, 

examining facilities, and carrying out a variety of other shoreside 

activities. The Coast Guard’s current information systems do not 

capture the time devoted to these activities. Officials at Coast Guard 

districts and local offices told us that they had to curtail marine 

safety activities related to recreational boating safety, fishing boat 

safety, pollution drills, and other activities. However, since these 

activities are not captured in terms of the level of resources expended 

on them, we were unable to quantify the overall extent to which these 

reductions occurred or the impact they had.

Nonsecurity Activities Have Increased, but Missions Are Still Affected:

Since the initial response immediately following September 11th, levels 

of effort for nonsecurity missions in general--and for law enforcement 

in particular--have risen. During the first 6 months of 2002, the level 

of resource hours provided for law enforcement activities rose to the 

point that by July-September 2002, total resource hours were above 

62,000--or within about 5,000 of the level of April-June 2001. The 

degree to which this occurred varied from resource to resource. For 

medium-and high-endurance cutters, for example, the amount of time 

spent on security-related activities dropped substantially in the 

January-March 2002 and April-June 2002 quarters, while the amount of 

time spent on law enforcement activities began to approach levels that 

existed in January-March 2001, and before. (See fig. 1.) During the 

April-June 2002 quarter, high-and medium-endurance cutters logged over 

27,000 hours for law enforcement missions, compared with about 1,100 

hours for security missions. This is in marked contrast to the quarter 

immediately following September 11th, when hours for the two types of 

missions were about the same. However, security hours rose sharply 

again in the July-September 2002 quarter. According to Coast Guard 

officials, this increase came in response to the Office of Homeland 

Security’s raising the national threat level from “elevated” to “high” 

risk. During this period, which lasted from September 10 until 

September 24, the Coast Guard reassigned its resources to respond to 

the increased threat condition. Such shifts show that even relatively 

short periods of increased security activity can affect other missions.

Figure 1: Distribution of Resource Hours Spent Aboard High-and Medium-

Endurance Cutters before and after September 11th:

[See PDF for image]

[End of figure]

The pattern was similar, but not as pronounced, for 82-, 87-, and 110-

foot patrol boats. (See fig 2.) Compared with hours for high-and 

medium-endurance cutters, patrol boat hours continue to show a more 

lasting effect for expanded security requirements.[Footnote 9] 

Immediately after September 11th, hours logged by these boats on 

security activities outstripped law enforcement hours. By the April-

June 2002 quarter, the number of hours devoted to law enforcement 

activities had once again increased so that it was more than twice the 

number spent on security activities. However, for the July-September 

2002 quarter, patrol boat hours for security purposes nearly doubled in 

response to the heightened threat condition, and hours spent on other 

missions declined as a result.

Figure 2: Distribution of Resource Hours Spent Aboard 82-, 87-, and 

110-Foot Patrol Boats before and after September 11th:

[See PDF for image]

[End of figure]

Changes in resource hours provide a useful indicator of the overall 

level of effort for most missions, but these data alone do not tell the 

entire story. There are limitations in using the data, and these 

limitations make quarter-to-quarter comparisons difficult and 

potentially misleading. For example, as we pointed out earlier, the 

data do not include the activities of about one-fourth of the Coast 

Guard, particularly the personnel assigned to the Coast Guard’s 43 

marine safety offices spread throughout the country. Many of these 

personnel were and continue to be assigned to security functions, 

according to Coast Guard officials. In addition, the resource hour data 

do not reflect a working environment in which all fluctuations in hours 

over time can be readily attributed to the events of September 11th. 

For example, mission hours can be affected by seasonal fluctuations, 

such as the need for more fisheries patrols during the fishing season 

and the need for more buoy servicing because of weather damage, 

especially during hurricane season. Similarly, fluctuations can result 

from changes in budget levels, as they were in the months immediately 

preceding September 11th. During this period, in response to pending 

budget cuts, the Coast Guard pulled a number of cutters and aircraft 

out of service, some temporarily and others permanently. Finally, the 

Coast Guard’s operating tempo increased sharply after September 11th, 

and the higher levels of resource activity, while feasible temporarily, 

may not be sustainable in the longer term because resources are being 

used far beyond their normal limits.

To determine whether the situation at specific locations was different 

from the trends shown in the overall data, we visited a number of Coast 

Guard facilities on the East, West, and Gulf coasts. Officials at 

individual Coast Guard districts and offices identified many examples 

of law enforcement and marine safety activities that, as of mid-2002, 

were still less than existed before September 11th. The type and extent 

of these examples varied from location to location, depending on the 

particular Coast Guard responsibilities in that location. For example, 

districts with large industrial ports receiving additional security 

attention after September 11th reported having to shift the most 

resources to security missions. The following are examples, from the 

five Coast Guard districts we visited, of how the districts said they 

were faring in returning resources to nonsecurity missions by June 


* In the First District,[Footnote 10] officials said that they 

reassigned patrol boats from security to nonsecurity missions because 

the number of security patrols[Footnote 11] was reduced from 48 from 

October through December 2001 to 18 from April through June 2002. 

These reassignments allowed the district to increase such activities 

as fishing boat boardings, which had been reduced to 38 during the 

October-December 2001 period, compared with 300 in the same quarter 

the year before. Still, they said the capacity to conduct dockside 

safety inspections of commercial fishing boats had been cut in half 

from pre-September 11th levels. District officials also said that the 

increased hours of operation brought on by the security operations 

created $400,000 in unforeseen maintenance expenditures.

* Fifth District[Footnote 12] officials said that they once again use 

three 110-foot patrol boats for law enforcement patrols. However, 

because the district’s 87-foot patrol boats are still involved with 

homeland security activities, they said that law enforcement operations 

conducted by patrol boats will likely remain about 40 to 50 percent 

lower than they were before September 11th. Officials said that this 

reduction in law enforcement operations would likely continue for 

several years. At one of the district’s local marine safety offices we 

visited (Hampton Roads, Virginia), officials said that they eliminated 

or reduced activities in such areas as planning and outreach, pollution 

planning exercises, and selected safety inspections of foreign vessels.

* Eighth District[Footnote 13] officials said that all missions have 

seen significant resource reductions except for homeland security, 

search and rescue, and aids to navigation. For example, during fiscal 

year 2002, the district boarded 1,020 U.S. fishing vessels, compared 

with 2,701 boardings for fiscal year 2001. At one of the local offices 

we visited (Houston/Galveston), officials reported that the requirement 

for providing cruise ship security had a major impact on personnel 

allocations. Local marine safety unit officials said that they 

currently assign at least six marine safety personnel for terminal 

security sweeps, sea marshal operations, and tugboat and bunker barge 

security monitoring; they also dedicate both an aircraft and patrol 

boats for cruise ship escort duty. They said that an expected increase 

in cruise ship activity would add to this workload.

* In the Eleventh District,[Footnote 14]officials said that they were 

not sending a 110-foot patrol boat to southern California and northern 

Mexico to conduct counter-drug patrols. Prior to September 11th they 

had done so, but since the terrorist attacks this boat has remained 

within the district’s area of responsibility to conduct security-

related activities. Besides reductions in counter-drug patrols, 

district staff indicated that other missions were being affected by 

increased security requirements. For example, in San Francisco, 

officials said that they used patrol and small boats to conduct harbor 

patrols and enforce established security zones. The group commander 

said that since the terrorist attacks he has had to eliminate a number 

of nonsecurity missions for these boats, including fishing vessel-

safety inspections and fisheries-and other living marine resources-

enforcement operations.

* In the Thirteenth District,[Footnote 15] officials said that they had 

resumed some ready cutter patrols,[Footnote 16] which were suspended 

between September 2001 and April 2002. Nonetheless, the district is 

continuing to use one of its patrol boats for homeland security patrols 

on inshore waters and along the border. This precludes using this boat 

for its former duty in fisheries enforcement patrols, since these 

patrols are normally conducted on offshore waters.

These examples of local officials’ difficulties in returning 

nonsecurity missions to earlier levels reflect a central issue that 

Coast Guard officials have pointed out: a number of their activities 

are dependent on cutters, patrol boats, and aircraft that are used to 

meet a variety of missions. If a cutter or patrol boat is assigned to 

conduct security patrols because this mission is judged to be a higher 

priority, it is less available to perform other types of missions. 

Coast Guard officials said that multiple-mission resources may be 

involved in simultaneous missions, such as a cutter’s engaging in both 

fisheries enforcement and marine environmental protection tasks while 

at sea. However, particularly when these resources are engaged in 

close-in security work, they said the resources are less available to 

multitask in this way or less effective in doing so.

Effects on Other Nonsecurity Missions Were Not as Great:

While other nonsecurity missions besides law enforcement and marine 

safety were affected by the increased emphasis on homeland security, 

the available data and our discussions with Coast Guard officials 

indicate that by comparison, other missions were affected to a much 

lesser degree than law enforcement and marine safety. For example:

* Although search and rescue resources were used to perform homeland 

security functions, doing so did not materially affect the Coast 

Guard’s ability to respond to search and rescue missions, according to 

Coast Guard officials. Although search and rescue boats were initially 

redeployed for harbor security patrols, they said that any potential 

impact of doing so was tempered by normal changes in workload in the 

season when the attacks occurred. Search and rescue hours normally tend 

to follow a cyclical pattern, with heavier demand in the April-through-

September period, and lower demand in October through March. They said 

that because the attacks occurred at the beginning of the low-demand 

season, resources could be redeployed with little or no effect on the 

mission. Coast Guard officials also emphasized that search and rescue 

is a primary mission that will always receive priority. Operational 

data we reviewed showed that the drop in search and rescue hours after 

September 11th mirrored the normal annual cycle, and that since that 

time, the quarterly fluctuations have continued as they have done 


* For aids to navigation, the data showed a drop in cutter resource 

hours after September 11th, when, according to Coast Guard officials, 

some boats that normally operate as buoy tenders were used for security 

purposes instead. However, this drop was not as great as it had been 

for law enforcement and was relatively short-lived. By the April-June 

2002 quarter, the number of cutter resource hours spent on aids to 

navigation had returned to traditional levels. Coast Guard officials 

said that resources for aids to navigation were among the first to be 

returned to their former missions.

Funding Increases Proposed in Fiscal Year 2003 Budget May Not Have a 

Major Effect on Nonsecurity Missions:

Most of the proposed funding increase for new mission-related 

initiatives in the Coast Guard’s fiscal year 2003 budget request is 

directed at security activities and, according to Coast Guard 

officials, would likely have a limited impact on nonsecurity missions. 

The $213 million proposed for new operational initiatives would be 

directed primarily toward new, permanent, security-related personnel 

positions and new security patrol boats. The Coast Guard is still 

working out plans for how these additional personnel would be used and 

where they would be assigned, but, according to Coast Guard personnel 

in the units we visited, it is unlikely that the additional personnel 

would allow units to shift substantial resources to nonsecurity 

missions. Many of the proposed new positions would replace reservists 

activated on a temporary basis after September 11th. To the degree that 

the proposed positions would replace temporarily activated reservists, 

they would not result in a net addition of staff.

Proposed Spending for New Initiatives Is Focused on Expanded Security 


The administration’s fiscal year 2003 budget request for the Coast 

Guard includes a total of $213 million for new mission-related 

initiatives.[Footnote 17] Of this amount, $188 million (88 percent) is 

proposed for security-related purposes, such as increased patrols and 

vessel boardings; the remaining $25 million is for enhanced staffing of 

search and rescue operations, and for vessel traffic information system 

improvements. One of the main objectives of the security-related 

initiatives is to provide permanent staff following the Coast Guard’s 

initial staffing buildup after September 11th, which was accomplished 

largely by temporarily activating reservists. While there is variation 

among the districts, many of the proposed positions would be permanent 

slots that would replace the positions filled by reservists. In all, 

the Coast Guard plans to hire almost 2,200 new personnel by the end of 

fiscal year 2003. Of these positions, 870 were authorized in the 

supplemental appropriation approved for fiscal year 2002, and 1,330 are 

proposed in the fiscal year 2003 budget request. The Coast Guard 

expects nearly 90 percent of these 2,200 new positions to be assigned 

to security-related functions. (See table 2.) Coast Guard officials 

expect that at least 80 percent of the personnel will be assigned to 

field units (area commands, districts, marine safety offices, marine 

safety units, air stations, or small boat stations).

Table 2: Allocation of Proposed New Personnel by Program Area, Fiscal 

Year 2003 Budget Request:

Program area: Security mission; Number of additional personnel: 


Program area: Maritime domain awareness; Number of additional 

personnel: 316.

Program area: High-interest vessel control; Number of additional 

personnel: 268.

Program area: Presence and response capabilities; Number of additional 

personnel: 1,062.

Program area: Critical infrastructure and force protection; Number of 

additional personnel: 85.

Program area: Domestic and international outreach; Number of additional 

personnel: 190.

Program area: Homeland Security Liaison Billets; Number of additional 

personnel: 43.

Program area: Total for security mission; Number of additional 

personnel: 1,964.

Program area: Nonsecurity missions; Number of additional personnel: 


Program area: Commissioning and operation of three seagoing buoy 

tenders; Number of additional personnel: 165.

Program area: Maritime search and rescue/Personnel safety; Number of 

additional personnel: 193.

Program area: 47-foot motor life boat follow-on; Number of additional 

personnel: 36.

Program area: Commissioning and operation of three coastal patrol 

boats; Number of additional personnel: 35.

Program area: Decommissioning of three seagoing buoy tenders; Number of 

additional personnel: -195.

Program area: Total for nonsecurity missions; Number of additional 

personnel: 234.

Program area: Grand total; Number of additional personnel: 2,198.

Source: Developed by GAO from Coast Guard data.

[End of table]

In addition to the increased numbers of permanent positions, the Coast 

Guard plans to buy 80 homeland security response boats and 4 87-foot 

coastal patrol boats.[Footnote 18] While both types of boats are multi-

mission capable, officials stated that these new boats are intended 

mainly for use in homeland security missions.

Ability to Shift Resources to Nonsecurity Missions May Be Limited:

The additional personnel and assets included in the fiscal year 2003 

budget request may allow field units to free up some resources for 

nonsecurity missions, but for several reasons, the flexibility to do so 

appears limited. One reason is that many of the new positions would 

replace reservists activated at field locations since September 11th, 

thereby providing these units only the resources necessary to maintain 

operations at current levels. The Coast Guard can use reservists for up 

to 2 years, but from a practical standpoint, the agency typically uses 

them in large numbers only for surge capability during emergencies. 

Moreover, having permanent personnel is more cost effective and 

provides long-term workforce stability, according to Coast Guard 

officials. Our interviews with district staff indicated that this would 

be the case to a greater degree in some locations than in others. Coast 

Guard staff in some districts told us that new personnel would largely 

replace currently activated reservists, and therefore would do little 

more than allow them to maintain the status quo. Some districts also 

reported that because of the large number of reservists called to 

active duty, there would not be enough new active duty personnel to 

replace reservists on a one-to-one basis. As a result, the new 

authorized personnel strength would not match the current personnel 

numbers at some locations, and the impact would actually be a reduction 

in resources allocated to lower-priority missions.

The second reason why the flexibility to shift additional resources to 

nonsecurity missions may be limited is that the Coast Guard plans to 

assign a number of the new positions to security units that would 

provide only limited replacement of any existing activity. Nearly 430 

personnel, or 20 percent of all new personnel, are expected to be 

assigned to six maritime:

safety and security teams.[Footnote 19] Currently, the Coast Guard has 

four such teams--in Seattle; San Pedro, California; Houston/Galveston, 

Texas; and Hampton Roads, Virginia--and there are plans for two 

additional teams in Jacksonville, Florida, and New York City. Our 

conversations with Coast Guard officials indicated that there are still 

many unresolved issues concerning how these teams will be used. 

District and headquarters officials believed that these teams help meet 

certain security requirements, but individual teams will have to learn 

how best to use these assets.

The third reason for limited flexibility is the time that will probably 

elapse before many of the people in these new positions could be in 

place or ready to make optimum contributions. Time lags normally occur 

from when a position is authorized to when a person is assigned to fill 

it. Both headquarters and district officials have reported that they do 

not expect some personnel to start filling headquarters and field 

positions for at least 6 months, or maybe even longer. In addition, 

once a number of these positions are filled, the effectiveness of the 

persons in them could be decreased by what some Coast Guard personnel 

refer to as “juniorocity”--that is, persons at a lower rank or pay 

grade (in the case of civilians) filling positions that call for 

higher-level candidates. Coast Guard officials said that this could 

potentially occur, and if it does, these people may need additional 

supervision from senior personnel.

The Coast Guard’s fiscal year 2003 allocation of cutter and patrol boat 

resource hours provides further indication that nonsecurity missions 

would not be greatly increased, because the resource hours allocation 

is relatively the same as it was for fiscal year 2002. The Coast Guard 

sets this allocation for all law enforcement program areas in its 

annual operational and maritime safety mission planning guidance. This 

guidance shows that for fiscal year 2003, the overall number of cutter 

hours for those activities is to rise by about 5,700, a 2 percent 

increase from the previous year, with each of the law enforcement areas 

seeing small changes from the prior year. The planning guidance data 

support the conclusion that even with new security boats funded in the 

fiscal year 2003 budget request, the Coast Guard would not be able to 

redeploy cutters to nonsecurity missions. According to the guidance, 

continued shifting of small boats and 87-foot patrol boats to port 

security activities will leave gaps in inshore fisheries enforcement.

Opportunities for Increased Operational Efficiency Could Help Meet 

Mission Responsibilities:

A number of opportunities for improving operational efficiency are 

potentially available to help the Coast Guard accomplish its various 

missions. In recent years, we and others have studied Coast Guard 

operations and made recommendations for more efficient operations, and 

a number of these recommendations have merit in this new operating 

environment. In addition, the Coast Guard has attempted, through local 

port organizations, to develop ways to partner more effectively with 

local, state, and federal agencies, as well as with public and private 

entities. Individual ports have made notable--but isolated--

accomplishments in this regard. Although some mechanisms are in place 

to help ports share information about these projects, these mechanisms 

are not working effectively.

Previous Recommendations for Improving Operations Still Have Merit:

Over the past decade, we and other outside organizations, along with 

the Coast Guard itself, have studied Coast Guard operations to 

determine where greater efficiencies might be found. We consolidated 

many of these recommendations to improve Coast Guard operations in 

reports issued in 1997 and 1999.[Footnote 20] As part of previous 

initiatives aimed at operating more efficiently, the Coast Guard has 

used many such recommendations, undertaking such steps as reducing 

administrative staff, consolidating offices, and streamlining 

operations. However, a number of past recommendations that were not 

adopted still have relevance. For example:

* Dockside fisheries enforcement by the National Marine Fisheries 

Service. Past studies found that the Coast Guard had opportunity to 

replace some of its at-sea boardings for domestic fishing vessels with 

dockside enforcement by the National Marine Fisheries Service (an 

agency of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and by 

state agencies. Whether this same opportunity still exists in the 

current environment is unknown, but it represents a possible way to 

leverage resources and minimize any overlap that may be occurring. A 

closer look at potential efficiencies seems particularly warranted 

given the increasingly complex nature of the Coast Guard’s work in 

fisheries enforcement. For example, fishing regulations in the New 

England fisheries have evolved to include 18 fisheries management plans 

involving more than 40 marine species.

* Privatizing vessel traffic service systems in more ports. Vessel 

traffic service systems, which are responsible for controlling harbor 

traffic operations in a number of the nation’s ports, are operated 

predominantly by Coast Guard personnel. However, two systems--Delaware 

Bay and Los Angeles/Long Beach--are either privately operated or 

operated jointly with the Coast Guard, and past studies have 

recommended that the Coast Guard examine the possibility of privatizing 

at least some additional systems. At Los Angeles/Long Beach, for 

example, the system uses Coast Guard and Marine Exchange personnel to 

monitor traffic and provide mariners with information.[Footnote 21] The 

state of California reimburses the Coast Guard’s personnel costs, using 

fees paid by vessel owners using the system.

Leveraging Resources through Partnerships Provides Mission 

Efficiencies to the Coast Guard:

One area that has come to the forefront since September 11th, given the 

expanded duties that the Coast Guard and other port stakeholders have 

assumed, is the agency’s potential ability to partner with other port 

stakeholders to help accomplish the varied security and nonsecurity 

goals involved in port operations. These stakeholders include state and 

local agencies as well as private-sector interests. As we visited Coast 

Guard locations, we noted many examples in which cooperative 

arrangements had been used to accomplish these varied goals 

successfully. Table 3 provides examples of some of the partnerships we 


Table 3: Examples of Coast Guard Partnering in Individual Ports:

Port: Boston; Example of partnering: Coast Watch. This program acts in 

a neighborhood-watch fashion and allows fishermen and other port 

stakeholders to alert the Coast Guard to irregularities that might 

indicate security threats.; Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) Escorts. In 

developing its plan for escorting LNG ships, the Coast Guard cooperated 

with other agencies and entities to share the burden. As a result, 

state and local agencies in the Port of Boston assist in escorting LNG 

ships through the port, providing on-shore security, and coordinating 

bridge closures.; Spill Response. The Coast Guard has turned over 

responsibility for responding to minor oil spills to the state of 


Port: Hampton Roads; Example of partnering: Maritime Incident Response 

Team (MIRT). Local municipalities have created a firefighting 

cooperative to respond to marine fires. In the event of an incident, in 

addition to deploying as first responder, the team acts under the 

command and control of the captain of the port and liaises with 

affected municipalities. The MIRT trains by conducting field exercises 

with the Coast Guard. Through this program, the Coast Guard benefits 

from the presence of a marine firefighting resource, while the 

municipalities involved benefit from coordinated federal 


Port: Houston/Galveston; Example of partnering: Mobility Program. The 

Coast Guard partnered with the Houston/Galveston Navigation Safety 

Advisory Committee on identifying mobility issues associated with both 

recreational and commercial users of the Houston Ship Channel, 

Galveston Bay, and connecting waters. As a result, the Coast Guard 

derived lists of local waterways needs and their relative importance to 

the users’ outcomes.; Ship Rider Information Exchange Program. The 

Coast Guard entered into agreements that allow vessel inspectors to 

ride on many of the chemical and oil tank ships that frequent Houston, 

the nation’s largest petro-chemical port. The inspectors get to see 

bridge resource management, cargo operations, tank cleaning evolutions, 

and engine room procedures first hand. The program exposes Coast Guard 

inspectors to the unique aspects of the tank industry, while allowing 

the ships’ crew to develop insights into Coast Guard enforcement and 

U.S. and international legal requirements..

Port: Los Angeles/Long Beach; Example of partnering: Vessel Traffic 

Service. In cooperation with the state of California and local 

interests, the Coast Guard jointly operates a VTS system. State law 

requires all vessels over a certain size to participate, and operating 

costs are paid from user fees on vessels using the system. Developed 

under Coast Guard guidance, the system operates under many of the same 

rules and procedures as Coast Guard VTS sites, provides the Coast Guard 

valuable assistance during its search and rescue efforts and law 

enforcement actions, and aids in the dissemination of captain of the 

port orders..

Port: Puget Sound; Example of partnering: Harbor Safety Plan. Through 

the efforts of the Puget Sound Harbor Safety Committee, guidelines were 

developed to cover issues such as emergency response, lightering, and 

pilotage. By working through the harbor safety committee, the Coast 

Guard was able to achieve buy-in from those affected by the plan, 

thereby ensuring greater success. Guidance developed through this 

process has been incorporated into the charts that mariners use when 

navigating the waters of Puget Sound.; Ballast Water. The Puget Sound 

Harbor Safety Committee developed voluntary standards of care for 

exchanging ballast water that were eventually used as the basis for new 

state regulations.; Standards of Care to Prevent Drifting Ships. 

Through the work of the Puget Sound Harbor Safety Committee, a 

mechanical problem was identified that caused seven to eight groundings 

per year, on average. This cooperative effort resulted in a new 

standard of care that requires ship operators to complete a check of 

their propulsion systems upon checking in with the Vessel Traffic 

System. The change mitigates groundings that could result in spills or 

loss of life..

Source: Developed by GAO.

[End of table]

The Coast Guard has recognized possibilities for greater efficiencies 

through partnering and is beginning to implement better guidance and 

procedures in this area. In May 2002, the Commandant stated that the 

Coast Guard intended to build strategic partnerships to enhance its 

mission outcomes, bring clarity to mission planning and execution, and 

leverage the capabilities of Coast Guard forces. Likewise, the Coast 

Guard’s strategic plan declares partnering to be a guiding principle 

for decisionmaking. To help local Coast Guard officials promote these 

efforts, headquarters has issued general guidance to aid in the 

development of harbor safety committees. Although there are other 

cooperative arrangements in ports, including area committees and port 

security committees, the Coast Guard has focused on harbor safety 

committees or their equivalents[Footnote 22] because it believes that 

such committees, composed of facility operators and port users, are 

often the only local bodies available to meet and discuss mutual 

safety, mobility, and environmental protection issues.

Harbor safety committees, established largely on an ad hoc basis by the 

Coast Guard or other entities over the years, differ widely in their 

membership and structure. These differences, in part, reflect the 

differences that exist from port to port. The Coast Guard guidance is 

intended to increase harmonization between committees without imposing 

a mandated structure for them. The guidance illustrates the attributes 

of particularly successful committees and focuses on overall 

organizational structure, committee membership, and areas for potential 

action. The guidance also points out that tools are available to assist 

committees in their work, particularly the Coast Guard’s National 

Harbor Safety Committee Web site. Coast Guard officials told us that 

some recently formed committees were established using the guidance, 

and that some existing committees have made changes to come into closer 

alignment with the guidance.

Effectiveness of Some Partnerships Is Hampered by Limited Scope of 

Activity and Lack of Information Sharing:

Although the Coast Guard recognizes the potential offered by partnering 

and has provided guidance toward this end, current efforts are limited 

by two main problems. The first is related to the variations between 

harbor safety committees: some are much narrower in scope and activity 

than others. The second is related to the lack of effective sharing of 

information among harbor safety committees.

The makeup of harbor safety committees, which varies somewhat from port 

to port, can sometimes affect their ability to tackle new projects. The 

actions the Coast Guard can undertake often reflect the extent of the 

individual committee’s interests. Some committees have broad 

representation among various stakeholder groups. For example, the 

committee in Puget Sound has included a broad mix of shipping industry 

groups, labor organizations, port representatives, environmental 

agencies, and state representatives. Consensus efforts of this 

committee resulted in new state regulations about the dumping of 

ballast water, for example. By contrast, in Philadelphia, when the 

Coast Guard attempted to carry out a safety assessment with the 

cooperation of the local harbor safety committee, the stakeholders 

perceived the assessment effort as threatening the competitiveness of 

the port and decided not to cooperate. Coast Guard officials attributed 

this lack of interest to the makeup of the committee, which did not 

have representation beyond industry representatives.

More effective information-sharing is another way the Coast Guard could 

better leverage its resources. There currently is no effective way for 

stakeholder groups in the more than 100 locations where such committees 

exist to share information with each other about successful projects or 

about best practices that contribute to these successes. Our 

discussions with Coast Guard and port officials indicated that 

information between committees tends to be exchanged sporadically, by 

word of mouth or happenstance. There currently is no national harbor 

safety association or other umbrella group that can share information, 

although a few committees have recently expressed interest in forming 

an association. Likewise, no formal process exists for sharing best 

practices and information within the Coast Guard. Numerous Coast Guard 

personnel noted that personal relationships and the rotation of 

personnel currently are the best tools available for information-

sharing about the operation of other ports.

In the absence of a mechanism or process for effectively sharing 

information, communication within the Coast Guard and among its 

partners could be facilitated by greater use of the Coast Guard’s 

National Harbor Safety Committee Web site, which is currently 

underutilized. When we checked in September 2002, it had just five 

examples of best practices--three from Puget Sound, one from the 

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and one from the Coast 

Guard. By contrast, during our field visits we were told about examples 

of good partnerships in each of the ports we visited.

Framework for Monitoring Levels of Effort and Results Has Two Main 


The Congress has expressed great interest in monitoring the Coast 

Guard’s mission resource levels, especially for nonsecurity missions. 

In particular, legislation currently under consideration for 

establishing a Department of Homeland Security includes a requirement 

for the Coast Guard to report regularly on the status of its 

nonsecurity missions. We think our experience in reviewing such 

information may be helpful in establishing a meaningful framework for 

keeping the Congress informed. In this instance, such a framework would 

involve two main components. The first component is a strategy that 

identifies, at least in general terms, the planned levels of effort for 

these various missions in future years and a time frame for achieving 

these planned levels. The second component is adequate information for 

assessing progress. This information has to capture not only how much 

the Coast Guard is spending on these missions but also what these 

expenditures produce, both in the level of service provided and the 

results achieved. Much of the necessary information may already exist, 

but not in a report that specifically responds to the Congress’s 

interest in nonsecurity missions.

First Component: Establishing Planned Resource Levels and a Time Frame 

for Achieving These Levels:

In the Coast Guard’s substantial transformation following September 

11th, it is understandable that the agency’s primary planning focus has 

been on incorporating its expanded security mission. The agency has not 

yet developed a plan for how it intends to balance these various 

missions over the longer term. For its multiple-mission resources such 

as cutters and aircraft, the Coast Guard has established fiscal year 

2003 resource levels for its various missions, but there is no 

indication that these levels represent planned levels for future years.

Specifying the proposed resource levels for these missions, as well as 

establishing a strategy for achieving them, is an important first step 

in the Coast Guard’s communication with the Congress and other 

decisionmakers about what it intends to accomplish with its additional 

resources. This information is critical; without it, neither the Coast 

Guard nor the Congress knows what level of activities and services are 

to be expected. Operating without such knowledge for an extended period 

of time places decisionmakers in the position of being asked to decide 

on funding levels without knowing what this funding is likely to 


Second Component: Adequate Information for Assessing Progress:

Once resource levels are set, it is important to be able to assess 

progress in achieving those levels. An effective reporting mechanism 

needs a variety of measures and a way to set these measures in context. 

Although the Coast Guard may already be collecting this information, it 

currently does not exist in a useful format.

Measures That Address Both Efforts and Accomplishments:

Program measures are most useful when, taken together, they can provide 

a picture of both the resources being applied to a mission (inputs) and 

the results of applying these resources (outputs and outcomes). Input 

measures include such things as the amount of money spent on a mission 

or the number of persons assigned to the mission. (See table 4 for 

other examples.) Output measures, such as the number of patrols or 

inspections conducted, describe what is being provided with these 

resources. Outcome measures go further than output measures, in that 

they address the extent to which program goals are accomplished. 

Together, these different measures allow decisionmakers to answer 

questions about how many resources are being applied, how the 

application of these resources translates into specific activities, and 

what these activities are producing.[Footnote 23]

Table 4: Types of Measures for Monitoring Agency Missions and 


Measures of effort: inputs: Type (or subtype) of measure: Financial 

information; Explanation: These measures are based on information 

about expenditures. This can include items such as salaries, employee 

benefits, materials, supplies, and equipment.

Measures of effort: inputs: Type (or subtype) of measure: Nonfinancial 

information; Explanation: Measures of effort: inputs: These measures 

on the number of personnel used in a specific mission or activity. 

nonfinancial information in effect removes wage, benefit, and cost-of-

differences from resource inputs, making it easier to compare levels of 

effort over time.

Measures of effort: inputs: Type (or subtype) of measure: Other 

Explanation: Measures of effort: inputs: These measures could include 

things as the amount of equipment or assets assigned to a specific 
mission or 


Measures of accomplishment: outputs and 

outcomes.Type (or subtype) of measure: Outputs; Explanation: These 

measures focus on the quantity of a service provided to 

address a specific mission or activity, such as the number of 

inspections conducted..

Measures of accomplishment: outputs and 

outcomes.Type (or subtype) of measure: Outcomes; Explanation: These 

measures are used to determine whether the 

service provided results in an actual accomplishment besides the 

activity itself. These measures are useful in setting goals, targets, 

and standards..

Source: Developed by GAO based on information from the Governmental 

Accounting Standards Board.

[End of table]

Having all three types of measures is important, because exclusive 

dependence on any one type has built-in limitations. For example, a 

rising level of expenditures (an input measure) does not necessarily 

equate to higher levels of effort (outputs). Instead, it may be a 

reflection only of rising personnel costs or increased capital 

expenditures. Similarly, although a rising level of outputs (such as 

increased numbers of patrols) may appear desirable, they tell only a 

limited story on their own. Increased outputs may simply represent 

inefficiencies--more effort is expended, but with little or no increase 

in the desired outcome. Including outcome measures is particularly 

important because they provide a “so what” tool to help assess whether 

the level of effort is justified and whether it needs to be modified in 

some way.

The Coast Guard currently has a variety of all three types of measures. 

(See table 5 for examples.) Many of these measures are already reported 

in some context or another. In particular, the Coast Guard currently 

collects and reports a variety of outcome data to comply with the 

Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA). Under GPRA, DOT is 

required to establish annual performance plans that contain annual 

goals and measures to assess progress in reaching these goals, which 

are linked to their long-term strategic goals. The Coast Guard’s 

current performance plan also contains some discussion of how security-

related priorities are affecting performance targets for other missions 

in fiscal years 2002 and 2003. The plan notes five areas that have been 

negatively impacted by increased security requirements--drug 

interdiction, foreign fishing vessel interdiction, fisheries 

protection, military readiness, and support for military operations. 

For example, the Coast Guard does not expect to reach its fiscal year 

2002 cocaine seizure rate goal, because drug interdiction resources 

have been diverted to port security missions.

Table 5: Examples of Measures Currently Developed by the Coast Guard:

Type of measure: Input; Example: Dollar expenditures by mission, both 

planned and actual.

Example: Authorized strength levels for specific 

units or offices.

Example: Number of vessels or aircraft assigned to 

specific program areas or missions.

Type of measure: Output; Example: Number of hours that assets such as 

cutters, patrol boats, and aircraft were spent on each mission.

Example: Number of fisheries patrols conducted.

Example: Number of vessel-safety and -security 

inspections conducted.

Type of measure: Outcome; Example: Percentage of mariners in distress 

who were saved.

Example: Number of foreign fishing vessel incursions 


Example: Percentage of time that navigation aids were 

fully operational.

Source: Compiled by GAO from Coast Guard reports and information 


[End of table]

Additional Information Providing Context for Measurement Data:

To give context to these various types of measures, it may be necessary 

to report other explanatory information. Such information might be 

needed to explain changes in the way an agency is doing business, or 

special circumstances that had an impact on the agency’s goals or 

missions. This information is of two main types:

* External factors, such as environmental or demographic 

characteristics, that are outside of an organization’s control. 

Declines in fish stocks, for example, can be affected by many things 

beyond the management of the fishery, such as climate or actions by 

other nations.

* Internal factors, such as staffing patterns, patrol routes, or any 

other significant developments that the agency has control over. Such 

information is important because data from the measures themselves--

particularly input and output measures--may, in isolation, tell only 

part of the story. For example, the Coast Guard’s marine safety office 

in New Orleans recently curtailed some of its safety-related foreign 

flag-vessel inspections because of reduced staff levels. Any measure 

related to the number of inspections made by Coast Guard personnel 

would thus likely show a decline and lead to a conclusion that the 

Coast Guard had significantly curtailed its safety oversight. However, 

the Coast Guard decided in this instance to rely on Coast Guard-

approved maritime classification societies for these safety 

inspections. This additional information would be needed to put the 

data in proper context.

No Current Report Usefully Provides This Information:

Although much potentially useful information exists for explaining and 

analyzing the Coast Guard’s levels of effort in nonsecurity missions, 

no current report assimilates this information and sets it in the 

context of organizational or program developments related to 

accomplishing nonsecurity missions. The Coast Guard’s annual 

performance plan, while acknowledging in several places that 

nonsecurity performance targets are likely to be negatively affected by 

ongoing security efforts, has a relatively limited amount of data, is 

not intended as a report on increasing resource levels for nonsecurity 

missions, and does not have the level of detail that may be desired on 

this issue.

Assembling a meaningful report calls for a mix of input, output, and 

outcome measures and a complementary explanation of what difficulties 

the Coast Guard is facing, what externalities have affected the 

outcome, and what plans the Coast Guard is making either to bring more 

resources to bear or to find ways to leverage resources or otherwise 

operate more efficiently. A meaningful report could potentially use 

many different measures. In concept, the best set of measures would be 

one that allowed both the Coast Guard and the Congress, to the degree 

possible, to link resources and activities with results--for example, 

linking the number and types of fisheries patrols with the recovery of 

fish stocks, or the level of drug enforcement patrols with the level of 

success in preventing drugs from entering the country.

It is important for the Coast Guard to work with the Congress in 

defining what information should be provided, because some information 

is readily available while other information is not. For example, under 

current information systems, it is much easier to determine, on a 

mission-by-mission basis, how personnel aboard ships and aircraft spend 

their time than it is to create a similar mission-by-mission picture of 

how time is spent in headquarters and program offices.[Footnote 24] The 

value of developing additional measures that are not already in place 

needs to be weighed against the possible cost. We did not undertake a 

detailed evaluation of the Coast Guard’s information systems to 

the full range of information these systems might be able to supply. 

It may be that, if the Congress decides that certain additional 

are important for reporting purposes, Coast Guard information 

can assemble the data with relative ease. However, if the systems do 

not already collect the information, considerable work may be needed, 

and there may be little historical information to provide a benchmark 

for current data.


The Coast Guard’s adjustment to its new post-September 11thenvironment 

is still largely in process. Sorting out how traditional missions will 

be fully carried out alongside new security responsibilities will 

likely take several years. The Congress has expressed strong interest 

in monitoring the activity levels for these missions, particularly 

those nonsecurity missions that saw a reduction in activities after 

September 11th. The Coast Guard acknowledges that for the foreseeable 

future, absorbing new security activities will continue to affect 

activity levels for some of these other missions. After September 11th, 

the Coast Guard’s attention understandably turned to assimilating added 

security responsibilities, and beyond its short-term plans for fiscal 

year 2003 it has not indicated the levels of effort its various 

missions are likely to receive. However, given the degree of 

congressional concern, it is important for the Coast Guard to develop a 

framework that will keep the Congress apprised of what is happening. It 

is also important for the Coast Guard to develop and share with the 

Congress a longer-term strategy that identifies, at least in general 

terms, the levels of effort the Coast Guard projects for its various 

missions, along with a time frame for achieving these planned levels. 

Because the Coast Guard must adjust to rapid changes in its multi-

mission environment, these levels are likely to remain fluid and 

therefore in need of revision as necessary, but the direction they set 

is nonetheless important. Without this sense of direction, 

decisionmakers are less able to make spending and other decisions with 

a clear understanding of how the Coast Guard intends to balance its 


It is also important for the Coast Guard to provide decisionmakers with 

information about progress in achieving the intended balance among 

missions. The Coast Guard currently collects and disseminates a wide 

variety of information about its nonsecurity missions and activities, 

but this information is in disparate forms and documents. To make such 

information more useful for the Congress, a better synthesis is needed. 

In short, existing information must be analyzed in the context of the 

Coast Guard’s efforts to address all of its missions as effectively and 

efficiently as possible. In doing so, information regarding agreed-upon 

performance measures also needs to be developed and provided to 

congressional decisionmakers. The absence of such information limits 

their ability to assess current efforts and decide if changes should be 


In meeting the challenges involved with its various missions, it is 

also important for the Coast Guard to carefully consider and implement, 

where appropriate, ways of operating more efficiently and effectively. 

Many past suggestions for more efficient operation still appear 

relevant. These would include looking for ways to share monitoring 

duties with other agencies, eliminating possible duplication of effort, 

and conducting joint operations or projects with state and local 

partners. The Coast Guard’s recent efforts to expand partnerships with 

other maritime stakeholders at individual ports offer promising 

examples of greater leveraging of existing resources. However, the 

processes for sharing information between ports are limited, 

diminishing the potential for replicating a port’s successes in other 



To provide the Congress with a useful framework for reviewing and 

monitoring Coast Guard activities, we recommend that the Secretary of 

Transportation direct the Commandant of the Coast Guard to:

* Develop a longer-term strategy that outlines how the Coast Guard sees 

its resources--cutters, boats, aircraft, and personnel--being 

distributed across its various missions, as well as a time frame for 

achieving this desired balance among missions.

* Work with the Congress to develop and implement a useful reporting 

format that provides a full range of input, output, and outcome 

measures, as well as a means to keep the Congress apprised of ongoing 

developments that have an effect on nonsecurity missions.

To improve operational efficiencies and help leverage resources, we 

also recommend that the Secretary of Transportation direct the 

Commandant to reexamine past recommendations for operational 

efficiencies and, in particular, to develop an effective way to 

systematically share information on successful partnership efforts.

Agency Comments and Our Evaluation:

We provided a draft of this report to the Department of Transportation 

and the Coast Guard for their review and comment. Coast Guard officials 

provided a number of comments and clarifications, which we incorporated 

to ensure the accuracy of our report. The Coast Guard did not respond 

in writing to our recommendations, but, in oral comments, Coast Guard 

officials expressed a concern that our recommendation about developing 

a longer-term strategy would involve disclosing budgetary information 

well in advance of approval by DOT and Office of Management and Budget 

officials in the normal budget process. We have modified the wording of 

the recommendation to help clarify that it is meant to identify, in 

more general terms, how the Coast Guard envisions distributing its 

resources to meet its many missions.

As agreed with your offices, unless you publicly announce the contents 

of this report earlier, we plan no further distribution until 7 days 

from the report date. At that time, we will send copies of the report 

to the Honorable Norman Y. Mineta, Secretary of Transportation, and 

Admiral Thomas H. Collins, Commandant of the Coast Guard. We also will 

make copies available to others upon request. In addition, the report 

will be available at no charge on the GAO Web site at http://

If you have any questions about this report, please contact me at or (202) 512-2834, or Randall Williamson at or (206) 287-4860. GAO contacts and acknowledgments 

are listed in appendix II.

[See PDF for image]

[End of figure]

JayEtta Z. Hecker:

Director, Physical Infrastructure:

Signed by JayEtta Z. Hecker:

[End of section]


Appendix I: Objectives, Scope, and Methodology:

To determine the extent to which the Coast Guard has restored its 

nonsecurity missions following the September 11th terrorist attacks, we 

reviewed the Coast Guard’s Abstract of Operations. This data, reported 

by crews of cutters, boats, and aircraft, represents the hours that 

these resources spent in each of the Coast Guard’s mission areas. We 

reviewed this data to identify how resources were utilized across 

missions both before and after September 11th. In addition, we also 

spoke with officials at Coast Guard Headquarters and at the Atlantic 

Area and Pacific Area commands in Portsmouth, Virginia, and Alameda, 

California, respectively, regarding restoration of nonsecurity 

missions. To obtain information on how the restoration varied around 

the country, we visited Coast Guard district offices and operational 

units in Alameda, Boston, New Orleans, Portsmouth, and Seattle, as well 

as personnel at operational commands under these district commands.

To assess the impact of the fiscal year 2003 budget request on 

nonsecurity operations, we reviewed the Coast Guard’s fiscal year 2002 

budget and supplemental appropriations, as well as their fiscal year 

2003 budget request. In addition, we interviewed Coast Guard officials 

within the Coast Guard’s Office of Programs, the Human Resource 

Directorate, Operations Directorate, and the Marine Safety Directorate 

to identify where budget increases would be spent and the impact of the 

budget increase. To discuss the impact of the increase in the budget 

request, we interviewed staff at Coast Guard Headquarters, area 

commands, and district offices. In addition, we also reviewed Coast 

Guard planning documents to determine the extent of changes in planned 

resource allocations for fiscal year 2003.

To identify types of operational efficiencies the Coast Guard should 

consider to help restore nonsecurity missions, we reviewed previous GAO 

and Department of Transportation Inspector General reports. In 

addition, we discussed options for operational efficiencies and for the 

development of partnerships at district offices we visited, as well as 

at local Coast Guard offices under these districts’ commands. We also 

reviewed Coast Guard guidance for Harbor Safety Committees and Marine 

Transportation System issues.

To identify a framework that would help the Coast Guard report on 

progress toward restoring nonsecurity missions, we reviewed previous 

GAO work on performance management and developing performance measures. 

We reviewed the Coast Guard’s current strategic documents and discussed 

these reports with staff in the Coast Guard’s Office of Programs to 

determine the extent to which existing data collection activities could 

support a reporting framework.

[End of section]

Appendix II: GAO Contacts and Staff Acknowledgments:

GAO Contacts:

JayEtta Z. Hecker (202) 512-2834

Randall B. Williamson (206) 287-4860:


In addition to those named above, David Hooper, Christopher M. Jones, 

Molly C. Laster, Sara Moessbauer, Tim Schindler, and Stan Stenersen 

made key contributions to this report.


[1] Throughout this report, we define “nonsecurity” missions as those 

that fall outside of the Coast Guard’s defense readiness and homeland 

security responsibilities. These mission areas include law enforcement 

(including drug and illegal migrant interdiction), search and rescue, 

aids to navigation, marine environmental protection, marine safety, and 

ice operations.

[2] Since the events of September 11th, the Coast Guard has created a 

separate program area, called Ports, Waterways, and Coastal Security, 

for homeland security activities.

[3] “Cutter” is defined as any Coast Guard vessel 65 feet in length or 

greater with adequate accommodations for the crew to live on board. 

Besides high-and medium-endurance cutters, this definition includes 

icebreakers, buoy tenders, and patrol boats. In addition, the Coast 

Guard operates a variety of types of smaller boats. All vessels under 

65 feet in length are classified as boats and usually operate near 

shore or on inland waterways. Examples include motor lifeboats, rigid-

hull inflatable boats, and utility boats.

[4] Prior to the fiscal year 2003 budget request, the Coast Guard 

included maritime security activities under its marine safety program 


[5] Pending legislation (S.1214 and H.R. 3983) proposes a number of 

security measures for U.S. seaports. Major provisions of these bills 

would require heavy involvement by the Coast Guard in conducting 

vulnerability assessments at U.S. ports, reviewing port security plans, 

developing seaport security standards, making loan guarantees and 

authorizing grants for port security improvements, and evaluating 

security at foreign ports that are points of origin for ships calling 

on U.S. ports.

[6] The Coast Guard maintains information, on a mission-by-mission 

basis, about how these resources were used. Each hour that these 

resources are used in a mission is called a “resource hour.” These 

resource hours are logged into employment categories that fall under 

such missions as search and rescue, aids to navigation, defense 

readiness, enforcement of laws and treaties, ice operations, marine 

environmental protection, ports and waterways security, and marine 

safety. Resource hours do not include such things as the time that the 

resource stands idle or the time that is spent in maintaining it. Coast 

Guard officials told us they estimate that the resource hours we use 

here would represent the employment in which approximately 77 percent 

of Coast Guard personnel spend their time.

[7] Small boats and aircraft resource hours also saw a shift away from 

law enforcement missions and toward homeland security.

[8] Coast Guard officials said that there were no significant increases 

in the resource hours for helicopters and fixed wing aircraft because 

of maintenance requirements and orders to stay within budget.

[9] Small boats saw shifts similar to patrol boats--that is, additional 

hours were spent on law enforcement in the most recent quarters--but 

the return to earlier levels was not as complete as it was for cutters.

[10] The First District is headquartered in Boston and is responsible 

for Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, 

Vermont, and parts of New York and New Jersey.

[11] The district defines security patrols as specific high-interest 

vessel security escorts or nonroutine security patrols.

[12] The Fifth District is headquartered in Portsmouth, Virginia, and 

is responsible for North Carolina, Virginia, the District of Columbia, 

Delaware, Maryland, and parts of New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

[13] The Eighth District is headquartered in New Orleans and is 

responsible for Colorado, Nebraska, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Texas, 

Kansas, Wyoming, Louisiana, Arkansas, North Dakota, South Dakota, 

Missouri, Mississippi, Iowa, Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee, West 

Virginia, and parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, 

Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Florida.

[14] The Eleventh District is headquartered in Alameda, California, and 

is responsible for Arizona, California, Nevada, and Utah.

[15] The Thirteenth District is headquartered in Seattle and is 

responsible for Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana.

[16] The district defines “ready cutter patrols” as having at least one 

patrol boat assigned to conducting full-time law enforcement 


[17] In addition to requesting $213 million for new mission-related 

initiatives, the Coast Guard is also requesting the following other 

increases: $172 million for pay increases and military personnel 

entitlements; $123 million in various technical adjustments; $49 

million in other expenditures, such as reserve training; and $14 

million for capital expenditures. The budget request also includes $1.2 

billion in retirement-related costs for current and future retirees, 

according to Coast Guard officials. These retirement-related costs were 

included in response to proposed legislation (Managerial Flexibility 

Act of 2001 [S.1612]) directing agencies to fully fund the future 

pension and health benefits of their current workforces. Although this 

legislation has not been enacted, the Coast Guard complied with the 

administration’s requirement to include these costs in its fiscal year 

2003 budget request.

[18] These figures include boats funded through the fiscal year 2002 

supplemental appropriations. The supplemental appropriations funded 42 

of the 80 homeland security response boats, and all 4 of the coastal 

patrol boats.

[19] The maritime safety and security teams are each composed of 71 

personnel. They are under the administrative and operational control of 

the area commanders, but the tactical control of the local unit.

[20] Coast Guard: Challenges for Addressing Budget Constraints (GAO/

RCED-97-110, May 14, 1997) and Coast Guard: Review of Administrative 

and Support Functions (GAO/RCED-99-62R, Mar. 10, 1999).

[21] The Marine Exchange of Los Angeles and Long Beach operates the 

vessel traffic information system serving these two ports.

[22] The Coast Guard uses the term “Harbor Safety Committee” to refer 

to any port Marine Transportation System (MTS) coordinating body or 

committee in its guidance on the topic.

[23] In addition to these three types of measures, there is a fourth 

main type--one that relates efforts to accomplishments. Efficiency 

measures, which provide information about the cost of providing a 

certain level of service, are the most common form of effort measure. 

We have omitted this category of measurement here because the category, 

while important, is not as central as the other three for answering 

questions about returning to previous levels of effort and program 


[24] The Coast Guard collects and reports information about the number 

of hours that each resource, such as a cutter, a patrol boat, or a 

helicopter, is used for each type of mission. However, this asset-based 

information does not include mission-related time spent by other 

personnel. Coast Guard officials told us that new information systems 

currently under development are expected to provide a variety of 

information related to the tasks of these employees, such as the number 

of inspections performed or the number of boardings conducted.

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