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Homeland Security/Law Enforcement: TSA's Security Assessments (2011-24)

The Transportation Security Administration's security assessments on commercial trucking companies overlap with those of another agency, but efforts are under way to address the overlap.

Action:

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) could improve interagency coordination by sharing each other's schedules for conducting future security reviews, and avoid scheduling reviews on hazardous materials trucking companies that have recently received, or are scheduled to receive, a review from the other agency. TSA could also discontinue conducting voluntary security reviews on hazardous materials trucking companies, thereby enabling TSA to increase its security efforts in other areas.

Progress:

In August 2011, TSA reported that the agency had discontinued conducting security reviews on trucking companies that are covered by the FMCSA program. Discontinuing such reviews should eliminate the short-term overlap between TSA's and FMCSA's reviews of hazardous materials trucking companies.

Implementing Entity:

Transportation Security Administration, Department of Transportation

Action:

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) could request that the full results of past Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) security reviews of trucking companies be provided through an existing Department of Transportation (DOT) web portal. Doing so would require cooperation from FMCSA.

Progress:

Based on changes in TSA's involvement in assessing hazardous materials trucking companies, GAO is no longer assessing this action. In March 2014, TSA officials stated that FMCSA's security data are available to TSA on an as-needed basis, and that TSA had determined that this level of data access is all TSA needs at this time. TSA officials further stated that TSA has obtained security information from FMCSA on multiple occasions as needed and has received full cooperation from FMCSA. Moreover, TSA officials stated that they have not needed access to the more comprehensive information that DOT's web portal would provide. According to TSA, the information obtained from FMCSA is used to conduct cost-benefit analysis, prioritize agency work plans, and manage risk. As GAO reported in March 2011, comprehensive access to the results of FMCSA's reviews from the DOT web portal could enable TSA to leverage security information on the hazardous materials trucking companies that have received FMCSA reviews. However, since TSA has discontinued its reviews of these trucking companies, is no longer pursuing regulatory responsibility for them, and has received information from FMCSA when needed, GAO is no longer tracking the extent to which TSA has access to this comprehensive information.

Implementing Entity:

Transportation Security Administration

Action:

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) should continue efforts toward TSA's stated long-term goal of TSA assuming full regulatory responsibility from FMCSA for commercial trucking security, thereby reducing fragmentation.

Progress:

Based on changes in TSA's plans to pursue regulatory responsibility for commercial trucking security, GAO is no longer assessing this action. TSA is not proceeding with plans to assume full regulatory responsibility from FMCSA for commercial trucking security, as TSA had stated it planned to do in GAO's March 2011 report. In October 2011, TSA reported that the agency had drafted proposed regulations for hazardous materials trucking security, which would give TSA regulatory responsibility for this area, and that the proposed regulations were undergoing TSA review. However, in August 2013, TSA officials stated that TSA is not planning to pursue any further development or implementation of the regulations, and noted in March 2014 that TSA is not required to do so. TSA officials further stated in August 2013 that doing so would increase costs for TSA and not result in cost savings to the government because TSA would have to hire staff to oversee compliance with the regulations and FMCSA would not decrease its staff numbers. In September 2013, FMCSA officials stated that if security compliance reviews were eliminated from FMCSA's duties, FMCSA would not reduce its staffing; however, the agency would redirect its staff to address commercial trucking safety issues. In March 2014, TSA officials stated that they planned to meet with FMCSA later that month to discuss the agencies' ongoing efforts to secure the transportation sector. Since TSA is no longer pursuing regulatory responsibility for commercial trucking security, GAO is no longer tracking progress toward this goal.

Implementing Entity:

Transportation Security Administration, Department of Transportation
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