Combating Terrorism:

Preliminary Observations on Weaknesses in Force Protection for DOD Deployments Through Domestic Seaports

GAO-02-955TNI: Published: Jul 23, 2002. Publicly Released: Jul 23, 2002.

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Raymond J. Decker
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To protect personnel, equipment, and assets, military commanders are required to apply a risk management approach to determine the likelihood that a threat will harm physical assets or individuals and to identify actions to reduce risk and mitigate the consequences of an attack. Uncertainties about seaport security environments exist because comprehensive assessments of threat, vulnerability, and critical port infrastructure and functions have not been completed, and because there is no effective mechanism to coordinate and disseminate threat information at seaports. GAO identified two significant weaknesses associated with the Department of Defense's (DOD) force protection process for deployments through domestic seaports. First, DOD lacks a central authority for overseeing, coordinating, and executing force protection measures while military forces deploy from domestic installations through U.S. seaports. Second, during some stages of deployment, DOD relinquishes control over its military equipment to non-DOD entities, including foreign-owned ships crewed by non-U.S. citizens.

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