As part of international efforts to ensure maritime safety and security--and to carry out its mandates under the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002--the U.S. Coast Guard is developing an automatic identification system (AIS) that should enable it to monitor ships traveling to and through U.S. waters. For AIS to operate nationwide, ships need equipment to transmit and receive AIS signals, and the Coast Guard needs shore stations and designated radio frequencies to keep track of the ships' identities and movements. Yet unresolved frequency issues between the Coast Guard and a private company, MariTEL, have come before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). GAO reviewed federal agencies' progress in developing AIS nationwide and identified certain challenges and opportunities in completing the work.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|United States Coast Guard||1. To help reduce federal costs and speed development of AIS nationwide, depending on the outcome of the expected FCC response, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Commandant of the Coast Guard to seek and take advantage of opportunities to partner with organizations willing to develop AIS systems at their own expense.|