Because the safety and economic security of the United States depend in substantial part on the security of its 361 seaports, the United States has a vital national interest in maritime security. The Security and Accountability for Every Port Act (SAFE Port Act), modified existing legislation and created and codified new programs related to maritime security. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its U.S. Coast Guard, Transportation Security Agency, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection have key maritime security responsibilities. This testimony synthesizes the results of GAO's completed work and preliminary observations from GAO's ongoing work related to the SAFE Port Act pertaining to (1) overall port security, (2) security at individual facilities, and (3) cargo container security. To perform this work GAO visited domestic and overseas ports; reviewed agency program documents, port security plans, and post-exercise reports; and interviewed officials from the federal, state, local, private, and international sectors.
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