U.S. ports, waterways, and coastal approaches are part of a system handling more than $700 billion in merchandise annually. With the many possible threats--including transportation and detonation of weapons of mass destruction, suicide attacks against vessels, and others--in the maritime domain, awareness of such threats could give the Coast Guard advance notice to help detect, deter, interdict, and defeat them and protect the U.S. homeland and economy. GAO was asked to review the Coast Guard's efforts to achieve awareness about activity in the maritime domain. This report addresses: the extent to which the Coast Guard (1) has vessel tracking systems in place, (2) can use these systems to track vessels that may be threats, and (3) has coordinated the development and implementation of these systems. To answer these questions, GAO analyzed relevant statutes, regulations, and plans for vessel tracking systems, compared the roles of the planned systems, and interviewed appropriate officials.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|United States Coast Guard
|To ensure efficient and effective use of Coast Guard resources available for long-range vessel tracking, upon completion of the commercially provided long-range AIS concept demonstration and the national AIS strategy and after the cost of commercially provided long-range AIS information becomes known, the Commandant of the Coast Guard should determine the extent to which duplicate vessel-tracking information from LRIT and commercially provided long-range AIS is needed to accomplish Coast Guard missions, particularly in light of information already available through national technical means.
Closed – Implemented