The House Judiciary Committee approved the Fiscal Year 2008 authorization bill
for the U.S. Coast Guard. The legislation has already cleared the House Homeland Security Committee
and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
Prior to final approval, the Judiciary Committee added language strengthening the Coast Guard’s ability to combat maritime smugglers of illegal immigrants and would rachet up security at ports and liquefied natural gas facilities. It would also increase funding for the Coast Guard’s controversial Project Deepwater program designed
to modernize its fleet. The addition of $229m for the program would restore deepwater acquisition funding to its F.Y. 2007 level of $1.2b. The bill would also tighten up the management of the program by requiring a civilian to fill the new position of chief acquisition officer and prohibiting Lockheed Martin
and Northrop Grumman from continuing to act as lead contractors for the program.
The bill, under its security provisions, authorizes the Coast Guard to create a Maritime Security Response team on the Pacific coast to complement the one already assigned to the east coast. It also authorizes pilot programs to test radiological and nuclear detection devices on Coast Guard ships. [Source: http://portsecuritynews.com]