The U.S. Department of Transportation advanced its port security efforts as
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta announced that TRW
Inc. has been selected to perform Port Vulnerability Assessments (PVA) under
contract to the Coast Guard for the nation's most critical commercial and
military seaports. This selection follows the successful implementation the
Department's new Port Security Grants Program, which provides funding for
port security enhancements.
"Securing our nation's ports and maritime transportation system is a vital
component of our overarching transportation security mission," said
Secretary Mineta. "These assessments will improve our understanding of
vulnerabilities in port infrastructure and systems, and help reduce our
susceptibility to hostile or criminal acts."
Under a blanket purchase agreement, TRW will develop model port security
guidelines as recommended in the August 2000 Report of the Interagency
Commission on Crime and Security in U. S. Seaports; develop methods for and
conduct PVAs for at least 55 ports throughout the United States; and develop
a port vulnerability self-assessment methodology to help local port
stakeholders evaluate security conditions and make improvements within their
"This issue is a very high priority for the Bush Administration, and
for the Department of Transportation," said Associate Under Secretary of
Transportation for Maritime and Land Security, Rear Admiral Richard E.
Bennis. "With more than 25,000 miles of navigable waterways and over 350
ports, the nation's maritime system presents one of our greatest security
Groundwork for the PVA program began in 1999 when the U.S. Coast
Guard reviewed methods used by federal and state agencies to assess the
strengths and weaknesses of U.S. ports. The U.S. Coast Guard used this
experience and research to finalize the requirements for a comprehensive
analysis of ports and critical infrastructure.
"Model Port attributes and Port Vulnerability Assessments are critical tools
to ensure industry and government dollars are spent wisely to address risks
in our ports," said Admiral James M. Loy, Commandant of the U.S. Coast
Guard. "These assessments, done in cooperation with port stakeholders, will
improve port planning and harden our ports against terrorist attack."
In addition, the Department has received an enthusiastic response from
public port facilities to the Port Security Grant Program, which is funded
by Congress at $93.3 million for FY 2002. These competitive grants will be
awarded in June to critical national seaports to finance the cost of
enhancing facility and operational security. The program provides grants
for Security Assessments and Mitigation Strategies, and Enhanced Facility
and Operational Security. President Bush's FY 2003 budget includes key
funding for new port security initiatives including port vulnerability
assessments, U.S. Coast Guard maritime safety and security teams and port
intelligence and investigative teams.
The Administration is also working to enact maritime security legislation
that will provide long-term tools for security planning and international
coordination, including enhanced authority for the Department of
Transportation and the U.S. Coast Guard to broaden safety and security
operations, and to improve maritime security enforcement.