Funding short for port security, GAO says

The Coast Guard faces budget challenges in obtaining the $260 million it estimates is needed to upgrade its command centers to meet the requirements of the Safe Port Act of 2006, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.

The act authorizes the Homeland Security Department to establish interagency operations centers at high-priority ports within three years. The centers are to assist in information sharing for improved decision making.

The act also directed that the new centers utilize the same composition and operations of existing Coast Guard sector command centers. But according to the Coast Guard, none of the existing 35 sector command centers currently meets the requirements of the act, the report states.

However, four joint operations centers the Coast Guard has established with the Navy are a significant step in meeting these requirements, the report states.

The Coast Guard has developed a five-year plan for creating the interagency operations centers and is sponsoring pilot projects to test several approaches, GAO said.

However, the Coast Guard faces budget constraints in fulfilling the requirements of the act in a timely manner, GAO concluded.

Alice Lipowicz writes for Washington Technology, an 1105 Government Information Group publication.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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