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Fact Sheet: Protecting America's Seaports and Securing Cargo Shipments

February 05, 2004

Today's Presidential Action

In remarks on the War on Terror at the Port of Charleston, South Carolina, President Bush highlighted his commitment to protecting the homeland, including America's ports and increasing cargo security.

The President's FY 2005 budget requests resources for many important homeland security priorities. It includes a 9.7% increase in government-wide homeland security funding over FY 2004, nearly tripling the FY 2001 levels. It also includes a $3.6 billion (10%) overall increase over FY 2004 for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), doubling funding for DHS programs since FY 2001.

The President's budget demonstrated his commitment to port and cargo security. It includes:

  • $1.9 billion for DHS-wide port security efforts, an increase of 13% ($224 million) over FY 2004 and 628% ($1.6 billion) over FY 2001. These funds include $102 million for the Coast Guard to implement the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002, which sets security standards for certain vessels, port facilities, and critical offshore platforms.
  • A total of $6.6 billion to maintain and enhance border security activities, a 7% ($447 million) increase over FY 2004 and a 70% ($2.7 billion) increase over FY 2001.

Background: Protecting America's Seaports and Securing Cargo Shipments

The U.S. maritime transportation system is vital to the global economy. Over 95% of non-North American trade enters the country through U.S. seaports, and our seaports handle over $740 billion and 2 billion tons of domestic and international freight annually. Foreign vessels make 50,000 port calls annually.

Our seaports and maritime transportation infrastructure face a myriad of threats from the vessels, people, and cargo that move through them. Consistent with our approach to the overall War on Terrorism, our approach to seaport security calls for a layered defense that starts far beyond our mainland.

Supporting the Coast Guard: The FY 2005 budget request includes a 9% (nearly $500 million) increase for the United States Coast Guard, bringing total Coast Guard funding to $6.3 billion (a 64% increase over FY 2001).

  • Ensuring Security Before Cargo Ships Reach Port: These funds include $102 million for implementation of the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002 (MTSA). This initiative will enable Coast Guard to develop, review, and approve vessel and facility security plans, ensure foreign vessels are meeting security standards, enhance its intelligence capacity, and provide underwater detection capability to Maritime Safety and Security Teams.
  • Upgrading Coast Guard Ships and Technology: The budget also continues support for the Coast Guard's Integrated Deepwater System acquisition program, which is systematically replacing the Coast Guard's aging fleet of vessels, aircraft, and command and control systems. The FY 2005 budget funds Deepwater at $678 million, an increase of $10 million over the FY 2004 level.
  • Improving Information and Intelligence: The Coast Guard's maritime domain awareness programs will help us better understand what transits through or near our nation's waters. MTSA regulations require certain commercial vessels to install Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) by the end of 2004. AIS devices broadcast certain vessel information that helps identify and locate vessels in our maritime domain. The Coast Guard is on schedule to have AIS capabilities at each of its Vessel Traffic Service locations by the end of 2004, and is working towards a long-term goal of nationwide AIS coverage. Moreover, the Coast Guard established COASTWATCH, a process through which the intelligence community analyzes all-source information and intelligence on ships, crew, and cargo to identify security threats. Information from the intelligence community then helps the Coast Guard and other agencies to institute appropriate control measures before these vessels reach our seaports.

Increasing Cargo Screening and Border Security: The President's FY 2005 budget requests $450 million in new funding to maintain and enhance border security activities, including funding to expand pre-screening activities for cargo containers overseas, and for capabilities to better detect individuals attempting to illegally enter the United States. There are many important seaport and cargo security programs:

  • The Container Security Initiative (CSI) allows DHS to pre-screen cargo before it reaches our shores. The FY 2005 budget requests an increase of $25 million over the FY 2004 funding level. These funds will support CSI expansion into additional high-volume ports.
  • Radiation detection monitors are used to screen passengers and cargo coming into the United States. The FY 2005 budget includes $50 million for the next generation of radiation screening devices.
  • To better identify high-risk cargo and passengers, the budget includes an increase of $20.6 million for staffing and technology acquisition to support the National Targeting Center (NTC) as well as additional Customs and Border Patrol targeting systems, which are used to review advance manifests and other information to determine which shipments are higher-risk and require closer examination.
  • The Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) leverages public/private partnerships to improve security along the entire supply chain, from the factory floor, to foreign vendors, land borders, and seaports, while expediting border processing for legitimate shipments. The FY 2005 budget includes an increase of $20 million for C-TPAT. This initiative will allow for the development and approval security plans, ensuring foreign vessels arriving in the United States are in compliance with the new standards, and enhance its intelligence and surveillance capabilities.

Providing Grants for Port Security: The Department of Homeland Security's Port Security Grant Program provides resources for security planning and projects to improve dockside and perimeter security. In the last round of grant awards, some 442 projects in 326 locations from across the Nation received $179 million in funding. DHS also awarded an additional $245 million for port security in FY 2003. The President's FY 2005 budget provides $46 million for additional port security grants.

George W. Bush, Fact Sheet: Protecting America's Seaports and Securing Cargo Shipments Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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