The House Homeland Security Committee on Wednesday is scheduled to edit H.R. 4251, the SMART Port Security Act.
The bill is designed to authorize and enhance existing Department of Homeland Security programs for port and cargo security that are based on risk management principles.
The full title of the bill
is the "Securing Maritime Activities through Risk-based Targeting for Port Security Act."
Among other things it would require DHS to:
Look for redundant maritime security programs.
- Establish a multi-agency coordination plan for maritime operations.
- Require DHS to make quicker decisions on port security grant applications.
- Require a workforce plan for Customs and Border Protection to ensure border security.
- Develop a strategic plan for international supply chain security (the White House and DHS recently published a global supply chain security strategy).
- Allow unannounced inspections of C-TPAT companies and promote more information sharing about threats with private sector security partners.
- Notify Congress of pending mutual recognition agreements with other countries on sharing information about vetted companies in C-TPAT-style programs.
- Establish a pilot program for non-asset based logistics providers to participate in C-TPAT.
- Speed up issuance of a final rule for technology to automatically read the Transportation Worker Identification Credential.
The National Retail Federation wrote the committee expressing support for the bill, but asked that it include a provision to waive the requirements of the 9/11 Act to scan all U.S.-bound maritime cargo containers at overseas locations.
DHS has already notified Congress that it will seek a two-year waiver allowed under the law because of implementation challenges, including the enormous cost of technology and concerns with disrupting trade. Industry and many foreign governments strongly oppose attempts to inspect all ocean boxes and many lawmakers have acknowledged the law is not feasible. - Eric Kulisch