H.R. 4251: Securing Maritime Activities through Risk-based Targeting for Port Security Act

H.R. 4251

Securing Maritime Activities through Risk-based Targeting for Port Security Act

June 26, 2012 (112th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact

Floor Situation

On Tuesday, June 26, 2012, the House is scheduled to consider H.R. 4251, the Securing Maritime Activities through Risk-based Targeting (SMART) for Port Security Act, under a suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for approval.  H.R. 4251 was introduced by Rep. Candice Miller (R-MI) on March 22, 2012 and was referred to the Committee on Homeland Security.  The Homeland Security Committee held a mark-up session on June 6, 2012 and ordered the bill reported by a voice vote.   

Bill Summary

H.R. 4251 would authorize, enhance, and reform certain port security programs through increased efficiency and risk-based coordination within the Department of Homeland Security.




Sec. 101. Updates of Maritime Operations Coordination Plan.

This section would require the Department of Homeland Security to update the Department's Maritime Operations Coordination Plan (MOC-P), which was first released in July 2011.  This section would require the updated versions of the MOC-P be provided to Congress by July 1, 2014, and again on July 1, 2019.


Sec. 102. U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Air and Marine Asset Deployment.

This section would require the Department to ensure that any new asset deployments by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Air and Marine (OAM) are determined using a risk-based analysis.


Sec. 103. Cost-Benefit Analysis of Co-locating Operational Entities.

This section would require the Department to examine locations where CBP OAM and the U.S. Coast Guard both have maritime or aviation assets deployed, and to determine the potential for cost savings through co-location.


Sec. 104. Study of Maritime Security Redundancies.

This section would require GAO to review the Department's port security and maritime law enforcement operations within one year of enactment to identify duplicative, overlapping, or redundant activities, including the cost of such duplication. The GAO would be required to submit a report to the appropriate congressional committees on its findings, and provide recommendations for consolidation, elimination, or increased cooperation to reduce unnecessary duplication.


Sec. 105. Acquisition and Strategic Sourcing of Marine and Aviation Assets.

This section would require the Department to use best practices of strategic sourcing to streamline the acquisition process and reduce costs prior to acquiring new boats or aviation assets for the Department.  To achieve this, the Secretary would be required to establish a coordinating mechanism for aviation and maritime issues.


Sec. 106. Port Security Grant Program Management.

This section would set timelines for the responses the Department and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) must provide in regards to Port Security Grant applications. This section would require the Department and FEMA to respond to grant applicants no later than 180 days from the date their grant application was submitted.


Sec. 107. Port Security Grant Funding for Mandated Security Personnel.

This section would allow the use of Port Security Grant Program funds to pay limited overtime and backfill costs.


Sec. 108. Interagency Operational Centers of Port Security.

This section would require CBP and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to ensure they appoint at least one part-time liaison to each Interagency Operation Center (IOC). 


Sec. 109. Report on DHS Aviation Assets.

This section would require the GAO to submit a report to the Congress that analyzes the costs, capabilities, and missions associated with both unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and manned aircraft used by the Department.


Sec. 110. Small Vessel Threat Analysis.

This section would require the Department to conduct a risk assessment of a small vessel terrorist attack occurring in U.S. ports or against U.S. maritime interests.


Sec. 111. U.S. Customs and Border Protection Workforce Plan.

This section would require CBP to submit to Congress a plan for optimizing staffing levels for CBP to carry out the mission of the Department, including all border and port security functions.


Sec. 112. Integrated Cross-Border Maritime Operations Between the United States and Canada.

This section would provide Congressional authorization for the U.S. Coast Guard and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police maritime “Shiprider” program. The authorization would include funding of $2 million per year, which is the current level of funding for the program.


Sec. 113. Training and Certification of Training for Port Security.

This section would expand upon a provision from the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2010 that allowed grant funds provided under the Port Security Grant Program (PSGP) to be used to pay for training of State and local law enforcement officers in enforcing maritime security zones.  This section would allow PSGP grants to be used for other types of maritime security training and certification, and would ensure that training programs will be developed in consultation with the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC).


Sec. 114. Northern Border Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Pilot Project.

This section would authorize the Department to establish a pilot project to facilitate the safe integration of medium-sized UAVs into the National airspace in order to carry out border and maritime security missions.  This pilot would specifically test UAVs along the Northern Border, and would ensure that UAVs are properly tested for integration into the National Airspace as required by the FAA Authorization Act, within the unique environment of the Northern Border.


Sec. 115. Recognition of Port Security Assessments Conducted by Other Entities.

This section would allow the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) to recognize port security threat assessments conducted by a foreign nation or international organization, such as the European Union, provided that the assessment is equivalent to a USCG inspection.


Sec. 116. Use of Port Security Grant Funds for Replacement of Security Equipment or Facilities.

This section would allow Port Security Grant Program funds to be used to purchase the replacement of old equipment or facilities.  Under current law and regulations, port security grant recipients may only use grant funds for acquisition, operation, and maintenance of current port security equipment.




Sec. 201. Strategic Plan to Enhance the Security of the International Supply Chain.

This section would require the Department to provide a detailed strategy focused on reducing unnecessary redundancies, building resiliency, and utilizing existing resources, technology, and concepts. The strategy should also consider providing incentives for the private sector to improve global supply chain security and should include measurable goals and metrics to measure success of the strategy.


Sec. 202. Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism.

This section would authorize CBP to conduct unannounced inspections for a Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) member company, if the company has a history of violations. Additionally, this section would allow CBP to share sensitive information regarding threats to the private sector between and among C-TPAT participants providing recognizable benefits for voluntary participation in the program.


Sec. 203. Recognition of Other Countries' Trusted Shipper Programs.

This section would authorize CBP to provide mutual recognition of another country's trusted shipper program, provided the country reciprocates to C-TPAT member companies, and the other country's program provides an equivalent level of security to C-TPAT.


Sec. 204. Pilot Program for Inclusion of Non-Asset Based Third-Party Logistics Providers in the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism.

This section would require CBP to create a pilot program to test the security value and efficacy of allowing third-party logistics (3PL) companies into the C-TPAT program.  (3PLs are non-asset based companies, working with outside companies to arrange the international transportation of freight)


Sec. 205. Transportation Worker Identification Credential Process Reform.

This section would direct the Secretary to reform the process for the enrollment, activation, issuance and renewal of the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) program.  Specifically, this section would allow TWIC applicants to conduct only one in-person visit to a TWIC enrollment center to process their application.  Under current law and regulations, TWIC applicants must visit TWIC enrollment centers at least twice to complete the process.


Sec. 206. Expiration of Certain Transportation Worker Identification Credentials.

This section would exempt current TWIC holders from the requirement to renew their credentials until the Department issues a final rule regarding electronic TWIC readers or June 30, 2014, whichever is earlier.


Sec. 207. Securing the Transportation Worker Identification Credential Against Use by Unauthorized Aliens.

This section would prevent unauthorized aliens from being able to acquire a TWIC by directing the Secretary to modify the enrollment and distribution process to require an applicant to present proof of U.S. citizenship or authorization to work in the United States when applying.  Furthermore, the Secretary would be required to modify the TWIC enrollment process so that a TWIC will expire upon the same date that a TWIC holder's work authorization or visa will expire; whichever comes sooner.


Sec. 208. Report on Federal Transportation Security Credentialing Programs.

This section would require the Secretary to submit a report to Congress within 180 days identifying unnecessary redundancies or overlaps in Federal transportation security credentialing programs, including recommendations to reduce or eliminate such redundancies or overlaps.


According to H. Rept. 112-521 from the Committee on Homeland Security, “Securing our waterways is an essential component of a layered approach to security.  A major disruption at one of the Nation's ports, especially a terrorist attack, is a high consequence event that has the potential to cripple the global supply chain and severely damage our economy and cost lives.

“Smart, cost-effective security choices based on legitimate risk have to be made in order to secure the Nation's ports and costal waterways.

“The SMART Port Security Act builds on the work of the Security and Accountability For Every Port Act of 2006 to enhance risk-based security measures overseas before the threat reaches our shores, emphasizing a stronger collaborative environment between and among the components of the Department of Homeland Security in sharing port security duties.

“Based on a series of oversight hearings, the Committee learned that cooperation and coordination between the U.S. Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection, and other State and local partners, should be more fully developed.  This will allow the Department to perform its maritime security mission, at a reduced cost.

“The SMART Port Act encourages the Department to coordinate within the components to effectively secure the maritime environment, recognizes that maritime security is not the province of the Federal Government alone, and emphasizes the importance of partnerships with the private sector and international partners.”


According to Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the bill would cost $9 million over the next five years, assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts. Changes to the Transportation Worker Identification Credentials program could affect offsetting receipts and subsequent direct spending; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures apply.  CBO estimates, however, that the net impact of any such effects would not be significant in any year.  Enacting H.R. 4251 would not affect revenues.