U.S. Representative Candice Miller (MI-10), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security, today announced that her legislation, H.R.4251, the Securing Maritime Activities through Risk-based Targeting (SMART) for Port Security Act, will be considered for a vote by the full U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday. Miller's bipartisan legislation builds on the work of the 2006 SAFE Port Act to enhance risk-based security measures overseas before the threat reaches our shores, emphasizes a stronger collaborative environment between the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) in sharing port security duties, and leverages the maritime security work of our trusted allies, while requiring the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to find cost savings. Miller said:
"The SMART Port Security Act will tangibly enhance the nation's maritime security. While much of the discussion about border security is often focused on security threats at the southern and northern borders, both at and between the ports of entry, it is important to remember that we have a vast maritime border that also deserves our attention. 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 could severely damage our economy. We cannot afford to ignore threats to our nation's maritime security.
"To that end, the SMART Port Security Act enhances risk-based security measures overseas before the threat reaches our shores, emphasizes a stronger collaborative environment between CBP and USCG in sharing port security duties, and leverages the maritime security work of our trusted allies. If we learned anything after 9/11, is that we need to move from the need to know to the need to share. Smart, cost effective choices have to be made that maximizes our resources while ensuring the security of our ports -- and by extension our way of life. This bill is a step toward smarter security that encourages DHS to be more efficient, better integrated, and more closely coordinated amongst its components, industry, and international partners. I look forward to debating my measure on the Floor of the House and a swift passage."
* Reduces redundancies by allowing DHS to recognize other countries' Trusted Shipper Programs, in addition to allowing the USCG to recognize other governments' or organizations' port security threat assessments;
* Requires DHS to update the Maritime Operations Coordination Plan to enhance interagency cooperation;
* Seeks to improve efficiency and save taxpayer dollars by commissioning a report to study possible cost savings by having the USCG and CBP share facilities, as well as requiring CBP to use standard practices and risk-based assessments when deploying assets;
* Institutes changes to the Transportation Worker Identification Credentials (TWIC) program to prompt DHS to install readers, improve efficiency for enrollees, and prevent unauthorized use.
* Requires DHS to develop a more in-depth strategic plan for global supply chain security with a focus on providing incentives for the private sector and measurable goals.
* Passed by voice vote from both the Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security and the Full Homeland Security Committee.