Monday, December 19, 2011

New GAO Reports on MSRAM and the Port Security Grant Program

Today, 12/19/2011, the Government Accountability Office released the following reports:

Coast Guard: Security Risk Model Meets DHS Criteria, but More Training Could Enhance its Use for Managing Programs and Operations. GAO-12-14, November 17.

Port Security Grant Program: Risk Model, Grant Management, and Effectiveness Measures Could Be Strengthened. GAO-12-47, November 17.

From GAO-12-14, the MSRAM report:

Why GAO Did This Study

Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the nation’s ports and waterways have been viewed as potential targets of attack. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has called for using risk-informed approaches to prioritize its investments, and for developing plans and allocating resources that balance security and the flow of commerce. The U.S. Coast Guard—a DHS component and the lead federal agency responsible for maritime security—has used its Maritime Security Risk Analysis Model (MSRAM) as its primary approach for assessing and managing security risks. GAO was asked to examine (1) the extent to which the Coast Guard’s risk assessment approach aligns with DHS risk assessment criteria, (2) the extent to which the Coast Guard has used MSRAM to inform maritime security risk decisions, and (3) how the Coast Guard has measured the impact of its maritime security programs on risk in U.S. ports and waterways. GAO analyzed MSRAM’s risk assessment methodology and interviewed Coast Guard officials about risk assessment and MSRAM’s use across the agency.

What GAO Recommends

GAO recommends that the Coast Guard provide more thorough documentation on MSRAM’s assumptions and other sources of uncertainty, make MSRAM available for peer review, implement additional MSRAM training, and report the results of its risk reduction performance measure in a manner consistent with risk analysis criteria. The Coast Guard agreed with these recommendations.

From GAO 12-47, the PSGP report:

Why GAO Did This Study

From fiscal years 2006 through 2010, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has awarded nearly $1.7 billion dollars to port areas through its Port Security Grant Program (PSGP) to protect critical maritime infrastructure and the public from terrorist attacks. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)––a DHS component agency––is the agency responsible for distributing grant funds. GAO was asked to evaluate the extent to which DHS has (1) allocated PSGP funds in accordance with risk; (2) encountered challenges in administering the grant program and what actions, if any, DHS has taken to overcome these challenges; and (3) evaluated the effectiveness of the PSGP. To address these objectives, GAO reviewed the PSGP risk model, funding allocation methodology, grant distribution data, and program documents, such as PSGP guidance. Additionally, GAO interviewed DHS and port officials about grant processes, funding distribution, and program challenges, among other things.

What GAO Recommends

GAO recommends that DHS strengthen its methodology for measuring vulnerability in ports by accounting for how past security investments reduce vulnerability and by using the most precise data available. GAO also recommends that DHS evaluate the cost-share waiver review process and take steps to expedite the process where appropriate and develop a plan with milestones for implementing performance measures for the PSGP. DHS concurred with GAO’s recommendations.

More to follow on these reports.

No comments:

Post a Comment