Saturday, January 21, 2012

John Bennett's MPS Blog Post About NMSAC Meeting Jan. 18, 2012

My good friend and fellow blogger, John Bennett, was present via phone at the meeting of the National Maritime Security Advisory Committee held in Washington DC Jan. 18-19, 2012. He has an excellent report of the meeting on his blog at Maritime Protective Services, at Members of the MTSA community should check this blog on a regular basis and particularly read all posts by John on the NMSAC meeting. Below is the portion concerning MTSA 2, which I am reproducing below. This update from the Coast Guard contains the same ominous language regarding screening and NVIC 06-04 that I have noted in earlier posts.

“Updating the MTSA Regulations

The NMSAC Executive Director was then asked to address to long-gestating “MTSA II” regulatory update of the original regulations promulgated to implement the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002. He started with the premise that the Administrative Procedure Act, which lays out the hoops through which the Government has to jump to produce regulations, limits the detail in which regulatory proposals can be disclosed outside formal rulemaking channels. The plan is to incorporate into the existing regulations lessons learned through experience with the current regulations, including numerous Policy Advisory Council decisions and screening standards from Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular (NVIC) 06-04, as well as new provisions implementing the additional requirements of the SAFE Port Act. This would not be a complete rewrite of the existing regulations.

The Coast Guard had hoped to have the NPRM out last summer, but this was not to be. The proposal needs internal DHS scrutiny and then OMB review before it can be published. The Coast Guard will have several public meetings on the proposal once it’s published. As a constantly moving target, these are hard to budget for. Asked about the impact of pending SAFE Port Act legislation, he replied that, as currently drafted, it had little impact on the Coast Guard. Later, during the public comment period, my good friend and fellow blogger, Laurie Thomas asked if MTSA II would reconcile earlier MARAD-approved Facility Security Officer training with the requirements contained in the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2010 [in Section 821]. Captain Kiefer replied that this would be addressed in a separate rulemaking, probably in 2013, although the Coast Guard might put out an interim policy sooner. If so, that would be run by NMSAC first. Laurie also noted that NVIC 06-04 set a very high standard for screening. She asked if the Coast Guard had conducted anysurvey of industry screening practices and suggested, based on experience gained while training Facility Security Officers, that there would be substantial industry push back if the Coast Guard attempted to make the voluntary standards of the NVIC compulsory. Captain Kiefer thanked her for providing that information about the industry. A NMSAC member proposed that the Committee come up with suggestions for inclusion in the rulemaking, rather than waiting for USCG taskings on specific issues.”

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