Tuesday, October 12, 2010

New Port Security Training Provisions in HR 3619

Below is a comparison between the port security training provisions of the The Security and Accountability For Every Port Act of 2006 (SAFEPort Act) and the USCG Authorization Act 0f 2011 (HR 3619.) HR 3619 has been passed by Congress and is awaiting the President’s signature.

SAFEPORT Act Provisions (Sec. 113)

This was a wider piece of legislation whose intent was to establish a Port Security Training Program, to enhance the security preparedness of regulated facilities. This Program was supposed to provide validated ( not defined) training to
• multiple port security stakeholders
• at the awareness, performance, management, and planning levels
• addressing many port security topics, including cargo theft and container security
• that supports the many national plans
• is evaluated against clear and consistent performance measures ( no further guidance provided)
• addresses the security requirements contained in facility security plans
• includes education of the neighborhoods surrounding the facilities.

This Act was passed four years ago. There is no Port Security Training Program.

USCG Authorization Act of 2011

Section 821 is Port Security Training and Certification, and it will have a major effect on the training of facility security officers. (It is unclear to me if the framers of this law intended it to refer to persons regulated under 33 CFR 105.205 or 33 CFR 105.210 or both. I am assuming that “facility security officers” refers to 105.205 but that might not be a valid assumption. Persons who don’t work with MTSA on a regular basis can be derailed by the difference between “officer” and “personnel” in this context.) This section repeals Section 113 of the SAFEPort Act.

This section establishes a training program leading to certification for FSO’s. In putting together this training program, DHS must work with affected industry stakeholders (details of collaboration not given), and evaluate existing training programs already in place at terminals, programs already developed by the government, and also factor in the

This program is to provide validated training (not defined)
• at the awareness, performance, management, and planning levels
• utilizes multiple training media and methods
• establishes an on-line certification methodology
• provides for continuing education for FSO’s beyond certification, including a program on shipping hazardous and especially hazardous cargo
• addresses a wide variety of port security topics.

These topics differ slightly from the list in the SAFEPort Act. Included are
• how to develop security plans
• requirements under ISPS for shore leave for mariners
• any other subject matter prescribed by DHS.

The following topics were not addressed under the SAFEPort Act.

1. Programs will be developed for Federal, state, and local officials with security responsibilities at United States seaports (unclear if this also applies to inland waters) to provide them with training about:
• port and shipping operations and MTSA
• dangers and issues connected with the shipments of hazardous and especially hazardous cargoes
• continuing education as deemed necessary

Author’s aside: It is gratifying to find that the University of Findlay is so far ahead of the curve with our DHS-certified training for first responders with 105 facilities in their jurisdictions, AWR 144 Port and Vessel Security for Public Safety and Maritime Personnel, which was approved in 2008 and has been presented in more than 40 locations across the U. S.

2. DHS is directed to work with MARAD and with institutions with maritime expertise and with industry stakeholders with security expertise to develop curriculum and deliver training. The partnership must have appropriate training capacity to ensure that training can be provided in a geographically balanced manner to personnel needing certification or education.

3. Development of curriculum and provision of training will now be eligible activities under homeland security or port security grants. This is a welcome modification of the port security grant program. Development of curriculum was not covered, and entities seeking to fund the expensive development process were often caught in a DHS shuffle. Denied a port security grant, they approached FEMA who declared the activities to be port security and directed them back to the port security grant program.

SUMMARY: While there are some interesting provisions in the training section of this new bill, it is unclear what will keep it from the fate of the training program enacted under the SAFEPort Act. It will take time for these provisions to be incorporated into the port and homeland security grant solicitations, and it will take the will to enforce.