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Marine Log

July 7, 2006

AAPA welcomes changes to port security grant program

The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) has welcomed news from the Office of Grants and Training within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that Round 6 of the Port Security Grant program is now open for applications.

As part of a unified Infrastructure Protection Program this year, the sixth round of Port Security Grant awards will provide $168 million to eligible applicants, while the remainder of the $175 million Congress appropriated for this year's program will pay for administrating it.

"This year's appropriation represents a 17 percent increase over the $150 million that Congress appropriated for port facility security grants in fiscal year 2005," said Kurt Nagle, AAPA president and CEO. "This year, for the first time, eligible ports will also be able to apply for grants related to operation and maintenance of facility security, although costs for security personnel are still ineligible."

Nagle noted that while AAPA applauds these incremental changes to this year's Port Security Grant program, it is still "hopeful that new legislation now being considered in the House and Senate will bring port security funding levels up to AAPA's recommended $400 million a year level, which is still considerably less than U.S. ports are spending each year on their facility security."

The "GreenLane Maritime Cargo Security Act" on the Senate side (S. 2459), and the "SAFE Port Act" in the House (H.R. 4954), both have provisions to fund port facility security at $400 million a year between FY 2007 and FY 2012. The SAFE Port Act has been approved by the House and GreenLane bill has been approved by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs and is awaiting floor action.

In addition to greater funding, another major change for this year's Port Security Grant program is a minimum 25 percent match requirement for all public sector applicants, as envisioned in the Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA).

As required last year, private sector applicants must provide a minimum 50 percent match.

Round 6 of the Port Security Grant program continues the risk-based allocation used in the FY'05 program but opens the application process to 101 ports instead of just 66 that could apply last year.

This expansion responds to concerns raised by AAPA that all facilities required to comply with MTSA should be eligible for grant funds. This year's program begins a new coordinated planning process and focuses on the implementation of the Port Wide Risk Management Planning Process in all eligible ports.

According to Susan Monteverde, AAPA's vice president of government relations, the FY'06 Port Security Grant program outlines the same priorities as last year, with the addition of maritime domain awareness. She said applicants are welcome to apply for other port security improvements, but special consideration will be given to applications that address one or more of the national port security priorities:

Prevention and detection of underwater improvised explosive device (IED) attacks;

Prevention and detection of IED attacks by small craft;

Prevention and detection of vehicle-borne IED attacks on ferries; and,

Enhancement of the port area's Maritime Domain Awareness (e.g., access control/standardized credentialing, command, control, communications, and enhanced intelligence sharing and analysis).

Upon completion of the grant application process, DHS will announce the winners of Round 6 awardees on its Web site, https://www.portsecuritygrants.dottsa.net.

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