Senate OKs new inspectors, technology for seaport security

Wrapping up a session with an unexpected amount of focus on transportation legislation, the Senate passed by unanimous consent a seaport security bill Thursday.

The seaport bill, which Senate Commerce Chairman Ernest Hollings, D-S.C., and the administration had worked out over the past several weeks, would authorize $1.2 billion for ports to upgrade security and for the U.S. Customs Service to add new inspectors, agents and technology to screen and detect potential threats.

The bill "creates mechanisms to integrate all these different security agencies and their efforts to improve the security of our seaports, and the railways and highways that converge at our seaports," Hollings said.

It also would guarantee up to $3.3 billion in loans to help seaports upgrade their security infrastructure. The House has not acted on the measure.

The bill would create a sea marshal program, require all ports to have a comprehensive security plan, require ports to limit access to sensitive areas, require ships to send their cargo manifests electronically before gaining clearance, and improve the reporting of ship personnel, cargo and passengers.

In order to reach agreement, Hollings agreed to many of the administration's suggestions on port security administration and agreed not to include additional funds to beef up rail security, which could have drawn numerous amendments or objections.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.