THE MAGAZINE

Port security

In a recent report, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reviewed the Coast Guard's progress in conducting threat assessments on the nation's most valuable ports. The GAO found that the assessment efforts already conducted were often duplicated by the ports themselves when applying for homeland security grants. Also, many assessments proved more expensive and less useful than anticipated. To help address these problems, notes the report, the Coast Guard implemented a geographic information system (GIS), a computer mapping system that has many information layers so that information can be easily updated and retrieved. However, though the system holds promise, the GAO voiced concern that not enough planning has been done to ensure that the system works consistently and at a reasonable cost. The Coast Guard responded positively to the report and agreed to take the recommended steps to define the functional requirements of the GIS system and to develop a plan for long-term implementation. @ The full report is available at SM Online.

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