Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

February 23, 2006

How much has the U.S. spent on port security?

Filed under: Budgets and Spending,Port and Maritime Security — by Christian Beckner on February 23, 2006

In the Senate Armed Services hearing on the Dubai ports deal today, Sen. Levin made the following statement about spending on port security:

At the same time, it has been a constant struggle to devote adequate funds to strengthen port security. According to the Wall Street Journal, while $18 billion has been spent on airport security since 9/11, the amount spent on port security has been only $630 million.

This quote is taken from a story in today’s (2/23) edition of the Wall Street Journal; the story itself provides no detail as to the source of this statistic.

This figure of $630 million seems incorrectly low to me.
It’s very close to the total level of port security grants that have been allocated since 9/11 – the AAPA noted this total at $708m in a recent press statement.

But port security grants are NOT the totality of port security spending. The “ports, waterways, and coastal security” budget line item within the Coast Guard’s budget has totaled nearly $5 billion since FY 2003. ($1.25 billion in FY 2003, $1.26 billion in FY 2004, $1.21 billion in FY 2005 and $1.26 billion in FY 2006.) There is no similar estimate available for FY 2002, but it’s likely similar – I’ll estimate $1.1 billion. Not all of this is for port security per se, but a large share of it is – I’ll estimate 60%. Spending within Customs and Border Protection (CBP) on port security is harder to break down, but in FY 2006, the Container Security Initiative is funded at $139m, C-TPAT is at $54m, the National Targeting Center at $16m, Automated Targeting Systems at $28 million, and spending on radiation portal monitors at $125 million (some of which are for land borders). I’d imagine that there’s at least another $200-$300m within the entire $1.27 billion in CBP’s budget for border inspections for FTE’s at seaports (with the balance at land border checkpoints and international airports). That add ups to around $600m/year within CBP’s budget for port security, although prior years are significantly lower since many of these line items have only been introduced in the last 1-3 years. Finally, I’d add the Department of Energy’s Megaports initiative, funded at $74m this year and $28m in FY 2005.

All told, I’d have to estimate cumulative port security spending at $6.13 billion during the 4.5 years between the start of FY 2002 (Oct. 1, 2002) and the midpoint of FY 2006 (March 31, 2006).

Are we spending enough, however? As I’ve said in recent days, I don’t believe so. MTSA implementation has been underfunded, and there has never really been a “system-wide commitment” to the challenges of port security in the same way that the federal government has addressed the vulnerabilities of the commercial aviation system. But I think it’s important to provide fair spending estimates when engaging in this important debate.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • Reddit
  • Facebook
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email
  • Print
  • LinkedIn



Comment by William R. Cumming

February 23, 2006 @ 3:26 pm

How should federal expenditures for the security of an industry be viewed for both fiscal and economic analysis? Is this a direct subsidy or should it be fully recovered by user fees? It is interesting to note that virtually no informed analysis exists of who the hidden beneficiaries of Homeland Security spending are! Stanley Surrey developed the concept of tax expenditures for the tax world perhaps this should be done here. Surrey’s notion was that even exemptions and credits were in fact expenditures. With all the arguments about efficiency and effectiveness of federal programs, functions, and activities it is interesting that no one is really interested in determining whom or what organizations are the beneficiaries.


Comment by Howard Shatz

February 23, 2006 @ 8:34 pm

Hi Christian,

On grants alone, I count the following.
1. Five rounds of port security grants: $631.8 million.
2. One round of Urban Area Security Initiative grants for ports (May 2003): $75 million.
3. Three rounds of Operation Safe Commerce: $72.1 million

Total: $778.9 million in grants.

I believe there has been extra grant money for ports (albeit modest amounts) funneled through state governments. For example, California gave $4.95 million in grants in FY 2005 using Federal UASI money, if my details are correct.

I haven’t tried to total Federal Budget allocations for operations, as you have done.


Comment by Gerry

February 24, 2006 @ 9:20 am

Nice site….

The P&O issues is smoke. We all know P&O does not control port security. The Port Aurthorities and DHS does. The UAE ownership is also a red herring. Big deal! I could care less who owns what. I do care about what passes through though…

We have spent some 18 to 21 billion on AP Security and its marginal at best while we have only spent around 500 to 800 million et.el on port security. The Coast Guard is so under funded that they are having a hell of a time matching resources with money and missions. The FBI does not keep crime statistics categorized by whether they occur in seaports, as opposed to the general community. Thus, there is almost no way to determine whether crime on the waterfront is up or down. Port Security……

And Pete King is doing what? Drawing a line in the sand with Bush over P&O? Believe me I am not a happy camper with this administration at this point especially about Iraq while we gave and still give Iran a free pass…….but on this issue of P&O Bush is correct.

Pete King and Sue Collins need to stop the duckspeak and fix the problems…. Chuck Schumer needs to get a life……Joe “Rambo” Lieberman needs to walk the walk and Bernie Thompson needs to wake up! The RNC and DNC need to stop playing politics with national security.

The President? Needs to get a new set of advisors and Staffers….then he needs to take out the ear wax…..


Comment by Gerry

February 24, 2006 @ 5:35 pm

Let me clarify this….

“But port security grants are NOT the totality of port security spending. The “ports, waterways, and coastal security” budget line item within the Coast Guard’s budget has totaled nearly $5 billion since FY 2003. ($1.25 billion in FY 2003, $1.26 billion in FY 2004, $1.21 billion in FY 2005 and $1.26 billion in FY 2006.) There is no similar estimate available for FY 2002, but it’s likely similar – I’ll estimate $1.1 billion. Not all of this is for port security per se, but a large share of it is”

The bulk of USCG funding $5 Billion is directed at its operational expenses to cover all of its port security missions worldwide. This includes interdiction, port state control operations, vessel M&R, new builds, facilities including detection equipment which is a hugh chunk of change…and personnel… The figure of $630 million is the actual expendure for day-to-day port security operations covering US Ports….

It is estimated that the USCG needs somewhere around 12.5 Billion to do the job properly…..


Comment by William R. Cumming

February 25, 2006 @ 8:56 am

It would be interesting to see whether actual appropriations and obligations for the USCG “Deepwater” program of replacement of obsolete plans and ships has suffered in direct relationship to “Port Security”! Has Peter been robbed to pay Paul when both are critically needed.


Comment by Gerry

February 27, 2006 @ 11:01 am

Here you go…..

DHS OIG report on USCG mission performance

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a report on FY 2003 mission performance by the U.S. Coast Guard. While the agency is performing at a very high level, the OIG identified three major barriers to further improvements: (1) lack of a comprehensive performance management system; (2) growing workload; and (3) deteriorating readiness condition of its aged cutter and aircraft fleet. OIG-04-43 (10/12/04).

DHS Appropriations Act

The Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2005 (H.R. 4567) has been posted on the Internet. As indicated in the Summary reported yesterday, funding for the Department and its various agencies has been slightly increased. Among other things, the Coast Guard is provided with monies to hire additional personnel to review and examine security plans and procedures. The enrolled bill is being sent to the President for signature. (10/12/04).



Pingback by Homeland Security Watch » Blog Archive » DHS on total port security spending: $10 billion

February 28, 2006 @ 11:37 pm

[…] This is generally consistent with my estimate last week of total port security spending since 9/11, in which I estimated a total of $6.13 billion from the start of FY 2002 (Oct. 1, 2002) to the midpoint of the current fiscal year (FY 2006), given the fact that my estimate excludes 18 future months from the timetable of the DHS statistic. And my estimate has more spending in the earlier years (FY 2002 to FY 2004) and less spending than the totals suggested above for FY 2006 and FY 2007. […]

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>