Summary of Maritime Security Provisions in the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018

September 26, 2018

The package of bills released on September 22 that includes the FAA Authorization Act of 2018 also includes a division on maritime security, Division J. This division provides for closer collaboration between agencies with maritime security responsibilities, and requires several reports to Congress about ongoing security efforts.

The following is an overview of the maritime security provisions. Remember that committee staff have prepared a detailed section-by-section summary here. Always check the legislative text here and compare to underlying statutory provisions at


Interagency coordination. Division J includes several provisions requiring additional collaboration between entities with maritime security responsibilities.

  • Preventing Coast Guard/TSA duplication. Section 1803 directs the Commandant of the Coast Guard to coordinate with the Administrator of the TSA for adjacent security responsibilities to prevent duplication of efforts and close any security gaps.
  • Maritime Operations Coordination Plan. Section 1807 requires the Secretary of DHS to update the Maritime Operations Coordination Plan within 180 days of enactment, and then every two years, to strengthen coordination, planning, information sharing, and intelligence integration for maritime operations of DHS offices with responsibility for maritime security missions.
  • Duplication of air and maritime efforts. Section 1810 requires the GAO to report on duplication of Air and Maritime Operations activities by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and other agencies, and requires the Secretary of DHS to provide a report in response to the GAO report.
  • Maritime border security cooperation. Section 1814 requires the Coast Guard to partner with other federal, state, and local agencies to increase maritime border security at high-risk maritime borders by leveraging existing technologies, such as existing sensor and camera systems.
  • Repealing interagency operational centers for port security. Section 1809 repeals the requirement for the establishment of interagency operational centers for port security and secure systems of transportation (established by the SAFE Port Act of 2006)

Risk and threat assessments. Division J requires DHS and the Coast Guard to conduct assessments on cybersecurity risks relating to maritime transportation and terrorism and illicit good threats to seaports, respectively.

  • Cybersecurity risks to maritime transportation. Section 1805 requires the Commandant of the Coast Guard to develop a maritime cybersecurity risk assessment model to evaluate current and future cybersecurity risks that could affect the maritime transportation system. The Commandant is also required to establish a process to report and share maritime cybersecurity risks among maritime stakeholders, such as port owners and law enforcement, and report incidents to Congress.
  • Maritime border security threat assessment. Section 1813 requires DHS to conduct a maritime border threat assessment, including assessing improvements needed at seaports to prevent terrorism and the flow of durgs and other illicit goods.

Reports to Congress. Division J requires several reports to Congress on a variety of topics relating to maritime security, from the international supply chain to the Coast Guard’s Deployable Specialized Forces.

  • International supply chain security. Section 1804 requires the Secretary of DHS to provide a report to Congress every three years on any updates made to the strategic plan to enhance the security of the international supply chain.
  • Coast Guard deployable specialized forces. Section 1808 requires the GOA to report to Congress on the state of the Coast Guard’s Deployable Specialized Forces (DSF).
  • Maritime security capabilities assessments. Section 1811 requires the Secretary of DHS to annually report to Congress the number and type of maritime assets and personnel available to respond to maritime border incidents.
  • Container Security Initiative. Section 1812 requires the Secretary of DHS to provide an update to Congress on the effectiveness of and improvements needed to the Container Security Initiative.
  • Transportation worker identification credential appeals process. Section 1815 requires DHS to report to Congress on the average completion time of an appeal process for a transportation worker identification credential card, and reasons for the delay and recommendations for shortening the duration of the appeal process.

No notice facility inspections. Section 1806 requires the Commandant of the Coast Guard to ensure that vessels and facilities that may be involved in a security incident are given “no notice” security inspections at least once a year.

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