Photo courtesy of AAPA
More than 30 U.S. ports will receive federal funding to protect critical port infrastructure from threats as part of the 2020 Port Security Grant Program, government officials said this week.
The grants from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provide $100 million to U.S. port authorities, including terminal operators, municipalities, and policing entities, for programs that protect ports from terrorism and that enhance or improve a range of security initiatives. The agency gave priority consideration for projects that enhance protection of soft targets/crowded places; enhance weapons of mass destruction and improvised explosive device prevention, detection, response, and recovery capabilities; enhance cybersecurity; and address emergent threats, such as unmanned aerial systems, according to FEMA.
The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) praised the efforts as vital to helping the nation’s ports prepare for evolving security threats.
“The Port Security Grant Program protects our country, our workers, and our supply chains. Ports large and small use these grants to stay vigilant, to ‘harden’ their facilities and networks, and to prepare for attacks. Even though it’s grotesque and difficult, critical infrastructure ports are targeted daily by terrorists around the world,” AAPA Government Relations Director and General Counsel Cary Davis said in a statement supporting the grants. “Our understanding about what threats look like are evolving, and the PSGP is evolving, too. Whether it’s attempted supply chain disruption, sophisticated and coordinated cross-border attacks, or novel cyber threats that transcend national borders, ports have security challenges like never before.”
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