AAPA Applauds House Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee For FY’20 Funding Bill
Bill would add 1,200 CBP officers; increase Port Security Grant funding
United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding legislation approved today (June 5) by the House Appropriations Committee’s Homeland Security Subcommittee is being heralded as a “win” for ports by the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) … the unified and recognized voice of America’s seaports.
From AAPA’s perspective, the bill’s key milestones include an increase in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers by 1,200, an additional $10 million for the Port Security Grant Program (bringing it to $110 million), and resources for hiring another 240 agricultural specialists, which inspect America’s food imports.
AAPA President and CEO Kurt Nagle praised House Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee Chair Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) and Ranking Member Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN) for their leadership to help the agency in charge of examining, protecting and clearing America’s overseas cargo and passengers move closer to getting the resources it needs to effectively carry out its mission.
In an April 3 letter to House and Senate Appropriations Committee leaders, AAPA recommended that a minimum of 600 new CBP officers be hired annually, above the current annual attrition rate of 700 CBP officers, and that the Port Security Grant Program (PSGP) be funded at its full $400 million authorized level. Additionally, AAPA requested that appropriators work with CBP on its staffing model to develop a mechanism to send a greater proportion of CBP staffing resources to seaports.
AAPA’s The State of Freight IV: Port Security Grant Program Report, released in January, found that only a quarter of PSGP funding is going to port authorities, while 60 percent is going to public sector entities such as fire, police and Emergency Medical Services entities that already have other federal funding sources to draw from. Additionally, 15 percent of that funding is going to the private sector.
In that report, AAPA members identified upwards of $4 billion in port security investment needs for port authorities alone over the next decade, which works out to $400 million annually.
“But the $4 billion in port authority needs is just a small slice of the total required to ensure we have safe and efficient ports,” stated Mr. Nagle. “Cargo activities at our nation’s ports account for over a quarter of our nation’s economy. New threats to port authorities, communities and the supply chain have recently emerged, such as cyber hacking, active shooters and soft targets. It’s vital to understand and appreciate how security threats evolve, and that the Port Security Grant Program delivers great value in an ever-morphing security landscape.”
Founded in 1912 and recognized as the unified voice of seaports in the Americas, AAPA today represents 130 of the leading seaport authorities in the United States, Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean and more than 200 sustaining and associate members, firms and individuals with an interest in seaports. According to IHS Markit’s World Trade Service, combined international sea trade moving through Western Hemisphere ports in 2017 totaled 4.303 billion metric tons in volume and US$2.675 trillion in value. Of that total, ports in Central and South America handled 1.741 billion metric tons of cargo valued at US$1.024 trillion, while North American ports handled 1.90 billion metric tons of goods, valued at US$2.305 trillion. To meet the growing demand for trade, the AAPA and its members are committed to keeping seaports navigable, secure and sustainable. For more information, visit www.aapa-ports.org. On Twitter: http://twitter.com/AAPA_Seaports