Ports spent only 23.6 percent of $1.7 billion in port security grants that the Department of Homeland Security awarded between fiscal 2006 and 2010, according to a Government Accountability Office report released Monday.
The GAO said one-fourth, or $407.7 million, of the grant funds are unavailable to ports because they have not completed preliminary steps, such as compliance with federal requirements. And in some cases, the port has not identified how the money is to be spent. About $873 million is still available.
The government watchdog agency also said that DHS should tweak the model it uses to award grants on the basis of threat, vulnerability and consequence to include a measure of how a port’s vulnerability has changed from previous security investments.
The GAO also said that the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which administers the port grant program, is implementing performance measures to assess how well it is managing the program.