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Port Security Radiation Portal Monitors Need Better Management and Planning

Feb 7, 2013
Reports

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security, released the below statement in response to a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) report on the nation's port security efforts. The report, entitled "United States Customs and Border Protection's Radiation Portal Monitors at Seaports" (OIG-13-26) found that while the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are meeting the statutory mandate to deploy and use Radiation Portal Monitors (RPMs) to screen cargo containers at US ports with the highest volume, the agencies do not fully coordinate or centrally manage the radiation portal monitor program to ensure effective and efficient operations.

Specifically, CBP does not consistently gather and review utilization information to ensure that it is fully utilizing all RPMs. Neither DNDO nor CBP accurately tracks and monitors their inventory of RPMs. The report concludes that given the RPM's limited life cycles and the lack of funding for new monitors, CBP and DNDO should better coordinate to fully utilize, promptly relocate, and properly maintain inventory to best use resources and to continue screening of all containerized cargo entering U.S. seaports. From FY2002 to FY2011, $623 million has been spent on the RPM program.

Ranking Member Thompson released the following statement on the report:

"Unfortunately, this report shows that this critical port security technology – which can potentially detect nuclear weapons or radioactive material entering the U.S. – is not being managed as effectively as it must be. With limited resources to scan the millions of containers entering the US each year, we cannot afford to mismanage this critical technology resource. I urge DNDO and CBP to follow through on the Inspector General's recommendations and enact the necessary changes to track and monitor this critical equipment."

Link to Report

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Media Contact: Adam Comis at (202) 225-9978