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Lower Mississippi River Port-wide Strategic Security Council Did Not Always Properly Manage, Distribute, or Spend Port Security Grant Funds

Executive Summary

The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Port Security Grant Program (PSGP), which is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), provides funding to port authorities, facility operators, and other eligible entities to help protect critical port infrastructure from terrorism. FEMA awarded the Lower Mississippi River Port-wide Strategic Security Council (Council) approximately $108 million in PSGP grant funds from fiscal years 2008 to 2013. We determined whether the Council managed, distributed, and spent PSGP funds in compliance with Federal laws, regulations, and guidance. About 73 percent of the nearly $108 million awarded to the Council to protect critical port infrastructure remains unspent. In addition, we identified more than $9.2 million in questioned costs. This occurred because the Council did not always follow Federal laws, regulations, or grant guidance; and FEMA failed to provide proper oversight. As a result, major Lower Mississippi River ports may be less prepared in the event of a terrorist attack.

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