Coast Guard: Observations on the Preparation, Response, and	 
Recovery Missions Related to Hurricane Katrina (31-JUL-06,	 
GAO-06-903).							 
                                                                 
Hurricane Katrina was one of the largest natural disasters in our
nation's history. Significant federal, state, and local resources
were mobilized to respond to the Hurricane Katrina disaster,	 
including those of the U.S. Coast Guard. The Coast Guard played a
key role in the planning, response, and recovery efforts for	 
Hurricane Katrina in three mission areas: search and rescue,	 
marine pollution response, and management of maritime commerce.  
This report discusses the activities undertaken by the Coast	 
Guard, as well as the challenges and lessons learned as a result 
of the agency's efforts. More specifically, it focuses on (1) the
factors that prepared the Coast Guard to perform these three	 
mission areas in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina; (2) the	 
Coast Guard's response to Hurricane Katrina, the challenges it	 
faced in performing its missions, and its efforts to mitigate	 
these challenges; and (3) the implications and lessons learned,  
as identified by the Coast Guard, regarding the effect of	 
Hurricane Katrina surge operations on its people, assets,	 
financial resources, and operations. To determine the Coast	 
Guard's preparation factors, the challenges and lessons learned  
we interviewed officials responsible for preparing, and 	 
responding to disasters, and reviewed the Coast Guard's disaster 
guidance and plans. GAO is not making any recommendations in this
report. 							 
-------------------------Indexing Terms------------------------- 
REPORTNUM:   GAO-06-903 					        
    ACCNO:   A57841						        
  TITLE:     Coast Guard: Observations on the Preparation, Response,  
and Recovery Missions Related to Hurricane Katrina		 
     DATE:   07/31/2006 
  SUBJECT:   Coast Guard personnel				 
	     Disaster planning					 
	     Emergency preparedness				 
	     Hurricane Katrina					 
	     Natural disasters					 
	     Lessons learned					 
	     Agency missions					 

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GAO-06-903

                 United States Government Accountability Office

Report to Congressional Committees

GAO

July 2006

COAST GUARD

  Observations on the Preparation, Response, and Recovery Missions Related to
                               Hurricane Katrina

GAO-06-903

COAST GUARD

Observations on the Preparation, Response, and Recovery Missions Related
to Hurricane Katrina

  What GAO Found

Of the estimated 60,000 people left stranded by Hurricane Katrina, over
33,500 were saved by the Coast Guard. Precisely identifying why the Coast
Guard was able to respond as it did may be difficult, but underpinning
these efforts were factors such as the agency's operational principles.
These principles promote leadership, accountability, and enable personnel
to take responsibility and action, based on relevant authorities and
guidance. Another key factor was the agency's reliance on standardized
operations and maintenance practices that provided greater flexibility for
using personnel and assets from any operational unit for the response.
Up-to-date and regularly exercised hurricane plans were also
key-preserving Coast Guard personnel and resources first, so they could
then respond to search and rescue, marine environmental protection, and
facilitation of commerce needs after the storm. These various factors are
consistent with previous GAO findings on lessons learned from past
catastrophic disasters.

GAO's work shows that the Coast Guard was most relevant in search and
rescue, marine environmental protection, and management of maritime
commerce missions. While the Coast Guard performs these missions daily,
the severity of Hurricane Katrina presented the agency with several
challenges that required innovative approaches. The Coast Guard was able
to mitigate challenges caused by Hurricane Katrina's damage as a result of
planning, preparation, and assistance from Coast Guard Auxiliary members.

According to Coast Guard officials, the agency incurred no significant
damage to personnel, assets, operations, or financial resources as a
result of sending people and assets to the Gulf region. Although
continuing operations at ports nationwide while conducting Katrina
operations presented challenges, these challenges have been addressed to
mitigate negative impacts on the Coast Guard. Finally, the Coast Guard has
collected afteraction reports from Hurricane Katrina and has made them
available to Coast Guard personnel through an internal database.

       Helicopter Rescue Stranded Vessel in the Greater New Orleans Area

                 United States Government Accountability Office

                                    Contents

Letter               Results in Brief BackgroundSeveral Factors        1 3 
                        Prepared Coast Guard for Hurricane Katrina        4 9 
                        Operations Coast Guard Performed Hurricane         17 
                        Katrina Missions and Faced Several Challenges It   31 
                        Was Largely Able to Mitigate Coast Guard Managed   38 
                        the Impact of the Hurricane Response and         
                        Collected Information to Improve Future          
                        Responses Agency Comments                        
Appendix I           GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgments              42 
Related GAO Products                                                    43 
Tables                    Table 1: Coast Guard Active Duty, Civilian,      
                            Reserve, and Auxiliary Personnel Compared to      
                         Number of Personnel Operating in the Gulf Coast 
                        region during Peak Response, August 26-September 
                               16, 2005 Table 2: Coast Guard Asset Type, 
                         Homeport, and Number That Responded to the Gulf 
                           Coast Region during the Peak Response, August 
                         26-September 16, 2005 Table 3: Summary of Coast 
                           Guard Stafford Act Reimbursement Requests for 
                            Missions Conducted in Response to Hurricanes 8 34
                                  Katrina and Rita, as of April 12, 2006 37

Figures  
              Figure 1: Coast Guard C-130 Aircraft Used as a Communication
                  Platform, Also the Type of Aircraft Used to Transport   
                       Food, Water, and Supplies to the Gulf Coast Region  12 
              Figure 2: Map of Coast Guard Area Commands and Districts,   
                             Detail of Gulf Coast Region                   14 
                    Figure 3: Area Map of New Orleans, Louisiana           20 
             Figure 4: Helicopter Rescue in Response to Hurricane Katrina  22 
              Figure 5: Stranded Vessel in the Greater New Orleans Area    26 
             Figure 6: Coast Guard Personnel Servicing Aids to Navigation  29 

Abbreviations:

ARSC                  Aircraft Repair and Supply Center                    
ATC                   Aviation Training Center                             
COTP                  Captain of the Port                                  
DHS                   Department of Homeland Security                      
EPA                   Environmental Protection Agency                      
FEMA                  Federal Emergency Management Agency                  
NRP                   National Response Plan                               

This is a work of the U.S. government and is not subject to copyright
protection in the United States. It may be reproduced and distributed in
its entirety without further permission from GAO. However, because this
work may contain copyrighted images or other material, permission from the
copyright holder may be necessary if you wish to reproduce this material
separately.

United States Government Accountability Office Washington, DC 20548

July 31, 2006

Congressional Committees

Hurricane Katrina was one of the largest natural disasters in our nation's
history. In terms of its combined casualties, damage, and disruption to
the population, environment, and economy, Hurricane Katrina was clearly a
catastrophe and arguably the most devastating natural disaster in United
States history. More than 1,300 people lost their lives; damage stretched
over a 90,000 square mile area; more than a million people were driven
from their homes; buildings, bridges, roads, and power and communications
infrastructure were destroyed or severely damaged; and millions of gallons
of oil were spilled into the environment. We may never fully know the
financial cost of Hurricane Katrina, but one projection has put it at more
than $200 billion.

Two congressional committees that investigated and reported on Hurricane
Katrina activities were critical of several federal agencies' response.1
In contrast to some other federal agencies, the Coast Guard has generally
escaped criticism by these two investigations. Our work indicates that the
Coast Guard's major response to Hurricane Katrina was in three mission
areas: search and rescue, marine pollution response, and management of
maritime commerce.

This report discusses the activities undertaken by the Coast Guard, as
well as the challenges and lessons learned as a result of the agency's
efforts. More specifically, it focuses on

o  the factors that prepared the Coast Guard to perform in these three
mission areas during Hurricane Katrina;

1

House Select Bipartisan Committee to Investigate the Preparation for and
Response to Hurricane Katrina, A Failure of Initiative: Final Report of
the House Select Bipartisan Committee to Investigate the Preparation for
And Response to Hurricane Katrina, (Washington, D.C.: February 15, 2006),
and Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs,
Hurricane Katrina: A Nation Still Unprepared (Washington, D.C.: May 2006).
These committees were also critical of nonfederal entities, including
state and nongovernmental organizations.

     o the Coast Guard's response to Hurricane Katrina, the challenges it
       faced in performing its missions, and its efforts to mitigate the
       challenges; and
     o the implications and lessons learned, as identified by the Coast
       Guard, regarding the effect of Hurricane Katrina operations on its
       people, assets, financial resources, and operations.

In addition, we have undertaken a large body of work to address
preparation, response, recovery, and rebuilding efforts related to
Hurricane Katrina. Because of the widespread congressional interest in
these subjects, our work is being completed under the Comptroller
General's authority to conduct evaluations on his own initiative.2

To determine the factors used by the Coast Guard to prepare for Hurricane
Katrina, we interviewed officials responsible for planning, preparing for,
and responding to disasters, including Hurricane Katrina, as well as city
and state officials in areas affected by Hurricane Katrina and assisted by
the Coast Guard. In addition, we reviewed documents provided by two Coast
Guard districts, the Atlantic Area Command, and Coast Guard headquarters,
including national plans; Coast Guard severe weather,
continuity-of-operation, and mission-specific response plans; and Coast
Guard guidance and directives.

To obtain a more detailed understanding of the Coast Guard's response and
challenges related to Hurricane Katrina, we visited and conducted
interviews at Coast Guard locations, including districts and units that
supported the Hurricane Katrina response effort, as well as the affected
district and units in the Gulf Coast region. We also spoke with local
government and port officials. We selected these specific locations based
on several factors, including the proportion of Coast Guard assets
allocated to respond to Hurricane Katrina; proximity to the area
physically affected by the hurricane, specifically the Gulf Coast region;
and the Coast Guard's responsibility for response, including the Atlantic
Area Command and Coast Guard headquarters.

Finally, to determine the implications of sending people and assets to
respond to Hurricane Katrina and lessons learned, we spoke to officials
responsible for identifying and prioritizing the people and assets to send
to

31 U.S.C. S: 717(b)(1).

                                Results in Brief

the Gulf Coast region, to personnel sent to the region to respond to
Hurricane Katrina, and to personnel who were stationed in the region. We
reviewed resource allocation data, and financial guidance and documents,
and spoke with officials responsible for these areas within the Coast
Guard. To assess the reliability of the personnel, asset, and financial
data, we spoke with agency officials knowledgeable in these specific
areas. We determined that the data were sufficiently reliable for the
purposes of this report.

We conducted our work between October 2005 and June 2006 in accordance
with generally accepted government auditing standards.

Results in Brief

Hurricane Katrina was one of the largest natural disasters to afflict the
United States. Of the estimated 60,000 people needing to be rescued from
rooftops and flooded homes, over 33,500 were saved by the Coast Guard.
Precisely identifying why the Coast Guard was able to respond as it did to
this disaster may be difficult, but underpinning these efforts were the
agency's operational principles that promote leadership, accountability,
and enable personnel to take responsibility and action, based on relevant
authorities and guidance. Another significant factor that allowed the
Coast Guard to confront the destruction brought on by Hurricane Katrina
was the agency's reliance on standardized operations and maintenance
practices that allowed the Coast Guard to respond with greater flexibility
using a mix of personnel and assets from any operational unit. Having
up-to-date and regularly exercised hurricane plans was another factor that
the Coast Guard employed to prepare for Hurricane Katrina enabling the
agency to implement its plans to confront the hurricane by first
preserving Coast Guard personnel and resources and then quickly responding
with search and rescue assistance, marine environmental protection
response, and facilitation of commerce measures-missions that the Coast
Guard conducts every day. GAO findings on lessons learned from past
catastrophic disasters have highlighted similar factors including such
things as the critical importance of (1) clearly defining and
communicating leadership roles, responsibilities, and lines of authority;
(2) conducting strong planning and robust training and exercise programs;
and

(3) strengthening response and recovery capabilities.

The Coast Guard's mission response to Hurricane Katrina centered most on
three mission areas: search and rescue, marine environmental protection
and management of maritime commerce. While the Coast Guard performs these
missions daily, the severity of Hurricane Katrina presented the agency
with several challenges that required innovative approaches-for example,
conducting a full scale search and rescue

                                   Background

mission without its full communications capacity. The Coast Guard was able
to mitigate the communication challenges caused by Hurricane Katrina's
damage as a result of advance planning and preparation, as well as
assistance from the Coast Guard Auxiliary. For example, to overcome
challenges resulting from communications outages following the storm,
Coast Guard personnel implemented plans that they had developed prior to
the storm that were not dependent upon communication systems to execute,
and they also relied on pre-staged communications equipment,
pre-distributed satellite and cell phones. In addition, Coast Guard
auxiliarists provided a critical communications relay for search and
rescue operations.

According to Coast Guard officials, the agency incurred no significant
losses to personnel, assets, operations, or financial resources as it
moved people and assets to the Gulf Coast region in response to Hurricane
Katrina. The Coast Guard conducted surge operations-which are
highintensity efforts often launched at short notice to address an
emergency situation-in response to Hurricane Katrina while it continued
operations at the homeports from where personnel and assets were borrowed.
To address the health effects stemming from the mental stress that Coast
Guard personnel experienced responding to Hurricane Katrina, the Coast
Guard deployed Critical Incident Stress Management teams. These teams
provided treatment to Coast Guard response personnel as well as to other
Coast Guard personnel from the region whose homes had been damaged or
destroyed. Finally, the Coast Guard has developed after action reports
related to the Hurricane Katrina response and has disseminated this
information to its personnel for use on other contingency planning efforts
through the agency's Contingency Preparedness System database-known as CG
SAILS.

Background

There are several federal legislative and executive provisions that
support preparation for and response to emergency situations. The Robert
T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (the Stafford
Act)3 primarily establishes the programs and processes for the federal
government to provide major disaster and emergency assistance to states,
local governments, tribal nations, individuals, and qualified private
nonprofit organizations. The Federal Emergency Management Agency

3

42 U.S.C. S:S: 5121-5206.

(FEMA), part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), has
responsibility for administering the provisions of the Stafford Act.

For Hurricane Katrina, the President issued emergency declarations under
the Stafford Act for Louisiana on August 27, 2005, and Mississippi and
Alabama on August 28, 2005. The President made major disaster declarations
for Florida on August 28, 2005, and Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama on
August 29, 2005, the same day that Hurricane Katrina made final landfall
in the affected states.

The Homeland Security Act of 2002 required the DHS to consolidate existing
federal government emergency response plans into a single, coordinated
national response plan. In December 2004, DHS issued the National Response
Plan (NRP), intended to be an all-discipline, all-hazards plan
establishing a single, comprehensive framework for the management of
domestic incidents where federal involvement is necessary. At the time of
Hurricane Katrina, the NRP applied only to incidents of national
significance, defined as actual or potential high-impact events that
require a coordinated and effective response by an appropriate combination
of federal, state, local, tribal, nongovernmental, or private sector
entities in order to save lives and minimize damage, and provide the basis
for longterm community recovery and mitigation activities.4 The NRP
includes planning assumptions, roles and responsibilities, concept of
operations, and incident management actions. The NRP also includes a
Catastrophic Incident Annex, which provides an accelerated, proactive
national response to a "catastrophic incident"-defined as any natural or
manmade incident, including terrorism, resulting in extraordinary levels
of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the
population,

On May 25, 2006, DHS revised the NRP to address certain weaknesses or
ambiguities identified following Hurricane Katrina. The revised NRP makes
clear that the Secretary of Homeland Security is responsible for declaring
and managing incidents of national significance such as Hurricane Katrina.
Incidents of lesser severity requiring federal involvement are also
subject to the NRP, but implementation of the NRP is to be scaled and
flexible depending on the nature of the event.

Page 5 GAO-06-903 Coast Guard

infrastructure, environment, economy, national morale, or government
functions.5

The Coast Guard's authority under federal law to conduct maritime
operations, such as search and rescue and port security, is continuously
in effect, rather than dependent upon a presidential Stafford Act
declaration or the implementation of the NRP. This ongoing authority
uniquely positioned the Coast Guard to respond to Hurricane Katrina before
the President made emergency or major disaster declarations under the
Stafford Act, or the Secretary of Homeland Security designated Katrina an
incident of national significance under the NRP. Concurrent with the Coast
Guard's historical missions and authorities, the NRP identifies the Coast
Guard as a primary agency in the oil and hazardous materials response, and
the support agency in six other emergency support functions, including
urban search and rescue, and aspects of clearing waterways.

The Coast Guard is responsible for performing a variety of homeland and
non-homeland security missions, including ensuring security in territorial
and international waters, and within U.S. ports, conducting search and
rescue, interdicting illegal drug shipments and illegal aliens, enforcing
fisheries laws, ensuring the safety and facilitation of commerce, and
responding to reports of marine pollution. According to Coast Guard
officials, they train for and perform these missions every day, in units
located all over the United States.

To conduct these missions, the Coast Guard employs a wide range of
personnel. In 2005, the Coast Guard consisted of about 39,000 active duty,
7,000 civilian, and 8,100 reserve members, for a total of approximately
54,100 personnel. The Coast Guard also has access to approximately

The responsibility for determining whether an incident of national
significance meets the NRP's definition of a "catastrophic incident" rests
with the Secretary of Homeland Security. The Secretary makes a
"catastrophic incident" designation to activate the provisions of the
annex. The Secretary declared Hurricane Katrina an incident of national
significance on August 30, 2005, but never declared it a catastrophic
incident. The revised NRP makes explicit that the Secretary could activate
the annex to address events that are projected to mature to catastrophic
proportions, such as strengthening hurricanes.

31,000 volunteer auxiliary members.6 During the peak response time period
for Hurricane Katrina, August 26-September 16, 2005, the Coast Guard had
approximately 5,600 personnel in the Gulf Coast region. About 53 percent
of these were active duty and civilian personnel who came from other parts
of the United States to assist in the response.

Table 1 shows the total number of personnel within the Coast Guard by
type, compared to the number of personnel who responded in the Gulf Coast
region during the August through September 2005 period.

The Coast Guard Auxiliary is a nonmilitary volunteer organization
administered by the Commandant of the Coast Guard under the direction of
the Secretary of Homeland Security. The Coast Guard Auxiliary was created
to assist the Coast Guard to promote safety and effect rescues on and over
the high seas and on navigable waters; promote efficiency in the operation
of motorboats and yachts; foster a wider knowledge of, and better
compliance with, the laws, rules, and regulations governing the operation
of motorboats and yachts; and facilitate other operations of the Coast
Guard.

Table 1: Coast Guard Active Duty, Civilian, Reserve, and Auxiliary
Personnel Compared to Number of Personnel Operating in the Gulf Coast
region during Peak Response, August 26-September 16, 2005

Coast Guard Approximate total number of personnel personnel Number of
personnel responding to Hurricane Katrina

Active duty 39,000 4,026

This includes Coast Guard personnel stationed in Alabama, Mississippi, and
      Louisiana (2,045); and the number of Coast Guard personnel sent to Gulf
                           Coast region from other geographical areas (1,981)

Civilian 7,000

This includes Coast Guard personnel stationed in Alabama, Mississippi, and
      Louisiana (170); and number of Coast Guard personnel sent to Gulf Coast
                                   region from other geographical areas (563)

Reserve 8,100

Auxiliary 31,000

                               Total 85,100 5,605

Source: GAO analysis of Coast Guard data.

Note: The number of auxiliary personnel is an estimate based on a total of
13,510 hours (563 days based on a 16-hour day) of operational and
administrative support for Hurricane Katrina operations.

Of the Coast Guard's 11 mission program areas identified in the Homeland
Security Act of 2002, 7 three are particularly relevant to the Hurricane
Katrina response.8 They are the following:

7

See 6 U.S.C. S: 468(a). The Coast Guard's 11 mission program areas include
ports, waterways, and coastal security; illegal drug interdiction;
undocumented migrant interdiction; defense readiness; other law
enforcement; search and rescue; living marine resources; aids to
navigation; ice operations; marine environmental protection; and marine
safety.

8

The Coast Guard noted that activities associated with its ports,
waterways, and coastal security mission program-which focus on protecting
the maritime domain, preventing terrorist attacks, and responding to and
recovering from those that do occur-were also heightened following
Hurricane Katrina. Activities performed under this mission program include
aerial, waterborne and shore surveillance patrols, vessel security
boardings, vessel escorts, and enforcement of international and domestic
security standards and regulations. According to the Coast Guard, ports,
waterways, and coastal security program activities were heightened, both
within the Gulf region and elsewhere, in recognition of the increased
regional vulnerability and national risk that could have resulted from the
consequences of an attack on the oil and chemical sector during this time.
However, the scope of our review focused on the three mission programs
that were most closely aligned and directly involved with the immediate
response to the natural disaster presented by Hurricane Katrina.

  Several Factors Prepared Coast Guard for Hurricane Katrina Operations

     o Finding and rescuing mariners in distress-a mainstay of Coast Guard
       operations under its search and rescue mission. To conduct this
       mission, the Coast Guard operates aircraft and boats throughout the
       nation's coastlines and interior waterways. The Coast Guard also
       operates a national distress and response communication system that
       facilitates communication with mariners in danger.
     o Marine environmental protection-a program area focused on preventing
       and responding to oil and chemical spills in the maritime environment,
       preventing the illegal dumping of plastics and garbage, and preventing
       biological invasions by aquatic nuisance species. The Coast Guard
       typically conducts this mission with locally based staff but also has
       specially trained and equipped teams that travel nationally and
       worldwide to attend to this mission when needed.
     o Managing waterways and providing a safe, efficient, and accessible
       marine transportation system-a mission area that includes such
       activities as maintaining the extensive system of navigation aids and
       monitoring and inspecting merchant vessels, among other activities.9

Several Factors Prepared Coast Guard for Hurricane Katrina Operations

Several factors, including operational principles, the use of standardized
practices, and planning, contributed to preparing the Coast Guard to
conduct its missions following Hurricane Katrina. The Coast Guard promotes
principles of leadership and accountability, whereby personnel are trained
to take responsibility and action, as needed, based on relevant
authorities and guidance. Organizational structure and standardization-of
training, assets, and exercises-allowed the Coast Guard to send personnel
and assets to the Gulf Coast region from units across the United States.
Also, the Coast Guard's focus on planning enabled personnel to learn
emergency processes and procedures to respond to situations like that of
Hurricane Katrina. These factors, which prepared the Coast Guard

9

One of the Coast Guard's key functions involves the facilitation of
maritime commerce and ensuring the security of waterways and waterside
facilities. These activities are typically conducted under several Coast
Guard mission programs, including marine safety; ports, waterways, coastal
security; and aids to navigation. Port security and commerce functions
within ports resides with the Coast Guard Captain of the Port, whose
responsibilities are summarized at 33 C.F.R. S:1.01-30.

Page 9 GAO-06-903 Coast Guard

to conduct its Hurricane Katrina missions, are also reflected in previous
GAO findings on lessons learned from past catastrophic disasters.10

Coast Guard Operational The Coast Guard response was aided by basic
operational principles. Principles Aided in Throughout our fieldwork,
Coast Guard officials referred to the seven Hurricane Katrina principles
of Coast Guard operations that guide the agency's operations,

and though they were not necessarily always referred to by name, the

Preparations themes were relayed to our staff frequently, and Coast Guard
personnel view these principles as instrumental in their preparation for
Hurricane Katrina. These principles collectively form the foundation of
Coast Guard culture and actions during operations.11

     o The Principle of Clear Objective directs every operation toward a
       clearly defined and attainable objective. The Commander's Intent, a
       commanding officer's general instruction to his/her subordinates,
       defined the objectives for Coast Guard units with regard to
       hurricanes, including to ensure the safety of personnel and assets,
       respond to statutory responsibilities (e.g., search and rescue), and
       reopen waterways as soon as possible.
     o The Principle of Effective Presence requires that the right assets and
       capabilities be at the right place at the right time. This also
       reflects the importance of assigning units depending on the
       anticipated need. For example, during the Hurricane Katrina response,
       the Coast Guard recognized the need to send security units to address
       security concerns during rescue operations.
     o The Principle of Unity of Effort describes the performance of
       cooperative operational objectives, by working in concert with
       different Coast Guard units and coordinating these efforts with a
       diverse set of governmental and nongovernmental entities. For example,
       the Coast Guard units worked with members of local area

10

GAO, Hurricane Katrina: GAO's Preliminary Observations Regarding
Preparedness, Response, and Recovery, GAO-06-442T (Washington, D.C.: March
8, 2006).

11

U.S. Department of Transportation, Coast Guard Publication 1, U.S. Coast
Guard: America's Maritime Guardian, (Washington, D.C.: 2002).

Page 10 GAO-06-903 Coast Guard

maritime security committees to address maritime-related issues and
coordinate security planning efforts.12

o  The Principle of On-Scene Initiative involves Coast Guard personnel
being given latitude to act quickly and decisively within the scope of
their authority, without waiting for direction from higher levels in the
chain of command. For example, during the initial response to Hurricane
Katrina, a junior-level C-130 pilot, who first arrived on-scene in New
Orleans with the planned mission of conducting an environmental inspection
overflight, recognized that search and rescue helicopters in the area
could not communicate with officials on the ground, including those
located at hospitals and at safe landing areas. This pilot took the
initiative to redirect her planned mission, changing it from an
environmental flight to creating the first airborne communication platform
in the area. Doing so helped ensure that critical information was relayed
to and from helicopter pilots conducting search and rescue so that they
could more safely and efficiently continue their vital mission. Figure 1
is a picture of the type of aircraft flown by this Coast Guard pilot.

Under the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002 (MTSA), the
Secretary of Homeland Security has authority to create area maritime
security committees at ports across the country to assist the Coast Guard
in addressing vulnerabilities and risks at the port level. See 46 U.S.C.
S: 70112(a) (2), 33 C.F.R. S: 103.310. Composed of representatives from
the federal, state, local and private sector, these committees provide a
forum for sharing information on issues related to port security. See 33
C.F.R. S: 103.305.

Page 11 GAO-06-903 Coast Guard

Figure 1: Coast Guard C-130 Aircraft Used as a Communication Platform,
Also the Type of Aircraft Used to Transport Food, Water, and Supplies to
the Gulf Coast Region

Source: GAO.

     o The Principle of Flexibility describes how the Coast Guard pursues
       multiple missions with the same people and assets by adjusting to a
       wide variety of tasks and circumstances. Following this principle
       allows the Coast Guard to conduct "surge operations," which are
       high-intensity efforts often launched at short notice in response to
       an emergency situation. The effect of surge operations is not only on
       people and units directly involved; it demands that the entire service
       adapt to find the resources to meet the needs of the surge operation
       while still continuing critical day-to-day operations. During the
       response to Hurricane Katrina, the Coast Guard found ways to send
       people and assets to the Gulf Coast region while maintaining required
       levels of readiness in homeports. For example, in District 1, Air
       Station Cape Cod, worked with Canadian counterparts to cover search
       and rescue needs in the area to minimize the impact of sending some
       air assets to respond to Hurricane Katrina.
          * The Principle of Managed Risk involves two dimensions: First, the
            commander is obligated to ensure that units are properly trained,
            equipped, and maintained, and second, the commander is obligated
            to assess the crew and equipment capabilities against the
          * operational situation to determine whether and how to execute a
            mission. For example, Coast Guard units in District 8 are
            required to develop and exercise hurricane plans. Figure 2
            illustrates Coast Guard Area Commands and Districts. In the face
            of an oncoming storm, the District Commander will order Coast
            Guard personnel and dependents to evacuate. Finally, once the
            storm passes, commanding officers have the discretion to assess
            the safety of deploying Coast Guard personnel and assets.
     o The Principle of Restraint reflects the obligation of Coast Guard
       personnel to act with good judgment and treat American citizens and
       foreign visitors with dignity. For example, Coast Guard rescue
       swimmers we spoke to indicated that they made efforts to keep
       evacuated families together and to handle frustrated evacuees with
       sensitivity.

 Figure 2: Map of Coast Guard Area Commands and Districts, Detail of Gulf Coast
                                     Region

                       Source: U.S. Coast Guard and GAO.

    Coast Guard Organizational Structure and Standardization Practices Supported
    Hurricane Katrina Preparations

Building upon its principles of operations, the Coast Guard's organization
and practice of standardization streamlines operations processes and works
to efficiently maintain assets. The Coast Guard has a broadly dispersed
organization and asset structure-that is, having personnel and assets
located throughout the United States to expedite the movement of assets to
respond to disasters.13 This organizational structure, coupled with the
Coast Guard's standardized training, allows the mixing of personnel and
assets from anywhere in the country to form operational response teams.
For Coast Guard asset mechanics, standardization means that they can
assess, repair, and maintain the same type of Coast Guard asset at any
unit at any time because they are required to have a common understanding
of the Coast Guard's standard maintenance and repair requirements for its
assets.

To ensure this consistency, the Coast Guard conducts on-site
inspections-called standardization reviews-at air and boat stations to
evaluate crew members' skills and knowledge and to inspect air and boat
assets. Standardization review teams are composed of experienced operators
whose mission it is to teach, examine, and evaluate the principles of
sound operations. For air operations, teams review standardized training
to ensure that flight operations are conducted in the safest possible
manner consistent with flight mission requirements, Coast Guard-wide.
According to the Coast Guard's air operations manual, standardization also
permits randomly selected aviators to form a disciplined, coordinated crew
on any aircraft. This directly supports the Coast Guard's ability to
provide a surge capability to meet rapidly escalating situations.
Similarly, for boat operations, teams conduct inspections to evaluate the
condition of boats and to review crew member proficiency in boat
operations. For the Hurricane Katrina response, standardization enabled
Coast Guard personnel from anywhere in the country to form unified crews
to perform operations and maintenance. For example, a helicopter pilot
from Florida, a copilot from Alabama, and a rescue swimmer from Alaska
formed a crew to perform numerous search and rescue operations.
Additionally, mechanics arriving at Aviation Training Center (ATC) Mobile
in the days after Hurricane Katrina's landfall

13

The Coast Guard is organized into two major commands that are responsible
for overall mission performance: one in the Pacific area and the other in
the Atlantic area, including the Gulf of Mexico region. These commands are
divided into nine districts, which in turn are organized into over 20 air
stations and 35 sectors that provide more localized command and control of
field units and resources, including approximately 188 multimission
stations and 119 patrol boats.

Page 15 GAO-06-903 Coast Guard

were able to perform maintenance on air assets deployed to the Gulf Coast
region from various Coast Guard units.

    Coast Guard Contingency Planning and Exercises Contributed to Hurricane
    Katrina Preparations

Based on the Coast Guard's organizational structure and its practice of
standardization, plans and complementary exercises are developed to
clarify processes and procedures (to learn which elements of a plan work
or need to be made more efficient) and to identify opportunities that
benefit from the Coast Guard's unique characteristics. According to Coast
Guard officials, prior to every hurricane season, specific severe weather
guidance is provided to Coast Guard units to describe procedures for
responding to a hurricane. For example, in the Gulf Coast region, units
within District 8 rely on guidance from their leadership (known as the
Commander's Intent), as well as the District Severe Weather/Hurricane Plan
and their own unit-focused hurricane plans, which would include plans for
continuity of operations in the event of an ordered evacuation.14 Coast
Guard officials stated that these plans are reviewed annually in the
spring to ensure an opportunity to practice evacuation, continuity of
operations, and personnel and facility preparedness.

According to the guidance, during a pending storm situation, the Coast
Guard maintains its ability to conduct search and rescue missions until it
is unsafe to do so; efforts are made to warn boaters of the impending bad
weather; dependents of Coast Guard personnel are evacuated in accordance
with the continuity of operations plans; units and their equipment are
secured; and assets (e.g., aircraft, including helicopters and planes, and
cutters, and other smaller boats) are moved away from the storm. Once the
storm clears the area, personnel and assets that were scattered will
reconstitute forces and return to the affected area to begin search and
rescue, homeland security, and other mission activities.

Consistent with these plans, before Hurricane Katrina made landfall, Coast
Guard units in the Gulf Coast region moved their command and control
centers out of the threat area, and staged assets and crews outside the
predicted storm path. For example, District 8 headquarters moved from New
Orleans, Louisiana, to St. Louis, Missouri, and Sector New Orleans Command
moved from New Orleans to Alexandria, Louisiana. Air assets

14

The Coast Guard mandates annual exercises for these Severe
Weather/Hurricane plans. For example, Districts 1 (New England), 5
(mid-Atlantic), 7 (Florida), and 8 (Gulf Coast region) must exercise their
Hurricane Plan; while District 9 (Great Lake region) must exercise its
Heavy Weather/Flood Plan.

Page 16 GAO-06-903 Coast Guard

were moved from Coast Guard air stations in the Gulf Coast region to
locations in Shreveport, Louisiana, and Jacksonville, Florida. Cutters
located in the Gulf Coast region moved to avoid the storm and into
positions to assist with poststorm efforts. The Coast Guard also activated
its mission-specific plans in preparation for Hurricane Katrina. For
example, in the marine environmental protection area, the Coast Guard
activated its area contingency plan and integrated the assistance of a
Coast Guard Strike Team with its specialized environmental response
capabilities. In particular, the Strike Team provided assistance in the
response to Hurricane Katrina, using its inventory of specialized
pollution response equipment and highly trained first response teams to
combat environmental pollution.

Previous GAO work identifies critical disaster preparation factors

Many of the lessons emerging from Hurricane Katrina are similar to those
GAO identified in past work on Hurricane Andrew, which destroyed much of
South Florida. Based on our previous review of preparing for and
responding to catastrophic disasters, we noted several critical factors
necessary to confront catastrophic disasters: (1) clearly defined and
communicated leadership roles, responsibilities, and lines of authority;

(2)
           strong planning and robust training and exercise programs; and

(3)
           strong response and recovery capabilities.15 In our review of the
           Coast Guard's hurricane preparation practices, it seems many of
           the factors we raised in the past, have been addressed by the
           Coast Guard.

    Previous GAO work identifies critical disaster preparation factors

  Coast Guard Performed Hurricane Katrina Missions and Faced Several Challenges
  It Was Largely Able to Mitigate

During the response to Hurricane Katrina, the Coast Guard performed
several functions, including search and rescue, marine pollution response,
and management of maritime commerce-missions it performs every day. As the
most destructive natural disaster in American history, Hurricane Katrina
caused tens of thousands of people to be rescued during several weeks
after the storm made landfall; spilled over 8 million gallons of oil, and
produced considerable debris, which polluted the Gulf Coast region; and in
the days following the storm, threatened maritime commerce. While
conducting its missions during Hurricane Katrina, the Coast Guard
experienced several unique challenges that required quick and innovative
thinking. The Coast Guard was able to mitigate communication challenges
caused by Hurricane Katrina's damage to communications infrastructure as a
result of planning, preparation, and assistance from Coast Guard

15

GAO, Hurricane Katrina: GAO's Preliminary Observations Regarding
Preparedness, Response, and Recovery, GAO-06-442T (Washington, D.C.: March
8, 2006).

Page 17 GAO-06-903 Coast Guard

Auxiliary members. Another challenge included the need to provide security
protection, particularly for search and rescue operations. Logistics also
proved a challenge as the Coast Guard worked to address food and water
needs of rescuees, as well as its own need for fuel.

Search and Rescue Was Coast Guard's Initial Hurricane Katrina Mission

After Hurricane Katrina made landfall, the primary mission was search and
rescue. As Hurricane Katrina caused damage and destruction for 90,000
square miles and precipitated an overwhelming flood in New Orleans,
Louisiana, tens of thousands of people needed to be rescued from their
homes. Some estimates are that about 60,000 people were rescued by
federal, state, and local officials after Hurricane Katrina made landfall,
and approximately 33,500 of them were rescued by the Coast Guard.16 The
military, of which the Coast Guard is a member, sent massive resources to
the Gulf Coast region to assist in Hurricane Katrina's response and
recovery.17 According to data from Coast Guard officials, during the peak
response period, the Coast Guard deployed approximately 4,000 of its
39,000 active duty personnel and deployed more than 45 percent of its air
assets to the Gulf Coast region from across the United States. Notably,
Coast Guard officials reported that air and boat operations, which
involved rescuing or evacuating over 33,500 people, were conducted over a
period of 17 days without any accidents or casualties. Rescue operations
began quickly, with the first rescue occurring approximately 9 hours
following Hurricane Katrina's landfall on August 29, 2005. By 12 hours
after landfall, approximately 29 Coast Guard helicopters were conducting
rescues over New Orleans.

Search and rescue operations, including both air and boat rescues, were
conducted by a number of agencies. Coast Guard officials involved in boat
operations told us that they worked closely with federal, state, and local
officials to conduct rescues. According to Coast Guard officials, the

16

Beginning on August 29, 2005 and continuing for about 17 days, Coast Guard
officials reported conducting 24,135 rescues of people by boat and
helicopter, and evacuating 9,409 people from hospitals, as a result of
Hurricane Katrina. By comparison, for all of 2004, the Coast Guard
responded to more than 32,000 calls for rescue assistance and saved nearly
5,500 lives.

17

To learn more about the Department of Defense and the National Guard
response to Hurricane Katrina, please see GAO, Hurricane Katrina: Better
Plans and Exercises Needed to Guide the Military's Response to
Catastrophic Natural Disasters, GAO-06-643 (Washington, D.C.: May 15,
2006).

agency leveraged approximately 130 boats and worked with FEMA teams to
conduct urban rescues in flooded New Orleans neighborhoods. Attempts were
also made to partner local responders with out-of-area responders in order
to share local knowledge and facilitate rescues. According to Coast Guard
officials involved in boat operations, personnel used Zephyr Field in
Jefferson Parish, as a base of operations and deployed boat convoys from
launching points such as bridges and highway overpasses. The boat rescues
that they were involved with continued through September 16, 2005, almost
3 weeks after the storm.

      Figure 3: Area Map of New Orleans, Louisiana

MISSISSIPPI

Tangipahoa Parish

LOUISIANA

St.Tammany Parish

Lake Ponchartrain

OrleansParish St,CharlesZephyr Field

        Parish

St. Bernard Parish

Jefferson Parish

Plaquemines Parish Lafourche Parish

GULF OF MEXICO

Source: USGS.

Coast Guard officials operating in the Gulf Coast region told us that 3
days into the response, approximately 43 aircraft and over 2,000 personnel
had arrived at the Aviation Training Center in Mobile, Alabama, from other
parts of the United States to join the Hurricane Katrina response. Rescue

Page 20 GAO-06-903 Coast Guard

swimmers-80 of whom were operating out of Air Station New Orleans at the
peak of air operations-worked among power lines, flying debris, and other
obstacles not routine to maritime rescues to hoist individuals from
rooftops. Helicopter crews also conducted search and rescue operations in
Mississippi, which, according to officials at the Aviation Training Center
in Mobile, Alabama, were completed within the first 36 hours following
Hurricane Katrina's landfall. Pilots who conducted rescues in Mississippi
explained that the first responder infrastructure in Mississippi was not
destroyed, as it was in New Orleans, and thus Mississippi police and fire
personnel were able to conduct many of the ground search and rescue
operations-allowing for quicker completion of the mission.

Coast Guard officials told us that they coordinated closely with various
responders for search and rescue operations. Specifically, the Louisiana
State Police provided police escorts and shared information regarding 911
calls, and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries provided
local knowledge of areas to be searched. The Louisiana Department of
Transportation also assisted response operations by providing two ferries
that were used to evacuate individuals across the Mississippi River to
higher ground. Coast Guard officials also explained that the Louisiana Air
National Guard provided assistance with transportation of evacuees by air
in some locations, and both were located at Zephyr Field delivering large
quantities of ready-to-eat meals and water to survivors at various
locations. Coast Guard officials explained that at the local level, the
New Orleans fire and police personnel accompanied search teams to provide
assistance and local knowledge. In addition, sheriff's office officials
from Jefferson Parish provided police escorts, and St. Bernard Parish
police and fire departments provided boat assets to Coast Guard disaster
assistance teams. On the north side of Lake Pontchartrain, the Coast Guard
coordinated search and rescue operations with the St. Tammany Parish
Sheriff. Figure 4 shows a Coast Guard helicopter hoisting a rescuee to
safety.

          Figure 4: Helicopter Rescue in Response to Hurricane Katrina

Source: U.S. Coast Guard.

However, some aspects of search and rescue operations were not as
efficient as they could have been. 18 For example, different organizations
involved in search and rescue did not always coordinate with each other.
In New Orleans, there were two separate command centers for search and
rescue operations, one being run by the Louisiana National Guard and one
being run by the Coast Guard. In addition, there was a lack of clear
search and rescue guidance across agencies because the National Response
Plan and the National Search and Rescue Plan had never been fully
integrated.19

Coast Guard Responded and Continues to Address Environmental Concerns

The Coast Guard oversaw the cleanup of over 8
million gallons of oil spilled as a result of Hurricane Katrina.20 As the
oil and chemical manufacturing industries have a significant presence in
the Gulf Coast region, particularly in Louisiana, the potential for an
unprecedented level

18 GAO, Hurricane Katrina: Better Plans and Exercises Needed to Guide the
Military's Response to Catastrophic Natural Disasters, GAO-06-643
(Washington, D.C.: May 15, 2006).

19

The National Search and Rescue Plan (1999) describes the roles and
responsibilities of federal agencies during different search and rescue
situations. The National Response Plan (2004), also provides guidance
regarding search and rescue; it did not fully incorporate the roles
previously described in the National Search and Rescue Plan.

20

To put this amount into perspective, the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill was
around 11 million gallons.

of oil and hazardous substance contamination, especially in and around New
Orleans, grew as Hurricane Katrina approached. To manage this response,
unified commands were set up with the Coast Guard and its partners in
advance of the storm.21 These commands were involved in a range of
decisions that allowed them to collectively assess the environmental
situation and make tactical decisions. Coast Guard and state officials
noted that persons representing federal, state, local, and industry
entities were involved in these commands, and they worked together to
manage the marine environmental protection response. As a result, Coast
Guard officials told us that they were as prepared as possible to manage
pollution events stemming from Hurricane Katrina.

According to Coast Guard and Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality
officials, the initial response to environmental concerns following
Hurricane Katrina involved multi-agency assessment teams. Following the
hurricane's landfall, these teams surveyed the entire coastal zone,
including all area ports, marinas, and related facilities. A state
official noted that assessment teams recorded the location and size of oil
spills and assessed the damage.22 He stated that it took two helicopters,
flying full-time for 3 weeks, to document all the debris to be cleaned up.
Coast Guard officials said they coordinated their environmental mission
priorities with other pressing Coast Guard missions by contracting for
rented commercial planes for their pollution assessment overflights,
rather than competing for aircraft needed to conduct pressing search and
rescue missions. In addition, boat crews involved in search and rescue
missions collected water samples to help document the damage to
infrastructure and threats to human health, such as sewage plant flooding.

Oil cleanup efforts were complicated by the magnitude of the spills and
the location of the spills. According to the Coast Guard, the oil appeared
as black film, covering dozens of neighborhoods and protected marshes and
swamps along the Mississippi River. Most spills occurred south of

21

Unified command is a unified team that manages an incident by establishing
a common set of incident objectives and strategies. It is a structure that
brings together the incident commanders of all major organizations
involved in an incident and provides a forum for these agencies to
coordinate an effective response and make consensus decisions. This is
accomplished without loss or abdication of agency or organizational
authority, responsibility, or accountability.

22

Photographs of the oil spills and debris were taken to document their
location and size. The photographs not only showed the progress of the
cleanup but established a record of the pollution and discouraged illegal
dumping of oil or hazardous material that could be intentionally released
and then attributed to the storm.

New Orleans as a result of ruptured and spilled oil tanks. The Coast Guard
estimated that 8 million gallons of oil were released, including 6 major
spills, 4 medium spills, and about 1,000 minor spills.23 For example, 1
spill in the city was notable because it affected approximately 1,800
homes. The oil residue could be seen on vacated homes months later, when
the odor of oil in the earth and debris still permeated the air. Another
significant spill came from the discharge of about 3 million to 4 million
gallons of oil dispersed into remote marshes, which were difficult to
reach and therefore difficult to clean up. In addition, the storm
destroyed 115 oil platforms offshore, significantly damaged 52, and set 19
adrift. Although, according to Coast Guard officials, there were no spills
of significance offshore.

To address the many spills, the Coast Guard reported that each pollution
incident was prioritized, investigated, and resolved either through a
private owner taking action to get it cleaned up or a rapid response team
providing on-site mitigation. However, clean up in many cases was
complicated by a number of environmental conditions, according to the
Coast Guard. For example, responders faced heat stress and dehydration as
well as a profusion of insects, poisonous snakes, and alligators as they
conducted clean up operations in remote locations. Responders also faced
uncertain communications, impassible roadways, and clogged waterways.

Overall, about 1,000 personnel from federal, state, and local agencies and
private industry were involved in the response to oil spills resulting
from Hurricane Katrina. At one sector, Mobile, Alabama, over 400 active
duty and reserve personnel were brought in from Coast Guard commands
throughout the United States, at various times, to assist with marine
environmental protection response. Recognizing the Coast Guard's role in
the prevention of spills, a Coast Guard official reported that numerous
medium and major hazardous material releases and oil spills were prevented
by response personnel. For example, response personnel removed oil and
hazardous materials with the potential to be released into navigable
waters from grounded vessels. In addition, Coast Guard Strike team members
repaired piping, and multi-agency entry teams conducted entries into
laboratories and chemical plants to recover hazardous

A major spill contains at least 100,000 gallons, and a medium spill
contains at least 10,000 gallons, while amounts less than 10,000 gallons
would be considered minor spills.

Page 24 GAO-06-903 Coast Guard

materials.24 Larger issues were addressed first, such as leaking propane
tanks that posed a threat to human health. Coast Guard officials also
noted that response personnel disposed of thousands of containers and
drums, some filled with petroleum products and pesticides.

In addition to undertaking the oil pollution response, the Coast Guard
also helped to address marine debris problems resulting from the over 620
commercial and recreational vessels that were sunk or grounded in the
aftermath of the storm. A Coast Guard official described "piles" of
shrimping vessels on dry ground. Figure 5 shows a damaged vessel stranded
on a front lawn. The Coast Guard established a Vessel Recovery Branch to
address those vessels leaking oil or having the potential to release oil
into navigable waters. A vessel database was also developed and provided
current information regarding vessel status and tracking information on
vessel owners. At the height of the vessel recovery operations, 82 Coast
Guard personnel supported this mission.

The U.S. Coast Guard National Strike Force is composed of 168 highly
trained professionals with specialized skills for combating environmental
pollution from oil discharges, hazardous substance and biological
releases, and weapons of mass destruction events. The Strike Force is
composed of three Strike Teams located in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf
Coast regions to allow for rapid deployment.

Page 25 GAO-06-903 Coast Guard

           Figure 5: Stranded Vessel in the Greater New Orleans Area

Source: GAO.

According to Coast Guard officials, marine pollution response, which began
after Hurricane Katrina moved through the region, is ongoing, with full
recovery not expected until at least 2007. For example, as of spring 2006,
in Mississippi, marine pollution cleanup was 50 percent complete.
According to Coast Guard personnel, members of the Gulf Strike Team
continue to support marine hazardous material recovery operations
involving abandoned drums and containers in Mississippi and Alabama. The
Coast Guard is also participating in an Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA)-led oil and hazardous waste removal and disposal effort inland along
coastal states. As of February 2006, a Coast Guard official estimated that
multi-agency environmental teams (consisting of Coast Guard, EPA, FEMA,
and state and local agencies) had addressed over 5,100 hazardous material
cases.

In addition, the Coast Guard has the mission assignment to remove all
marine debris from along the entire coast of Mississippi. A team of
federal and state partners identified over 235 sites in residential canals
that required marine debris removal action. Cleanup work on the 9 worst
sites has begun and is estimated to continue until at least 2007.

    Limited Maritime Commerce Restored in Four Days

Despite the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina, the Coast Guard reopened a
few ports and restored the movement of some commerce within days after
Hurricane Katrina struck. This quick response was important because U.S.
ports and waterways handle over 2 billion tons of cargo annually. Much of
that commerce flows through Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, and Mississippi-the
same coastal areas affected by Hurricane Katrina. For example, the Port of
New Orleans serves as the focal point for waterborne transportation of
cargo to 28 states, and its cargo activity supported $37 billion in
economic benefits to the country and generated $2.8 billion in federal tax
revenue, according to the American Association of Port Authorities. Senior
Coast Guard officials commanding certain Coast Guard units possess broad
authorities in their role as the Captain of the Port (COTP). This
authority includes the power to close or reopen ports within their
jurisdiction-an action taken by COTPs at Sector New Orleans, Mobile, and
Miami. To do this, a COTP typically works collaboratively with key
stakeholders, including the local Area Maritime Security Committee, Harbor
Safety Committee, port authorities, and industry officials to determine
when it is appropriate to close and then reopen a port for commerce. In
preparation for Hurricane Katrina, COTPs in the Gulf Coast region issued
Marine Safety Information Bulletins to provide information regarding
hurricane conditions at the various ports and projected timelines for port
closures. The bulletins informed the port communities of specific time
frames for prohibited and authorized operations at the ports.

Before a port is reopened, the COTP is to ensure that the waterways are
safe and navigable. One element of ensuring the safe facilitation of
commerce is the Coast Guard's Aids to Navigation program and its system of
aids. The aids to navigation system assists mariners in determining their
position and a safe course of travel, and warns them of dangers and
obstructions. The system typically consists of a series of devices, such
as buoys, beacons, and lighthouses that facilitate safe navigation. Coast
Guard officials reported that approximately 1,800 aids to navigation were
missing, relocated, or destroyed because of Hurricane Katrina. The aids to
navigation teams, which specialize in the maintenance of aids to
navigation equipment, were deployed to assess the damage and repair the
aids. Additionally, surveys conducted of the underwater and surface areas
along the Gulf Coast were coordinated with the Coast Guard, the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Army Corps of Engineers, and
the U.S. Navy and helped to determine the conditions of the waterways.
According to Coast Guard officials, the aids to navigation teams assisted
the COTPs to reopen the ports. The criteria used to close or reopen ports
consisted of a combination of factors such as the status of the aids to
navigation system, the status of various dock facilities, and the
availability of electrical power and marine pilots.25 The Coast Guard's
Standard Operating Procedures for District 8 call for a prioritized list
of aids to navigation in that district to help identify important repair
decisions to ensure that the aids to navigation most critical to the
waterways/facilitation of commerce are repaired first.

The damaged aids to navigation from Hurricane Katrina were a contributing
factor in the temporary closure of 11 ports in Louisiana, Mississippi,
Alabama, and Florida.26 Meanwhile, the Coast Guard was aware of the
importance of the Mississippi River to the nation's economy, particularly
the export of bulk grain. Despite the shipping disruptions along the Gulf
Coast, the Coast Guard reopened three ports 4 days after Hurricane Katrina
struck. Both the Ports of New Orleans and Mobile reopened Friday,
September 2, 2005, under travel restrictions.27 As of September 29, 2005,
about 4 weeks after Hurricane Katrina struck, 850 of the 1,350 aids to
navigation discrepancies identified by the Coast Guard were repaired with
permanent or temporary aids, and as of late June 2006, Coast Guard
officials stated that 149 aids to navigation discrepancies still needed to
be permanently or temporarily repaired. Of the 149 outstanding aids to
navigation discrepancies, Coast Guard officials reported that 67 temporary
repairs have been completed. The remaining discrepancies are planned for
repair by the end of July 2006, contingent upon the completion of waterway
dredging, calm weather, and availability of an appropriate inland
construction cutter. Figure 6 shows the Coast Guard repairing aids to
navigation.

25

For the purposes of this report, a marine pilot is a person licensed under
state or federal law who assumes responsibility for a vessel at a
particular place for the purpose of navigating it through a river or a
channel or from or into a port.

26

Affected ports included New Orleans, Mobile, Gulfport, Baton Rouge,
Pensacola, Panama City, Pascagoula, Biloxi, Bayou La Batre, Port Fourchon,
and Morgan City.

27

The COTP will activate maritime travel restrictions when waterways are
difficult to navigate. These restrictions might include travel of ships
only in the daytime or allowing only certain size ships to travel on the
waterways.

          Figure 6: Coast Guard Personnel Servicing Aids to Navigation

                           Source: U.S. Coast Guard.

Coast Guard Confronted Several Challenges in Conducting Hurricane
Katrina Operations  

The Coast Guard experienced personnel security,
communications, and logistics challenges during the
Hurricane Katrina response. However, it  was able to
adapt its existing capabilities to confront those challenges.

o  Personnel security concerns. District 8 officials
explained that as the days of operations lengthened and citizens remained
stranded, security capabilities became an important component of rescue
operations. For example, Coast Guard rescue swimmers we interviewed told
us that their own personal security became a concern as stranded
individuals became increasingly frustrated because they had no food or
water. In some instances, tensions among survivors became heated when
rescue swimmers had to prioritize rescues of children, women, and the
elderly over ablebodied men. To address such concerns, rescue swimmers
employed various tactics, including deploying 2 swimmers at one time
(which is not standard procedure)-one swimmer to triage victims, and the
other swimmer to assist in hoisting victims into the helicopter. Rescue
swimmers also learned to use their skills as negotiators by assigning a
citizen leader from within a group of irritated survivors to promote
order. For boat operations, officials explained that they deployed Coast
Guard security teams to provide security coverage for both Coast Guard and
FEMA search and rescue personnel.28

o  Communication challenges. The Coast Guard was able to mitigate
communications challenges caused by Hurricane Katrina's damage to
communications infrastructure as a result of planning, preparation, and
assistance from Coast Guard Auxiliary members. Aware that communications
systems could be heavily damaged or destroyed during a natural disaster,
Coast Guard officials had developed plans that were not reliant on
communications systems and allowed personnel to act independently or with
limited guidance from commanding officers. In addition, Coast Guard
personnel prestaged emergency communications equipment-such as a mobile
communications unit-and distributed satellite phones and cell phones to
mitigate communications infrastructure breakdowns.29 After the storm
passed, Coast Guard personnel procured two-way radios, utilized text
messaging when cell phones could not make calls, and opened commercial
e-mail accounts when the agency's own data network was down. In addition,
the Coast Guard auxiliarists provided communications capabilities after
the storm passed, including establishing a communications relay critical
for conducting search and rescue operations.

28

The security teams consisted of Maritime Safety and Security Teams
(MSSTs), which were established after September 11, 2001, and designed to
provide quick-response capabilities to protect U.S. ports and waterways;
and Port Security Units (PSUs), which are composed of Coast Guard reserve
personnel and trained to provide port security and harbor defense duties
for military assets overseas.

29

Although Coast Guard after-action reports indicate that mobile
communications units did not provide communications capabilities needed
for operations, officials in District 8 told us that these units were
useful in providing communications support.

     o Lack of food and water. According to Coast Guard officials, addressing
       food and water shortages in the days following Katrina's landfall
       became an important part of rescue operations. To address these
       shortages, Coast Guard personnel from other regions flew food and
       water to New Orleans, and personnel at Air Station New Orleans
       distributed their own emergency food and water supplies to survivors.
       Helicopter crews loaded food and water onto helicopters and
       distributed these supplies to individuals awaiting rescue. According
       to Air Station New Orleans' commanding officer, shipments of water
       were also delivered to the Superdome on a daily basis. Coast Guard
       responders also provided food and water to individuals at evacuation
       sites.
     o Difficulties securing fuel. Coast Guard officials we interviewed
       explained that securing fuel was challenging in the days following
       Hurricane Katrina's landfall. According to a senior official at Sector
       Mobile, fuel shortages presented a major obstacle to moving supplies
       into Mississippi. One response by the Coast Guard to the lack of fuel
       was to send responding units into the Gulf Coast Region with adequate
       fuel to conduct their missions. For example, aids to navigation teams
       sent from District 7, arrived in the Gulf Coast region as
       self-contained units with sufficient fuel, food, and other supplies to
       immediately begin work addressing compromised buoys and other
       navigational aids. Concurrent with this fuel shortage was the lack of
       electrical power, which rendered fuel pumps- dependent on
       electricity-inoperable. As part of their lessons learned, officials
       told us that in the future, emergency vehicles and first responders
       need to bring fuel with them in order to be selfsufficient. Officials
       also explained that having battery-operated fuel pumps could address
       problems associated with power outages and that this lesson would be
       applied to future contingency planning.


  Coast Guard Managed the Impact of the Hurricane Response and Collected
  Information to Improve Future Responses
  
Because Hurricane Katrina was one of the largest natural disasters in our
nation's history, significant federal resources were mobilized to respond
to the Hurricane Katrina disaster, including resources of the Coast Guard.
According to Coast Guard officials, they managed the surge of people and
assets to the Gulf Coast region in response to Hurricane Katrina without
significant damage to personnel, assets, operations, or financial
resources. The Coast Guard is also reviewing its actions during the
Hurricane Katrina response in order to address challenges and prepare for
future hurricane seasons.

    Response to Hurricane Katrina Seemed to Have Had Limited Impact on Coast
    Guard

As of late September 2005, Coast Guard personnel sent to respond to
Hurricane Katrina had returned to their homeports, with the exception of
Coast Guard personnel specially trained in environmental protection
issues, who remained in the Gulf Coast region. Coast Guard officials told
us that personnel were certainly exhausted during the surge response, but
at no time did they violate required safety standards. For example, they
said all pilots adhered to aviation standards, flying no more than the
maximum 8 hours within a 24-hour period. However, Coast Guard personnel
did report several health-related issues as a result of their response to
Hurricane Katrina. For example, during the Katrina response rescue
swimmers reported that they suffered an assortment of medical problems,
including pink eye, respiratory issues, skin rashes, infections, cuts, and
scratches from nails, flying fiberglass (from the helicopter swirling
around homes with loose insulation), and other windswept articles.
Although the rescue swimmers we spoke to noted that most of these medical
concerns seemed to clear up a week or two after their experiences in the
Gulf Coast region, it remains uncertain whether some ailments (e.g.,
respiratory issues) could have long-term effects.

Health effects stemming from mental stress may also be a long-term issue
for the Coast Guard Katrina responders. During the Katrina efforts, the
Coast Guard recognized that personnel responding to Hurricane Katrina, as
well as those personnel who experienced the loss of their homes, suffered
from mental stress. Therefore, Critical Incident Stress Management teams
were mobilized to treat those personnel who worked in or lived in the
ravaged Gulf Coast region. For example, after every flight, the rescue
swimmers underwent an assessment for stress, including a stress
debriefing, in addition to a physical decontamination because of the
pollutants they encountered in the flood waters of New Orleans. We were
told that Critical Incident Stress Management teams also provided support
to several District 8 staff who had lost their homes or had assisted
colleagues in cleaning out their destroyed homes and are only now
beginning to deal with the mental stress effects of the Katrina tragedy.

Coast Guard officials also told us that they complied with asset
maintenance standards. For example, they said all required maintenance of
aircraft took place at one of the maintenance hubs set up in either
Mobile, Alabama; Houston, Texas; or Elizabeth City, North Carolina.
According to an engineering official we spoke to at the Aviation Training
Center in Mobile, Alabama, visiting Coast Guard aircraft from around the
country were returned to their homeports with updated maintenance
completed. One Coast Guard official did note a concern for the future
availability of replacement parts. For example, hoists that pulled up
rescuees are usually replaced every 3 to 5 years. However, given the
number of hoist rescues performed during the Hurricane Katrina response,
the Coast Guard official speculated that replacement may need to occur in
2 years, affecting the number of hoists in Coast Guard inventory. Coast
Guard officials also noted that for the Hurricane Katrina response the
agency complied with vessel maintenance standards, adding that some
maintenance can be accomplished by the crew while ships are under way.
However for responses that require surging assets from around the country,
like that of Hurricane Katrina, officials said that only ships that are
ready and able to be deployed or those that can safely delay maintenance
are sent. For example, Coast Guard officials told us that the cutter Oak
delayed its maintenance for 10 days while it responded to Hurricane
Katrina, because it could safely do so.

Data show that in fiscal year 2005, during which the Hurricane Katrina
response occurred, operational hours for Coast Guard assets (ships and
aircraft) increased over the previous year's total. For the fourth quarter
of 2004, Coast Guard operational hours totaled 287,725 hours, while in the
fourth quarter of 2005, they totaled 302,112 hours-a difference of 14,387
hours, due in part to the Hurricane Katrina response. According to a
senior Coast Guard official, no Coast Guard asset was affected by
Hurricane Katrina, meaning that assets were returned to their homeports
able to perform routine missions.

A number of Coast Guard resources responded to Hurricane Katrina in the
Gulf Coast region. Table 2 summarizes the types and total number of assets
that the Coast Guard currently maintains, along with the number, name, and
homeports of those assets that responded to the Gulf Coast region.30

Along with assets, a wide range of Coast Guard operational and support
teams were sent to assist in the response to Hurricane Katrina. Port
Security Units, Law Enforcement Detachment teams, and Maritime Safety and
Security Teams assisted in security and force protection missions. Strike
Teams addressed pollution concerns. Transportable Multi-Mission
Communication Center and Transportable Multi-Agency Communication Center
assets mitigated some of the communications challenges the Coast Guard
experienced. Other teams deployed during the peak Coast Guard response
included several Emergency Response Teams, Civil Engineering Unit Damage
Assessment Teams, and Incident Management Assist Teams.

Table 2: Coast Guard Asset Type, Homeport, and Number That Responded to
the Gulf Coast Region during the Peak Response, August 26-September 16,
2005

Total number of Coast Number of Coast Guard Guard assets for each assets
responding in Gulf Coast Guard asset category of asset Coast region Assets
and homeport

Medium-endurance cutter,   13  3 Harriet Lane from LANTa Portsmouth, Va.   
270-foot Cutters               Northland from LANT/Portsmouth, Va. Spencer 
                                  from LANT/Boston, Mass.                     
Seagoing buoy tender,      16  2 Cypress from D8b/Mobile, Ala. Oak from    
225-foot                       D7/Charleston, SC                           
Medium-endurance cutter,   14  2 Confidence from LANT/Cape Canaveral, Fla. 
210-foot                       Decisive from LANT/Pascagoula, Miss.        
Coastal buoy tender,       14  3 Barbara Mabrity from D8/Mobile, Ala.      
175-foot                       Harry Claiborne from D8/Galveston, Tex.     
                                  Joshua Appleby from D7/St. Petersburg, Fla. 
Patrol coastals, 179-foot   4  2 Tornado from D8/Pascagoula, Miss. Shamal  
                                  from D8/Pascagoula, Miss.                   
Inland construction         4  3 Hudson from D7/Miami Beach, Fla. Pamlico  
tenders, 160-foot              from D8/New Orleans, La. Saginaw from       
                                  D8/Mobile, Ala.                             
Inland construction         8  3 Clamp from D8/Galveston, Tex. Hatchet     
tenders, 75-foot               from D8/Galveston, Tex. Mallet from         
                                  D8/Corpus Christi, Tex.                     
Coastal patrol boat,       65  9 Bonito from D8/Pensacola, Fla. Coho from  
87-foot                        D8/Panama City, Fla. Pelican from           
                                  D8/Abbeville, La. Pompano from D8/Gulfport, 
                                  Miss. Razorbill from D8/Gulfport, Miss.     
                                  Seahawk from D8/Carrabelle, Fla. Stingray   
                                  from D8/Mobile, Ala. Sturgeon from D8/Grand 
                                  Isle, La. Cobia from D8/Mobile, Ala.        
River buoy tender, 75-foot 12  2 Greenbrier from D8/Natchez, Miss. Wedge   
                                  from D8/Demopolis, Ala.                     
Total cutters              150 29                                          

      Small boats

                 Boats under 65 feet 825 131 Districts 8 and 9

      Aircraftc

HC-130 long-range     27                   18 4 from D5/Elizabeth City, NC 
surveillance aircraft                           5 from D7/Clearwater, Fla. 
                                                3 from D11/Sacramento, Calif. 
                            1 from D17/Kodiak, Ark. 5 from ARSCd/Elizabeth    
                            City, NC                                          

                      Total number of Coast Number of Coast Guard             
                      Guard assets for each assets responding in Gulf         
Coast Guard asset      category of asset Coast region Assets and homeport  
HU-25 medium-range                    23      19 5 from D1/Cape Cod, Mass. 
surveillance                                         5 from D7/Miami, Fla. 
aircraft                                 
                                               3 from D8/Corpus Christi, Tex. 
                                                 2 from D11/San Diego, Calif. 
                                               4 from ATC Mobile/Mobile, Ala. 
HH-60 medium-range                    41      19 4 from D1/Cape Cod, Mass. 
recovery helicopter                           3 from D5/Elizabeth City, NC 
                                                   9 from D7/Clearwater, Fla. 
                                              3 from ATC Mobile, Mobile, Ala. 
HH-65 multimission                    95    30 2 from D5/Atlantic City, NJ 
cutter helicopter                                       1 D7/Savannah, Ga. 
                                                        6 from D7/Miami, Fla. 
                                               1 from D8/Corpus Christi, Tex. 
                                                   5 from D8/New Orleans, La. 
                                                      5 from D8/Houston, Tex. 
                                                     2 from D9/Detroit, Mich. 
                                              7 from ATC Mobile, Mobile, Ala. 
                                               1 from ARSC Elizabeth City, NC 
Auxiliary aircraft               unknown        14 aircraft Primarily from 
                                                                   District 8 
Total aircraft           186 Coast Guard 86 Coast Guard,                   
                       operational plus any 14 Auxiliary, which totals        
                         Auxiliary aircraft 100 responding aircraft           

Source: GAO analysis of data provided by Coast Guard.

a

LANT refers to assets owned by Atlantic Area Command.

b

The Coast Guard is divided into geographical areas, or districts. D8
refers to District 8, which includes the Gulf Coast region and moves up
the Mississippi River. D1 refers to Coast Guard's District 1, in the New
England area; D5 refers to District 5, the mid-Atlantic region; D7 refers
to District 7, southeastern region; D9 refers to District 9, Great Lakes
region; and D11 refers to District 11, west coast area.

Number of aircraft as of February 2006.

d

The Coast Guard's Aircraft Repair and Supply Center (ARSC) in Elizabeth
City, North Carolina, overhauls and makes major repairs and modifications
to all Coast Guard aircraft and associated equipment.

With regard to operational impact, Coast Guard officials told us that in
some cases, stations that sent personnel and assets to the Gulf Coast
region experienced challenges in maintaining operations. Relative to other

military services, the Coast Guard is small,31 and when resources are
shifted to any one specific mission area, other mission areas may suffer.
Although Coast Guard officials noted that they were generally able to
continue with their various missions across the nation, including boarding
high-interest vessels approaching United States ports, there were
instances where the movement of Coast Guard assets out of their normal
areas of operation affected activity levels in these locations. For
example, Coast Guard units in Florida sent many air and surface assets to
the Gulf Coast region to respond to Hurricane Katrina, and while these
assets were deployed to the Gulf Coast region, the Coast Guard observed a
spike in the level of illegal migration activity off of the Florida coast.
In response, according to Coast Guard officials, once the assets returned
to the Florida region, the Coast Guard initiated a more intensive air and
sea patrol schedule to markedly announce its return to the area and focus
on interdicting illegal migrants.

    Coast Guard Satisfied with Reimbursement of Hurricane Katrina Mission Costs

Part of Hurricane Katrina's impact on Coast Guard personnel, assets, and
operations at its districts nationwide was that the Coast Guard incurred
unexpected costs conducting Hurricane Katrina missions.32 When we
discussed the amount of funding requested to reimburse the Coast Guard for
its Hurricane Katrina activities, Coast Guard officials told us they were
satisfied with the reimbursement process with both FEMA and EPA. According
to these officials, as of April 12, 2006, the Coast Guard had received
"dollar for dollar" the amounts requested for reimbursement, meaning that
for every bill submitted and processed, the Coast Guard received the same
amount in reimbursement. Coast Guard officials added that the review of
billing documentation by FEMA and EPA officials can

31

Consisting of approximately 39,000 active duty personnel, the Coast Guard
is a multimission agency with a long-standing federal leadership role in
protecting life and property at sea, such as directing search and rescue
operations. Furthermore, the Coast Guard is a military service responsible
for protecting U.S. ports and waterways. As of December 2005, other U.S.
military branches were the U.S. Army, with approximately 489,000 active
duty personnel; the U.S. Navy, with approximately 359,000 active duty
personnel; the U.S. Air Force, with approximately 352,000 active duty
personnel; and the

U.S. Marines, with approximately 179,000 active duty personnel.

32

Coast Guard officials reported that as of April 12, 2006, its
FEMA-directed missions in response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita had a
funding ceiling of $191,913,001, meaning FEMA authorized the Coast Guard
to spend up to this amount to conduct missions in response to Hurricanes
Katrina and Rita. In addition, the EPA authorized the Coast Guard to spend
up to $171,327,000 to conduct specific pollution response missions.
According to Coast Guard officials, this amount is likely to grow as
mission assignments in the area of pollution response continue to be
added, and could take at least a year to complete.

take 30 to 60 days. Coast Guard officials also stated that they met with
representatives from FEMA this year to reconcile Hurricane Katrina mission
assignments, funding ceilings, and costs, and these accounting lines and
totals were consistent.

As table 3 shows, as of April 12, 2006, the Coast Guard reported that it
had spent $98,811,320 in its response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and
had billed FEMA and EPA $66,746,961 and received $48,634,090 in
reimbursements, given the 30-to 60-day delay in FEMA/EPA review of Coast
Guard billing documentation. However, even with the delay, Coast Guard
officials we spoke to were satisfied with the reimbursement process with
both FEMA and EPA.

Table 3: Summary of Coast Guard Stafford Act Reimbursement Requests for
Missions Conducted in Response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, as of April
12, 2006

Description of mission Stafford Act funding assignments

        Amount of Amount of Amount of Coast reimbursement reimbursement Guard
         request funding received as expenditures submitted of April 12, 2006

Coast Guard mission assignments Search and rescue, wreck and $49,746,004
$34,701,729 $16,588,858

(reimbursement from FEMA) debris removal, and deployment of strike forces,
among other activities

Coast Guard mission assignments Marine pollution response effort,
49,065,316 32,045,232 32,045,232

(reimbursement from the EPA) including technical assistance, and direct
support to EPA, among other activities

                   Total $98,811,320 $66,746,961 $48,634,090

Source: GAO analysis of Coast Guard and FEMA data.

Note: Tables 1 and 2 focused exclusively on the Coast Guard response to
only Hurricane Katrina; table 3 focuses on the financial impact of the
Coast Guard response to both Hurricanes Katrina and Rita missions. Coast
Guard officials noted when accounting for costs associated with Hurricane
Katrina, they included costs associated with Hurricane Rita. Note that
table 3 does not include damages suffered by the Coast Guard, including
the destruction of several stations, and damage to assets suffered during
the storms. These infrastructure costs continue to be identified and
updated by the Coast Guard, and supplemental funding has been requested to
address these damages. Also note that the amount of reimbursement request
submitted to EPA, and the amount of reimbursement funding received as of
April 12, 2006, is the same. Coast Guard officials reported that the
process of reimbursement from EPA allows for quick reimbursement because
the missions are more typical of the types of environmental response
conducted by the Coast Guard. We did not verify the accuracy of the data
provided by the Coast Guard.

    Coast Guard Collected Information to Improve Future Storm Preparations

According to Coast Guard officials, the agency has collected information
regarding its response to Hurricane Katrina and included it in a Coast
Guard database. In addition, while we conducted site visits for this
review, we met with a wide range of Coast Guard personnel who participated
in the response to Hurricane Katrina who shared with us their views on
certain actions that the Coast Guard could take in the future to further
improve the agency's response to an event like Hurricane Katrina. These
actions include efforts to (1) improve the agency's systems to track Coast
Guard personnel in real time in order to better recall personnel when an
evacuation is over and forces are sent to respond to the emergency event;

(2) become more "expeditionary" in nature by having evacuating forces
remove such things as certain tools and equipment that would allow them to
be more self-sustaining in order to assist in a disaster response; (3) be
more flexible in identifying safe places for Coast Guard personnel to
relocate to in the event of an evacuation; and (4) be flexible in drafting
orders for personnel to report for duty at a specific time and place in
order to respond to contingencies that may arise during the course of an
emergency.

Furthermore, a senior Coast Guard official reported that the Coast Guard
has developed a number of after-action reports that it has incorporated
into its Contingency Preparedness System database-known as CG SAILS-the
official Coast Guard database for lessons learned. According to this
official, having these reports in this system allows Coast Guard personnel
to access this information and incorporate it into other agency planning
and contingency efforts.

Agency Comments

We provided a draft of this report to DHS, including the Coast Guard, for
comment. DHS and the Coast Guard provided technical comments, which have
been incorporated into the report as appropriate.

We are sending copies of this report to the appropriate congressional
committees; the Secretary of Homeland Security; the Commandant of the
Coast Guard; the Director, Office of Management and Budget; and other
interested parties. In addition, this report will be available at no
charge on the GAO Web site at http://www.gao.gov .

If you or your staff have any questions about this report, please contact
me at (202) 512-9610 or [email protected] Contact points for our Offices
of

Congressional Relations and Public Affairs may be found on the last page of this
        report. GAO staff who made major contributors to this report are

Stephen L. Caldwell Acting Director, Homeland Security and Justice Issues

List of Congressional Committees

The Honorable Ted Stevens Chairman The Honorable Daniel K. Inouye
Co-Chairman Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation United
States Senate

The Honorable Olympia J. Snowe Chair The Honorable Maria Cantwell Ranking
Minority Member Subcommittee on Fisheries and the Coast Guard Committee on
Commerce, Science and Transportation United States Senate

The Honorable Susan M. Collins Chairman The Honorable Joseph I. Lieberman
Ranking Member Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
United States Senate

The Honorable Judd Gregg Chairman The Honorable Robert C. Byrd Ranking
Minority Member Subcommittee on Homeland Security Committee on
Appropriations United States Senate

The Honorable Don Young Chairman The Honorable James L. Oberstar Ranking
Democratic Member Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure House of
Representatives The Honorable Frank A. LoBiondo Chairman The Honorable Bob
Filner Ranking Democratic Member Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime
Transportation Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure House of
Representatives

The Honorable Tom Davis Chairman The Honorable Henry A. Waxman Ranking
Member Committee on Government Reform House of Representatives

The Honorable Peter T. King Chairman The Honorable Bennie G. Thompson
Ranking Minority Member Committee on Homeland Security House of
Representatives

The Honorable Harold Rogers Chairman The Honorable Martin Olav Sabo
Ranking Minority Member Subcommittee on Homeland Security Committee on
Appropriations House of Representatives

Appendix I: GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgments

  GAO Contact
  
Stephen L. Caldwell, Acting Director, Homeland Security and Justice
Issues, (202) 512-9610, or [email protected]

  Staff Acknowledgments
  
Individuals making key contributions to this report include Joel Aldape,
Nancy Briggs, Lisa Canini, Billy Commons, Christine Davis, 
Josh Diosomito, Michele Fejfar, Kathryn Godfrey, Dawn Hoff, and Lori
Kmetz.

Related GAO Products

Coast Guard: Observations on Agency Performance, Operations, and Future
Challenges. GAO-06-448T . Washington, D.C.: June 15, 2006.

Maritime Security: Enhancements Made, but Implementation and
Sustainability Remain Key Challenges. GAO-05-448T . Washington, D.C.: May
17, 2005.

Maritime Security: New Structures Have Improved Information Sharing, but
Security Clearance Processing Requires Further Attention.

GAO-05-394 . Washington, D.C.: April 15, 2005.

Coast Guard: Observations on Agency Priorities in Fiscal Year 2006 Budget
Request. GAO-05-364T . Washington, D.C.: March 17, 2005.

Coast Guard: Station Readiness Improving, but Resource Challenges and
Management Concerns Remain. GAO-05-161 . Washington, D.C.: January 31,
2005.

Homeland Security: Process for Reporting Lessons Learned from Seaport
Exercises Needs Further Attention. GAO-05-170 . Washington, D.C.: January
14, 2005.

Port Security: Better Planning Needed to Develop and Operate Maritime
Worker Identification Card Program. GAO-05-106 . Washington, D.C.:
December 10, 2004.

Maritime Security: Better Planning Needed to Help Ensure an Effective Port
Security Assessment Program. GAO-04-1062 . Washington, D.C.: September 30,
2004.

Maritime Security: Partnering Could Reduce Federal Costs and Facilitate
Implementation of Automatic Vessel Identification System.

GAO-04-868 . Washington, D.C.: July 23, 2004.

Maritime Security: Substantial Work Remains to Translate New Planning
Requirements into Effective Port Security. GAO-04-838 . Washington, D.C.:
June 30, 2004.

Coast Guard: Key Management and Budget Challenges for Fiscal Year 2005 and
Beyond. GAO-04-636T . Washington, D.C.: April 7, 2004.

Related GAO Products

Homeland Security: Summary of Challenges Faced in Targeting Oceangoing
Cargo Containers for Inspection. GAO-04-557T . Washington, D.C.: March 31,
2004.

Homeland Security: Preliminary Observations on Efforts to Target Security
Inspections of Cargo Containers. GAO-04-325T . Washington, D.C.: December
16, 2003.

Posthearing Questions Related to Aviation and Port Security. GAO-04-315R .
Washington, D.C.: December 12, 2003.

Maritime Security: Progress Made in Implementing Maritime Transportation
Security Act, but Concerns Remain. GAO-03-1155T . Washington, D.C.:
September 9, 2003.

Homeland Security: Efforts to Improve Information Sharing Need to Be
Strengthened. GAO-03-760 . Washington D.C.: August 27, 2003.

Container Security: Expansion of Key Customs Programs Will Require Greater
Attention to Critical Success Factors. GAO-03-770 . Washington, D.C.: July
25, 2003.

Homeland Security: Challenges Facing the Department of Homeland Security
in Balancing its Border Security and Trade Facilitation Missions.
GAO-03-902T . Washington, D.C.: June 16, 2003.

Transportation Security: Post-September 11th Initiatives and Long-Term
Challenges. GAO-03-616T . Washington, D.C.: April 1, 2003.

Port Security: Nation Faces Formidable Challenges in Making New
Initiatives Successful. GAO-02-993T . Washington, D.C.: August 5, 2002.

Combating Terrorism: Preliminary Observations on Weaknesses in Force
Protection for DOD Deployments through Domestic Seaports. GAO-02-955TNI .
Washington, D.C.: July 23, 2002.

(440464)

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