Monday, July 22, 2019

HR 3409 Introduced – FY 2020 CG Authorization

Last month, Rep. DeFazio (D,OR) introduced HR 3409, the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2019. The bill contains one cybersecurity provision and one emergency response provision. The bill is currently scheduled to be considered in the House this week.


Section 414 of the bill would require the CG to expand its current Insider Threat Program to include monitoring of “all Coast Guard devices, including mobile devices”. No definition of terms ‘devices’ or ‘monitoring’ is provided.

Emergency Response

Section 309 of the bill would modify two separate sections of 46 USC:

§70107, security plan implementation grants; and
§70132, Credentialing standards, training, and certification for State and local support for the enforcement of security zones for the transportation of especially hazardous cargo

In both sections the term ‘emergency response providers’ would be substituted for the existing term ‘law enforcement personnel’ or ‘law enforcement agency personnel’ where they are used in those sections. The definition of ‘emergency response providers’ is taken from 6 USC 101(6) and still includes ‘law enforcement’ personnel.

Moving Forward

DeFazio is the Chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to which this bill was assigned for consideration. That Committee has already amended and adopted the bill in a hearing last month, though the record of which amendments were adopted and the final committee action on the bill is missing from the Committees hearing page.

One of the amendments that was to have been considered (and apparently was, see below) was offered by Rep. Garamendi (D,CA) concerned the application process for the Transportation Workers Identification Credential (TWIC). It would require the CG to establish a pilot program where personnel applying for a merchant mariner credential could jointly apply for a TWIC.

The Committee Report has not yet been published, nor has the amended version of the bill. I suspect that we will see both later today as this bill is supposed to be considered tomorrow under the suspension of the rules process. That would limit debate and require a supermajority for passage. The fact that the leadership is scheduling the bill under this process generally means that they expect the bill to receive substantial bipartisan support.

It is a tad bit unusual for the bill to be considered without the official publication of the reported version of the bill, but the House is trying to get a lot of ‘routine’ measures taken care of before the adjourn for their summer recess at the end of the week. The Majority Leader has provided a link to a revised version of the bill on the current Weekly Leader page; presumably this is the version being reported by the Committee, though it looks like there are additional changes. That may be misleading because of the incompleteness of the Committee’s markup hearing page.

Revised Bill

The two original provisions discussed above remain in the revised bill as does the Garamendi amendment (now §429). Two of the newly added provision need to be addressed here, one is an additional cybersecurity provision and a change to the Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA) program.

The cybersecurity provision in §422 would establish a “a rotational research, development, and training program” {new §846(1)} within DHS that would allow Coast Guard Academy graduates and faculty to be detailed to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and allow cybersecurity personnel from DHS to be detailed to the CG Academy.

The MTSA provision is found in a relatively short §317. It would amend 46 USC 70103(b)(3), Maritime Transportation Security Plans. It would require the Secretary to review and approve updates to Area Maritime Transportation Security Plans where the current section only requires review and approval of the original plan. A similar requirement is also put into place for extending the current review and approval of Vessel and Facility Security Plans requirements under §70103(c)(4) to include the updates for those plans.

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