The port security grant program hit a milestone with the President’s signing of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2007 Omnibus bill (H.R. 2764) into law on December 26, 2007.

This is the first time Congress has fully funded the ports’ annual security request of $400 million — an important step forward for the nation’s critical security of its port infrastructure.

This increased funding has permitted strategic multi-year planning allowing port police and security officials to include more advanced technology in the mix. An example of this is underwater sonar, a high priority for many ports and identified as a national priority by DHS. Sonar currently is in use at the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, Seattle, Philadelphia and many others. Additionally several other first responder organizations at and near airports and seaports are discovering its value.

It is one thing to build up security above the water, but we must also ensure we have protection below the waterline. Many law enforcement and security officials have purchased sonar products that not only allow for the protection of vulnerable passenger and infrastructure targets, but the underwater sonar can be used for every day rescue and recovery operations. We have seen recovery of persons and objects within minutes using shallow water sonar after hours of looking by other common rescue and recovery methods.