Report | July 8, 2021

Audit of Physical Security Conditions at the U.S. Transportation Command Military Ocean Terminals (DODIG-2021-099)

Audit

Publicly Released: July 12, 2021

 

Objective

The objective of this audit was to determine whether the physical security programs at the U.S. Transportation Command Military Ocean Terminals are protecting arms, ammunition, and explosives (AA&E) shipments in compliance with DoD, Army, and installation guidance.

 

Background

The military ocean terminals have the ability to receive large amounts of containerized shipments of AA&E from different locations inside and outside the United States and transport those shipments to military forces deployed around the world. These shipments support a variety of missions, including national and international military exercises, overseas contingency operations, and foreign military sales to allied nations.

 

Finding

Physical security programs at the military ocean terminals did not comply with DoD, Army, and installation guidance for the protection of AA&E shipments. Specifically, at the military ocean terminals:

  • the physical security plans were not reviewed annually, as required by Army guidance; and
  • the physical security plans did not comply with DoD and Army guidance related to physical security.

In addition, physical security personnel at a military ocean terminal did not consistently perform physical security procedures as directed by Army guidance, including procedures related to vehicle inspections and access controls.

The military ocean terminals did not fully comply with DoD, Army, and installation guidance for protecting the shipment of AA&E because:

  • physical security leadership did not prioritize the review of the physical security plan above other competing mission requirements, which led to a failure to review the plan annually in accordance with Army guidance; and
  • physical security leadership positions experienced turnover, which led to a failure to review the physical security plan annually in accordance with Army guidance.

 

Recommendations

We recommend that the Commanding General, Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (SDDC):

  • Review the updates to the military ocean terminals’ physical security plans to ensure that the remaining instances of noncompliance identified in Appendix B of this report have been addressed.
  • Complete and issue all military ocean terminals’ draft standard operating procedures for physical security personnel.
  • Develop and implement standard operating procedures that require a review of the military ocean terminals’ physical security plans at least annually, and on change of installation commander or appointment of a new director of emergency services, anti-terrorism officer, physical security officer, or chief of police.

 

Management Comments

The U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) Chief of Staff and the SDDC Commanding General, agreed with the recommendations to review the updated physical security plans to address the remaining instances of noncompliance identified in Appendix B of this report and to complete and issue military ocean terminals’ standard operating procedures for the physical security personnel.

The comments addressed the recommendations, therefore, the recommendations are resolved but will remain open. We will close those recommendations once management provides documentation that the actions have been completed.

The USTRANSCOM Chief of Staff, and the SDDC Commanding General, disagreed with the recommendation to develop and implement military ocean terminals’ standard operating procedures that requires a review of the physical security plan at least annually and upon the change of the installation commander or appointment of one of four leadership positions.

Therefore, the recommendations are unresolved and open. We revised the recommendation to provide clarity on the intent of the recommendations, recommending that SDDC develop and implement additional procedures at the military ocean terminals to ensure compliance with Army Regulation 190-13 and request that SDDC provide comments in response to this final report.

 

This report is the product of Proj. No. D2019-D000RL-0116.000.