U.S. Code Title 46, Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA) requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to assess the effectiveness of antiterrorism measures in foreign ports and to operate a training program for ports in foreign countries found to lack effective security. The Secretary delegated this responsibility to the U.S. Coast Guard.  The International Port Security (IPS) Program carries out the Coast Guard’s foreign port assessment and assistance missions.


The IPS Program’s primary goals are to assess the effectiveness of anti-terrorism measures in foreign commercial seaports and to mitigate the risk of importing terrorism via foreign commerce by informing U.S. port state control, warning the public, and improving foreign port security through targeted technical assistance and capacity building.  IPS Program findings inform Captains of the Port in the performance of their duties through the enforcement of conditions of entry (COE) and by conducting Maritime Security Response Operations security boardings.  IPS Program foreign port security evaluations also form the basis for technical assistance and capacity building provided to partners who desire to improve their security. 

Program Organization

The U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters Office of International Port Security Assessments (CG-PSA-1) is the program manager for the IPS Program. Field activities are executed by the U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area office of Operations (LANT-51) through a workforce distributed between Portsmouth, Virginia, Fussa, Japan, and Brunssum, Netherlands.

Program Activities

The IPS Program engages in bilateral or multilateral discussions with maritime trade partners around the world. The goal is to exchange information and share best practices to align port security programs through implementation of the International Maritime Organization’s International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code and other international maritime security standards.

Capacity Building

The IPS Program is dedicated to supporting nations that show a commitment to improving their port security. The IPS Program conducts capacity building activities bilaterally and multilaterally to:

a.           Assist trade partners in meeting the provisions of the ISPS Code and other international port security standards such as the International Labor Organization Code of Practice for Security in Ports.  

b.           Assist trade partners in correcting deficiencies or weaknesses noted during IPS Program visits.

c.           Incorporate and share best practices and lessons learned with our trade partners.

Reciprocal Engagements 

The IPS Program offers foreign maritime trade partners the opportunity to visit the U.S. to learn how the Coast Guard fulfils national-level oversight of domestic ports and to observe how Sectors interact with government and industry to implement and maintain compliance with MTSA regulations.

Inter-Agency Collaboration

The IPS Program coordinates its activities with federal partners and other stakeholders.  All foreign engagements are coordinated through the local U.S. Embassy.


Activities Far East (FEACT):  FEACT Maritime Security (

Activities Europe (ACTEUR):  Activities Europe: Schinnen, The Netherlands (