U.S. Coast Guard ratchets up Port Security: patrols and ship boardings increase, stretching limited resources 'almost to breaking point'.Responding to the threat of terrorism, the U.S. Coast Guard has made its largest commitment to port security since World War II, according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. Rear Adm. Jeffrey J. Hathaway, the service's assistant commandant for operations policy.
"The nation has 361 ports and 95,000 miles of coastline--including the Great Lakes Great Lakes, group of five freshwater lakes, central North America, creating a natural border between the United States and Canada and forming the largest body of freshwater in the world, with a combined surface area of c.95,000 sq mi (246,050 sq km). and inland waterways--which are vulnerable to terrorist attack," Hathaway told National Defense. Since September 2001, the Coast Guard has conducted nearly 40,000 surface and air patrols to protect those assets, he said. h has boarded more than 2,500 vessels of interest and interdicted more than 6,200 illegal immigrants illegal immigrant n. an alien (non-citizen) who has entered the United States without government permission or stayed beyond the termination date of a visa. (See: alien) .
Now, as part of Operation Liberty Shield, which was launched in March, these efforts are being increased yet again, Hathaway said. Coast Guard patrols are growing by 50 percent. The Sea Marshal program, which escorts, boards and inspects arriving and departing vessels, will expand. The number of Maritime Safety and Security Teams An MSST or Maritime Safety and Security Team is a new United States Coast Guard anti-terrorism team established to protect local maritime assets. It is a United States Coast Guard harbor and inshore patrol and security team that includes detecting and if necessary stopping , the Coast Guard's highly trained anti-terrorist units, is being doubled.
These additional responsibilities come at a time when the Coast Guard's resources already are "stretched thin, nearly to the breaking point," making it "extremely difficult to continue serving other missions," Adm. Thomas Collins Thomas Collins is the name of:
The Coast Guard, with 36,000 active-duty officers and enlisted personnel, is the smallest of the U.S. uniformed services The Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Public Health Services. See also Military Department; Military Service. , in March, it was transferred from the Transportation Department to the new Department of Homeland Security Noun 1. Department of Homeland Security - the federal department that administers all matters relating to homeland security
executive department - a federal department in the executive branch of the government of the United States .
With the increased focus on homeland security Noun 1. Homeland Security - the federal department that administers all matters relating to homeland security
Department of Homeland Security
executive department - a federal department in the executive branch of the government of the United States , the Coast Guard is receiving additional resources. For fiscal year 2003, the Coast Guard received an extra $1 billion in funding. For 2004, it requested $6.7 billion, a $581 million increase.
Coast Guard reservists are playing a larger role, Collins said. More than 3,900 are currently on active duty. Reflecting their growing importance, the total number of reservists increased from 8,000 to 9,000 personnel in 2003, and they are slated to expand yet again to 10,000 in 2004, he said.
To conduct the additional patrols, Hathaway said, the Coast Guard is buying up to 700 Homeland Security Response Boats from Safe Boats International, of Port Orchard For the county seat of Kitsap County, see .
Port Orchard, part of Washington state's Puget Sound, is the strait that separates Bainbridge Island on the east from the Kitsap Peninsula on the west. , Wash. The total value of the contract is $145 million, with each boat costing roughly $180,000.
The new 25-foot response boats will replace nearly 300 non-standard shore-based craft. They are more maneuverable than the older boats. Outfitted with twin engines, they are capable of speeds in excess of 40 knots.
A full cabin provides crew protection from the elements and is equipped with state-of-the art navigation and communication systems, heater and shock-mitigation seats. The response boats are designed to be transportable by road or C-130 aircraft.
The contract calls for delivery of the boats to begin in July and to continue at a minimum rate of two per week.
For 2004, the Coast Guard has requested 43 fully crewed and outfitted Port Security Response Boats and nine 87-foot Coastal Patrol Boats. The service also plans to begin acquiring medium-sized response boats to replace its aging fleet of 41-foot utility vessels.
In addition, the Coast Guard is standing up a new station in Washington, D.C. in order to beef up waterside security in the nation's capital. The Coast Guard is headquartered in Washington, but until recently, it rarely was called upon to patrol the placid plac·id
1. Undisturbed by tumult or disorder; calm or quiet. See Synonyms at calm.
2. Satisfied; complacent.
[Latin placidus, from Potomac River Potomac River
River, east-central U.S. Rising in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia, it is about 287 mi (462 km) long. It flows southeast through the District of Columbia into Chesapeake Bay. It is navigable by large vessels to Washington, D.C. . That changed with 9/11. The new station, located at pierside on Bolling Air Force Base Bolling Air Force Base is a United States Air Force base in Southwest Washington, D.C. between the Potomac River and Interstate 295 and is conjoined with Naval District Washington Anacostia Annex that was established in July 1918. , will have about a dozen personnel and two patrol boats to cruise the Potomac, watching for suspicious behavior, Hathaway said.
More Anti-Terrorist Teams
At the same time, the service is adding six new Maritime Safety and Security Teams, bringing the total to 12 nationwide, Hathaway said. MSSTs are deployable units consisting of about 100 Coast Guard men and women. They include boat detachments, which patrol the waters, and land-side security teams, which keep an eye out for threats along the piers.
MSSTs are patterned after Coast Guard Port Security Units and law-enforcement detachments. The PSUs provide waterborne and limited land-based protection for U.S. shipping and critical port facilities. Made up mainly of reservists, they often are deployed in support of U.S. Navy operations in such places as the Persian Gult, the Balkans and Haiti.
LEDETs are Coast Guard personnel stationed aboard Navy ships to conduct searches, seizures and arrests primarily involving the smuggling smuggling, illegal transport across state or national boundaries of goods or persons liable to customs or to prohibition. Smuggling has been carried on in nearly all nations and has occasionally been adopted as an instrument of national policy, as by Great Britain of drugs and illegal aliens into the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. . The federal Posse Comitatus Act Posse Comitatus Act, 1878, U.S. federal law that makes it a crime to use the military as a domestic police force in the United States under most circumstances. forbids Defense Department men and women from engaging in law enforcement activities, but Coast Guard detachments can do so.
Unlike the LEDETs and PSUs, the MSSTs were created specifically for homeland security, in direct response to 9/11. Most members are part of the active-duty Coast Guard, not reservists.
MSST MSST Maritime Safety and Security Team (USCG)
MSST Maximum Safe Storage Temperature
MSST Milsatcom Site Support Team
MSST Military Survival Skills Training
MSST Material Source Solution Team
MSST Maintenance Support Strategy Team members must complete an intensive four-week course at the Coast Guard's Special Missions Training Center, which is located on the Marine Corps base at Camp Lejeune Camp LeJeune (ləzhn`), U.S. marine corps base, 82,969 acres (33,576 hectares), SE N.C., SE of Jacksonville; est. 1941. , N.C. Classes include tactical boar maneuvers, personal fitness and defense, underwater diving, and handling of lethal and non-lethal weapons.
MSSTs deploy to provide waterside security at national special events, such as the Olympics, OpSail of storm recovery operations Operations conducted to search for, locate, identify, rescue, and return personnel, sensitive equipment, or items critical to national security. . They also protect military load-outs, enforce security zones, defend critical waterside facilities in strategic ports, interdict interdict (ĭn`tərdĭkt), ecclesiastical censure notably used in the Roman Catholic Church, especially in the Middle Ages. When a parish, state, or nation is placed under the interdict no public church ceremony may take place, only certain illegal activities and provide shore-side force protection.
Also in 2004, the Coast Guard plans to add 50 personnel to its Sea Marshal program. As part of this program, the service places armed boarding officers, known as Sea Marshals, on every high-interest vessel arriving or departing U.S. ports. Eventually, Hathaway said, Sea Marshals will be assigned even to inland waterways. "You're going to see 'river marshals' boarding and escorting the barges that ply (mathematics, data) ply - 1. Of a node in a tree, the number of branches between that node and the root.
2. Of a tree, the maximum ply of any of its nodes. our major waterways," he said.
The number of Sea Marshals boarding a ship varies from two to six, depending the type of vessel and other factors. Once aboard, Sea Marshals meet with the vessel's captain to explain their purpose and check cargo manifests and crew lists. They stand guard in critical areas of the ship, such as the bridge, ensuring that authorized personnel remain in control of the ship at all times.
The Coast Guard doesn't have the personnel to inspect all of the ships traversing U.S. waters, Hathaway said. It gives highest priority to those carrying hazardous materials and those hailing from countries considered unfriendly or thought to have links to terrorist organizations. Other vessels are boarded randomly, both in port and at sea.
All cargo and passenger ships entering U.S. ports are required to provide detailed information four days in advance of their arrival about their crew, their cargo and the vessel itself, Hathaway said. Ships are inspected for compliance with safety, pollution and immigration immigration, entrance of a person (an alien) into a new country for the purpose of establishing permanent residence. Motives for immigration, like those for migration generally, are often economic, although religious or political factors may be very important. regulations. Passenger ships--cruise ships and ferries--are watched closely in order to protect U.S. citizens, visitors and maritime commerce.
With all the increased emphasis on security, boaters are being advised to expect to see a greater Coast Guard presence on the water and in the air. They should be prepared to show picture identification and may be questioned about their activity, particularly if they are in sensitive areas.
Boaters are being warned to stay at least 100 yards clear of any Navy vessel, to maintain a slow speed and comply with directions when within 500 yards of a Navy ship. They should be prepared to be stopped or questioned, particularly when boating near tunnels, bridges, port facilities or other restricted areas.
In some ways, the increasing focus on homeland security is a return to the Coast Guard's roots. The service traces its history back to 1790, when Congress approved Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton's proposal to build and deploy a small fleet of revenue cutters to be "judiciously stationed at the entrances of our ports."
The emphasis on homeland security, however, is putting the squeeze on other Coast Guard operations, Hathaway admitted. "Does that mean that the Coast Guard is turning its back on its traditional missions? The answer is a resounding re·sound
v. re·sound·ed, re·sound·ing, re·sounds
1. To be filled with sound; reverberate: The schoolyard resounded with the laughter of children.
2. 'no,"' he said. "We're not."
While the Coast Guard may not have surrendered any missions, Hathaway acknowledged that it has been necessary to cut back on some, such as drug interdiction The interception of illegal drugs being smuggled by air, sea, or land. See also counterdrug operations. and fisheries fisheries. From earliest times and in practically all countries, fisheries have been of industrial and commercial importance. In the large N Atlantic fishing grounds off Newfoundland and Labrador, for example, European and North American fishing fleets have long enforcement.
In fact, a study released in April by the General Accounting Office found that, during the final three months of 2002, the amount of time that the Coast Guard spent on drug interdiction declined 60 percent, while the time devoted to fisheries enforcement dropped 38 percent. The study's findings "raise serious concerns about the Coast Guard's ability to accomplish all of its responsibilities," GAO analyst JayEtta Z. Hecker told a congressional hearing Congressional hearings are the principal formal method by which committees collect and analyze information in the early stages of legislative policymaking. Whether confirmation hearings — a procedure unique to the Senate — legislative, oversight, investigative, or a . The service cannot continue to be "all things to all people" in a department whose primary mission is homeland security.
Even the Coast Guard's planned Integrated Deepwater System--a $17 billion project to modernize its entire fleet of cutters, patrol boats and aircraft over a 20-year period--is threatened, Hecker said. Deepwater's "success is heavily dependent on receiving full funding every year," she explained. "So far, that funding has not materialized as planned."
Plans for Deepwater are based on funding of $500 million in 1998 dollars annually for 20 years or more, Hecker noted. In 2002, however, the project received about $28 million below the planned level, and in 2003, it was $90 million below the mark, she said.
If the requested amount of $500 million for 2004 is appropriated, "it would represent another shortfall of $83 million, making the cumulative shortfall about $202 million in the project's first three years," Hecker said.
The main impact of these funding cuts, she said, is that "it would take longer and cost more in the long run to fully implement the Deepwater system."
Since September 11, the Coast Guard has been reassessing the scale and timing of the Deepwater project, Collins told the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.
He admitted that the service has struggled to meet the new threats to homeland security while simultaneously continuing to develop the Deepwater system. But he argued that the Deepwater plan is flexible enough to adapt to the kinds of changes the Coast Guard has experienced since the project was launched in 1998.
In any case, Collins said, the Coast Guard remains convinced that Deepwater is "essential for the safety and security of the American public."
It provides, he argued, the capability to push "America's maritime borders outward, away flora ports and waterways, so that layered, maritime security operations Maritime Security Operations (MSO) is a term for the actions of modern naval forces to "combat sea–based terrorism and other illegal activities, such as hijacking, piracy, and slavery, also known as human trafficking. can be implemented."
Deepwater will provide more capable maritime sensors to collect vital intelligence, a network-centric system of command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance may refer to:
C4ISR Command, Control, Communications, Computer, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance
C4ISR Command Control Communications Computers Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance , Collins said.
"Deepwater assets will be able to counter threats throughout the maritime domain, to thwart catastrophes to vulnerable infrastructure--such as oil rigs, deepwater channels and shipping--and keep commerce, especially military load-out, sale in the near-shore zones, at harbor entrances and between ports."
RELATED ARTICLE: A personal interest in security.
Rear Adm. Jeffrey J. Hathaway, the Coast Guard's assistant commandant for operations policy, acknowledges that he has a personal interest in homeland security.
On September 11, he was temporarily assigned to the U.S. Navy, serving as director of the Navy Command Center in the Pentagon. When the hijacked airliner slammed into the building, 42 out of the 50 people working in the center were killed. Hathaway survived, because he happened to be out of the building, "caught in traffic on the 14th Street Bridge," he said.
"I can tell you that the events of September 11 refocused my life," he told National Defense. He volunteered for a job as director of the Navy's new Interagency Support Noun 1. interagency support - provision of logistic (or administrative) support by one or more of the military services to one or more departments or agencies of the United States government
interdepartmental support and Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection Division. He served in that job until February of this year, when he returned to the Coast Guard.