The Maritime Security 2013 West conference is currently being held in Long Beach, Calif., hosted by Homeland Security Outlook of Westport, Conn. Representatives are attending from academia, the private sector and federal, regional, state and local governments. Attendees came from as far as Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as the U.K., UAE, and Canada.
Giving the opening keynote address, Capt. James Jenkins, U.S. Coast Guard Sector Commander and Captain of the Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach shared his challenges in overseeing America’s busiest container ports. “On any given day we have 10 to 20 ship arrivals, mostly container ships, but also tankers, bulk carriers, cruise ships and others. 4500 ships call here every year.”
It’s not only a big complex, with a large footprint and a significant amount of activity, but is also characterized by its density, Jenkins says. “There’s a lot of infrastructure in one place.”
The Maritime Security 2013 West delegates had an opportunity to tour the Maritime Law Enforcement Training Center at the Port of Los Angeles, a cooperative effort with the State of California Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The center offers training specifically designed for state and local law enforcement personnel. The course offerings are based on Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) curricula and have been jointly developed by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Los Angeles Port Police, Long Beach Police Department, Los Angeles Police Department, and FLETC staff.
Anh Duong, the director of Borders and Maritime Security division at the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate, says that threat to the nation’s maritime border includes terrorists and smugglers, and they employ an adaptive strategy. “The bad guys tunnel under, fly over or sail around our borders.”
“Our goal is to bring knowledge and technology to address gaps in maritime border and cargo security,” Duong says. “We focus on operations, innovation and partnerships.”
One of her directorate’s major efforts involves the establishment of a coastal surveillance system, which was demonstrated during the conference.
The demonstration placed a Terma Scanter 5202 surface surveillance radar at Carlsbad State Beach Park on the California coast and connected it to the CSS by means of a cellular connection to the CSS network at SRI International’s facility in St. Petersburg, Fla. The feed was made available to U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Air and Marine Operations Center (AMOC) at March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, Calif. The entire U.S. border operating picture, including the coverage of the Terma radar, was displayed at the conference.
“It shows the flexibility of the system,” says Jim Moore, director of radar systems for Terma North America. “You can connect any sensor anywhere you have commercial cellular coverage.”
“We have a high-level integration with the Terma radar using a cell phone hot spot. You can see the tracks,” says Shane Mason, program manager for enterprise solutions with SRI International. “It’s quite impressive.”
Maritime Security 2013 West Delivers Networking Opportunities
Rebecca Nagy says the event is valuable to her in her job as an intelligence analyst for the Los Angeles Police Department. “I get to meet various partners from different areas of the country that I wouldn’t meet otherwise. “
“Maritime security intelligence is such a small sector,” Nagy says. “It needs to expand”
Ken McAllister, CEO of Primal Technologies in Yakima, Wash., agrees. “We can hear how other people are addressing the same problems we’re dealing with. You find out where to go to get answers. It’s great networking, even just talking to the people at our table.”
Primal Technologies provides a situational awareness operating platform. McAllister says the conference helps him to better understand the problems other stakeholders are facing. It reminds him of an Easter egg hunt. “It helps to know what an Easter egg looks like.”