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The Coast Guard and the Quadrennial Homeland Security Review

To respond to a recent amendment to the Homeland Security Act of 2002, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) set out to perform the inaugural Quadrennial Homeland Security Review (QHSR). Similar to the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), first required for the Department of Defense (DoD) in 1997, the process is intended to review departmental strategy and priorities on a four-year cycle.


MISSION 1: Preventing Terrorism and Enhancing Security
MISSION 2: Securing and Managing Our Borders
MISSION 3: Enforcing and Administering Our Immigration Laws
MISSION 4: Safeguarding and Securing Cyberspace
MISSION 5: Ensuring Resilience to Disasters

Because this was a first for DHS, the QHSR report published in February 2010 presented a comprehensive, baseline, top-down strategy. It defined five priority mission areas for DHS among the vast array of responsibilities of the department. The QHSR looked at homeland security as the holistic system of local, state, federal, national, and international partners, as well as individuals, families, and communities acting in concert to keep Americans safe and secure. Subsequent reviews will allow for reassessment and re-balancing of this basic structure.

The Canadian Coast Guard Ship Louis S. St-Laurent makes an approach to the Coast Guard Cutter Healy in the Arctic Ocean, Sept. 5, 2009. The two ships were taking part in a multi-year, multi-agency Arctic survey that will help define the Arctic continental shelf. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer Patrick Kelley

With a “top-down” strategy for Homeland Security in the QHSR, the secretary of Homeland Security saw an opportunity to even better understand the department through the development of a “bottom-up” approach, officially called the Bottom-Up Review (BUR). The BUR set out to align the programmatic activities and organizational structure of the department with the strategic framework arrayed in the QHSR. Each component of DHS, including its headquarters entities, exhaustively reviewed and characterized its activities, costing methods, performance, and overall management structure. The Coast Guard seized this opportunity to align its management structure with current field operations.

From Mission-Programs to Missions and Programs
The Homeland Security Act of 2002 defined the 11 missions of the Coast Guard in statute. It further specified the missions as “homeland security” or “non-homeland security.” At the same time, a programming and performance management structure was defined for DHS: the Future Years Homeland Security Program – FYHSP (pronounced FIZ-ip). Each component was charged to form the programs upon which this management framework was built. The 11 statutory missions then became the basis for the Coast Guard’s programming and performance management structure. Since then, the Coast Guard has referred to the 11 as “Mission-Programs.”

The department’s Bottom-Up Review has allowed a more comprehensive presentation of Coast Guard mission management. The 11 Coast Guard missions will now be arrayed across six FYHSP programs: Maritime Security Operations, Maritime Law Enforcement, Maritime Prevention, Maritime Response, Defense Operations, and Marine Transportation System Management. This alignment recognizes the commonalities in activities we manage as well as the mission outcomes impacted and allows the Coast Guard to support the achievement of QHSR objectives. The six new programs will use common language to communicate Coast Guard value to the American people.


11 Statutory Missions:
Homeland Security Missions
1. Ports, waterways, and coastal security
Conducting harbor patrols, vulnerability assessments, intelligence gathering and analysis, and other activities to prevent terrorist attacks and minimize the damage from attacks that do occur
2. Drug interdiction
Deploying cutters and aircraft in high drug trafficking areas and gathering intelligence to reduce the flow of illegal drugs across maritime boundaries
3. Migrant interdiction
Deploying cutters and aircraft and conducting vessel inspections to eliminate the flow of undocumented migrants entering the United States by maritime routes
4. Defense readiness
Participating with the Department of Defense (DoD) in global military operations; deploying cutters and other boats and aircraft in and around harbors to protect DoD force mobilization operations

Non-Homeland Security Missions
5. Maritime safety
Setting standards and conducting vessel inspections to better ensure the safety of passengers and crew aboard cruise ships, ferries, and other passenger vessels and commercial and fishing vessels; partnering with states and boating safety organizations to reduce recreational boating deaths
6. Search and rescue
Operating smallboat stations and a national distress and response communication system; conducting search and rescue operations for mariners in distress
7. Living marine resources
Protecting our nation’s fishing grounds from foreign encroachment; enforcing domestic fishing laws and regulations through inspections and fishery patrols
8. Environmental protection
Preventing and responding to marine oil spills; preventing the illegal dumping of plastics and garbage into our nation’s waters
9. Aids to navigation
Maintaining an extensive system of navigation aids in our waterways; monitoring marine traffic through vessel traffic service centers
10. Ice operations
Conducting polar operations to facilitate the movement of critical goods and personnel in support of scientific and national security activity; conducting domestic ice breaking operations to facilitate year-round commerce
11. Other law enforcement (foreign fish enforcement)
Protecting U.S. fishing grounds by ensuring that foreign fishermen do not illegally harvest U.S. fish stocks

The Six New Coast Guard Programs Defined





Maritime Security Operations (MSO)
The Maritime Security Operations program assists in preventing criminal or hostile actor damage to – or use and exploitation of – the maritime domain and the U.S. Marine Transportation System (MTS) through the planning for and oversight, management, exercise, and execution of integrated and layered operations, which include collaborative and coordinated efforts with maritime security partners. MSO includes the execution of anti-terrorism, counterterrorism, military out-load protection operations, security response, and initial recovery operations. The program supports interagency partners with the protection of National Special Security Events. Finally, it coordinates and implements maritime security contingency preparedness programs at the national, regional, and local (port) level. The MSO aligns with the National Strategy for Maritime Security and its sub-plans, the National Maritime Transportation Security Plan, and the National Infrastructure Protection Plan. The program leverages the Maritime Operational Threat Response Plan. This plan, by establishing roles and responsibilities, ensures a coordinated, timely, and decisive U.S. government response to threats against the United States, the MTS, and its interests in the maritime domain. The MSO is one of three elements of the maritime governance approach to the Coast Guard’s Ports, Waterways and Coastal Security mission. Maritime Security Regimes and Maritime Domain Awareness are the other two elements. Supporting this approach, the MSO encompasses Coast Guard mission activities conducted to contribute to the detection, deterrence, prevention, and disruption of terrorist attacks, and other criminal acts in the maritime domain.

The CGC Munro maintains a watchful distance during the first boarding conducted under the authority of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC), Aug. 19, 2008. The WCPFC is designed to ensure the long-term conservation and sustainable use of highly migratory fish stocks in the western and central Pacific Ocean and has more than 30 participating nations and territories. U.S. Coast Guard photo

Maritime Law Enforcement
The Maritime Law Enforcement program is a critical element of DHS’s overall strategy to secure and manage the border. Specifically, the program protects America’s maritime borders from encroachment, defends our nation’s maritime sovereignty from illicit activity, facilitates legitimate use of the waterways, and suppresses violations of federal law on, under, and over the high seas and waters subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. The Coast Guard is the lead federal maritime law enforcement agency and the only agency with both the authority and capability to enforce national and international law on the high seas, outer continental shelf, and inward from the U.S. exclusive economic zone (EEZ) to inland waters. Coast Guard responsibilities include detecting and interdicting contraband and illegal drug traffic; at sea enforcement of U.S. immigration laws and policies; enforcing our nation’s fisheries and marine protected species laws and regulations; ensuring the integrity of the EEZ, monitoring compliance with international living marine resource regimes and international agreements to which the United States is party; and through compliance with international agreements, combating illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing that negatively impacts maritime and economic security in coastal and regional areas worldwide.


Maritime Prevention
The Coast Guard Maritime Prevention program acts to prevent maritime transportation security incidents and marine casualties resulting from malicious attacks, accidents, or acts of nature. The program aims to prevent personnel casualties and property losses, damage to the environment, and other adverse outcomes while limiting disruptions to and supporting restoration of the MTS. The Coast Guard is responsible for ensuring the safe, secure, and environmentally sound operation of U.S.-flagged vessels wherever they are in the world, and for exercising Port State control over foreign-flag vessels operating in U.S. waters. The Maritime Prevention program accomplishes this by developing and enforcing federal marine safety, security, and environmental regulations. The Coast Guard reviews vessel and maritime facility security plans, conducts mandatory safety and security inspections of vessels and facilities, and enforces Transportation Worker Identification Credential regulations. The program conducts domestic and international port security assessments, analyzes maritime security risk nationwide to identify high-risk targets in order to support risk reduction measures, to include the administration of port security grant funding. The program assesses the effectiveness of anti-terrorism measures in foreign ports by conducting inspections to determine compliance with the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) International Ship and Port Facility (ISPS) Code, and requires vessels arriving in the United States from ports with inadequate anti-terrorism measures to take additional security precautions. The program conducts vessel safety exams and inspections; certifies and licenses U.S. mariners; and investigates marine casualties to identify appropriate regulatory or safety improvements. The program manages the national effort to reduce the casualties involved in recreational boating by establishing and implementing vessel manufacturing standards and providing grants to states and national nonprofit organizations to improve recreational boating safety. The program protects the marine environment by regulating the discharge of oil, hazardous substances, and other facility and shipboard wastes into U.S. and international waterways and acts to avert the introduction of invasive species to the nation’s waters and mitigate the consequences of such incidents. The United States is an active member state of the IMO, Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum, and the Organization of the American States. Coast Guard Maritime Prevention program managers maintain strong leadership roles in these organizations.

Crewmembers aboard the CGC Petrel‘s smallboat question suspected illegal immigrants aboard a disabled panga boat approximately 40 miles off the California coast, Oct. 1, 2010. The crew of the USS Boxer spotted the 16 people aboard waving their hands in distress and notified the Coast Guard, who transported them to U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel in Oceanside, Calif. U.S. Coast Guard photo

Maritime Response
The Maritime Response program mitigates the consequences of marine casualties and disastrous events, be they natural or man-made. The Coast Guard serves as the nation’s maritime first responder and deployable rescue and response force. The Coast Guard minimizes loss of life, injury, and property loss by searching for and rescuing persons in distress in the maritime environment, and mitigates pollution and damage to the marine environment through incident response operations. Coast Guard preparedness efforts for all threats and all hazards transcends all missions and ensures incident response and recovery resources are fully ready and capable of scalable mobilization in coordination with and support of local, state, tribal, federal, and private-sector partners, and provides these same services in support of U.S. interests during international incidents.

Petty Officer 1st Class Anthony Ross, a member of Maritime Safety and Security Team (MSST) Los Angeles, Calif., and his K-9 partner, Chiquita, search a pier for dangerous materials, Oct. 9, 2010. The MSST was providing pier security checks for the cutters involved in San Francisco’s Fleet Week 2010. U.S. Coast Guard photo


Defense Operations
As one of the nation’s five armed services, the Coast Guard via its Defense Operations program provides integrated, multi-mission forces and unique capabilities to support the National Military Strategy. Specific objectives include defending the homeland, promoting international security, deterring conflict, and winning our nation’s wars. The Coast Guard has the authorities, capabilities, and capacity to carry out our homeland security and defense operations. These authorities apply whether operating under Coast Guard operational control or under the operational control of a DoD Geographic Combatant Commander. The Coast Guard provides trained, equipped, and mission-matched force packages in support of combatant commanders’ initiatives as outlined in the 2008 DoD-DHS Memorandum of Agreement. The eight mission elements that comprise the Coast Guard’s Defense Operations portfolio are: Maritime Interdiction Operations; Combating Maritime Terrorism; Port Operations Security and Defense (to include maintaining a Title 10 Reserve force and providing Aids to Navigation support for battle-space preparation); Military Environmental Response Operations; Coastal Sea Control Operations (including providing DoD the only assured surface access in ice-covered and ice-diminished waters); Maritime Operational Threat Response (MOTR); Rotary Wing Air Intercept Operations; and Support for Theater Security Cooperation Initiatives. The Coast Guard maintains a level of readiness and training that allows for the immediate integration with DoD forces for peacetime operations or during times of war. This supports U.S. national interests abroad, as well as facilitating DoD support to DHS for the integration of Homeland Defense and Homeland Security.


Marine Transportation System Management
The Marine Transportation System (MTS) Management program ensures safe, secure, efficient, and environmentally sound waterways. This is essential to the flow of goods and commerce, and vital for U.S. economic security. The Coast Guard assesses and mitigates risks to safe navigation by providing and maintaining navigation systems, including visual and electronic aids and vessel traffic management services. The program ensures rapid waterways restoration after extreme weather events, marine accidents, or malicious incidents. The program encompasses ice operations activities, including domestic ice breaking services to facilitate commerce in winter and prevent ice-related flooding; polar ice breaking support to national security, sovereignty, and science objectives; and surveillance and warning broadcasts of icebergs in the North Atlantic to ensure the safe movement of goods and people. The MTS Management program administers federal interests in bridges over all navigable waters of the United States. Additionally, the program ensures safe, reliable, and efficient pilotage services on the Great Lakes and establishes navigation standards including rules of the road, equipment carriage requirements, regulated navigation areas, routing measures, waterways risk assessments, and marine spatial planning. The program ensures balanced waterways usage by working with other federal agencies, state, and local governments, Harbor Safety Committees, marine industries, maritime associations, and the international community.


Rear Adm. Roy Nash, deputy director of the National Maritime Intelligence Center, receives an on-scene briefing from Lt. Cmdr. Mark Gibbs, who was working with the Maritime Transportation System Recovery Unit (MTSRU), forward deployed on the Coast Guard Cutter Oak, Jan. 23, 2010. The MTRSU was helping facilitate the port recovery efforts in Haiti in order to regain the ability to offload large amounts of aid and supplies. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer Eric J. Chandler

Coast Guard Programs and the QHSR
Through its Maritime Security Operations, Defense Operations, and Maritime Prevention programs, the Coast Guard is a key element of DHS’s Preventing Terrorism and Enhancing Security QHSR mission. In the development and enforcement of safety and security standards and plans, the vulnerabilities of critical infrastructure and key resources in ports and on waterways are hardened. With a joint intelligence capability and as a ready force on patrol supporting maritime domain awareness, the Coast Guard is vigilant and ready to deter or disrupt terrorist actions.

From the inland waterways and ports to the littoral and high seas, the Coast Guard’s leadership as the primary federal maritime law enforcement agency directly supports Securing and Managing Our Borders and Enforcing Immigration Laws in the maritime domain. The Maritime Law Enforcement program leverages Coast Guard authorities to uphold sovereignty, protect marine resources, and enforce anti-smuggling, drug, and migrant laws and certain other international agreements.

A boarding team from the Coast Guard Cutter Acushnet terminated the voyage of two fishing vessels for safety violations during a boarding in the Gulf of Alaska. Ensign Emma Marr and Chief Petty Officer Alan Kinman were inspecting safety equipment and forms aboard the fishing vessel Teri Lynn. U.S. Coast Guard photo

By maintaining a readiness posture and establishing a presence in ports, waterways, and on the high seas, the Coast Guard is the nation’s premier first responder on the water. The Coast Guard’s Maritime Response program Ensures Resilience to Disasters. Through risk assessment, plan development, training, exercises, and daily operations, the Coast Guard continuously improves capabilities in emergency management. The Coast Guard ensures national and key international maritime communities are resilient and prepared, and stands ready to respond to and aid in the recovery from man-made incidents or natural disasters. There is no better demonstration of this capability than the humanitarian response and restoration of port services to facilitate the movement of goods in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Haiti, and the Coast Guard’s response efforts in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. During such disasters, and during daily operations across all missions, the Coast Guard leads the development of local, state, interagency, and international partnerships in both the public and private sectors.

Coast Guard Seaman Joseph Calderon, stationed at Aids to Navigation Team Honolulu, services the Kukuihaele Lighthouse located off the northeastern side of the Big Island, Sept. 3 2010. Maintaining an extensive system of navigation aids to the nation’s waterways is one of the Coast Guard’s non-homeland security missions. U.S. Coast Guard photo

The Coast Guard uniquely possesses both civil and military authorities on the water. With a fully integrated approach to national and homeland security set forth in the 2010 National Security Strategy, the Coast Guard is a leader in the interagency coordination of maritime activities at home and abroad through its Defense Operations program.

Although competing demands exist between the need for security and the requirement for expediency in commerce and civil liberty, the Coast Guard provides this balance with its MTS Management program. By maintaining navigational aids and disseminating information, breaking ice, and enforcing safety standards, the Coast Guard assures safe and secure flow of people and goods in the nation’s maritime regions. The Coast Guard will continue to mature this balance by enhancing the security and resilience of national and global maritime trade and travel systems.

The Coast Guard is an agile and versatile service with a broad range of authorities and unique capabilities. The Coast Guard’s core competencies span the safety-security-defense continuum. From regulating and enforcing marine safety laws, to implementing maritime mobility measures essential to commerce, to supporting DoD in defending the nation and deterring conflict in the maritime environment, the Coast Guard is a leader in ensuring safety, security, and resiliency within the maritime domain.

This article was first published in Coast Guard Outlook: 2011 Edition.