Maritime Experiment Focuses on Enhancing Nation's Port Security
by Jim Kouri
The US Navy, US Coast Guard and SRI International -- a private security firm -- are deploying a suite of advanced port security technologies, trained personnel, and are executing tactical procedures as part of a homeland security experiment in the waters of Tampa Bay through the end of August.
Collectively described as an "Adaptive Force Package," the suite supports local incident response under the command of the Coast Guard, Captain of the Port, with the involvement of numerous federal, state and local law enforcement agencies from the Tampa Bay region. The experiment began on Aug. 20 and will conclude on Aug. 28. Civilian and military visitors will be invited to a briefing and will have an opportunity to observe Adaptive Force Package technology at the conclusion of the experiment.
The Navy's overarching goal of the experiment is to both demonstrate the platform's independent employment of Mine Countermeasures Mission Modules developed for the Littoral Combat Ship and to address the US Fleet Forces and Commander of the Navy's Third Fleet Sea Trials objective for this capability. This limited-objective demonstration will serve as a core event that will benefit Coast Guard and local authorities as they work to improve civil-military procedures and incident response utilizing the Incident Command System to safeguard our nation's ports and waterways.
The experiment offers participants the opportunity to practice working together under the framework of a Department of Defense and Department of the Navy response to a Department of Homeland Security Maritime Operational Threat Response. The team will study the best use of command and control systems for guiding the flow of information from responding units to the key decision makers in the Unified Command. Further, the team will focus on ways to reduce risks to navigation and the general public while neutralizing an underwater threat.
The Coast Guard will be responsible for incident command in the experiment. Its role is to coordinate the response and actions of private-sector maritime stakeholders with military and civilian law enforcement actions.
SRI International will support in-water operations by surveying the underwater test area, deploying inert mine and improvised-explosive-device like-objects and providing surface support. The SRI team will also deploy specialized, high-resolution 3-D sonar for new change-detection technology that will be used to confirm the identity of any potential threat.
Forensic evidence will be gathered by the Underwater Crime Scene Investigation Team from Florida State University and analyzed by the National Forensic Science Technology Center Mobile Crime Lab.
Participants include the US Coast Guard and the Port of St. Petersburg, the Naval Mine Warfare and Antisubmarine Command, Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division, Program Executive Office (Littoral and Mine Warfare), Office of Naval Research, Defense Threat Reduction Agency, SRI International's Marine Technology Program and National Center for Maritime and Port Security, National Forensics Science Technology Center and Florida State University.
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for a number of organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. He writes for many police and crime magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer, Campus Law Enforcement Journal, and others. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com, Booksamillion.com, and can be ordered at local bookstores. Kouri holds a bachelor of science in criminal justice and master of arts in public administration and he's a board certified protection professional.