The Duke of Wellington once remarked: “All the business of war, and indeed all the business of life, is finding out what you don’t know from what you do. That’s what I called ‘knowing what was on the other side of the hill’.” Two centuries on, the need to “know what was on the other side of the hill” – or beyond the horizon – is the primary driver for affordable and effective maritime domain awareness (MDA), at home as well as overseas.
THE IMPERATIVE OF UNDERSTANDING AND SHARING MDA WITH GLOBAL PARTNERS
The US National Security Presidential Directive 41 defines MDA as “…the effective understanding of anything associated with the global maritime domain that could impact the security, safety, economy, or environment” – a tall order. For the United States, MDA addresses a broad spectrum of threats and challenges, from environmental disasters in the Gulf of Mexico to depleted fisheries to Mariners held hostage by pirates. ‘Understanding’ is important to success against these and other threats, but even more so is sharing that understanding with organisations charged with protecting US interests, citizens and friends in the maritime domain – from America’s inland and coastal waterways and ports to the high seas (see figure 1).
Domestic efforts are important, but perhaps even more imperative are regional and global partnerships for MDA. “Increased cooperation equals increased security”, Rear Admiral David W. Titley, USN, (Oceanographer and Navigator of the Navy and Director, Maritime Domain Awareness and Space, N2N6E, in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations) noted in an August interview. “Facilitating information sharing at the regional level is a cost-effective way to expand awareness for both our nation and our international partners. This will provide a cost-effective means to secure everyone’s littoral waterways, ensure the safety of commerce, and curtail the use of the maritime commons for illicit activities. But we can’t do it alone”, he underscored. “Stated another way, global situational awareness of the maritime domain cannot be monopolised by anyone nation, agency, or entity. It must be freely shared.”Continue Reading →
The U.S. Navy’s Liquid Fuel Board in 1904 decided to transition the fleet from coal to oil, as engineers and operators alike had come to believe that oil-fired propulsion would greatly enhance the Navy’s fighting trim. Three years later, the ‘round-the-world voyage of the Great White Fleet underscored coal’s logistical and operational challenges and the need for change.
Today the Navy has embraced a far-reaching energy-efficiency strategy and is pursuing a broad spectrum of “technology insertions” that include alternative fuels for its ships and aircraft. This is already promising across-the-board enhancements for today’s as well as tomorrow’s fleet, not unlike the Navy at the turn of the previous century. And in that, the Service is focused on a game-changing target: the 2016 deployment of a “Great Green Fleet,” first announced by Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus in his October 2009 Navy Energy Forum address. The nation’s energy vulnerability clearly has military and national security implications, he explained.
“We do not have operational independence, and we are tied to a vulnerable logistics tail,” Mabus said. “[I]n the drive for energy reform the goal has got to be increased warfighting capability.”
At the 2010 Navy Energy Forum, Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Gary Roughead said the Navy’s path to a Great Green Fleet was not a “public relations gimmick” but epitomized the Service’s new energy-security research, development, policy and operations.
“It’s more than simply how ‘green’ can we be seen,” said Roughead. “It really is an operational issue for us.”
The Green Fleet concept signals the Navy’s strategic embrace of a dramatic sea change that could break dependence on fossil fuels for powering the future surface ships and provide an alternative energy model for the United States. In short, it’s a strategic and operational imperative that cannot wait.Continue Reading →
On August 1, 2011, following three years of diplomacy between the National Maritime Domain Awareness Coordination Office (NMCO) and the Japanese Coast Guard (JCG), the country of Japan became the 68th nation to activate and participate in the Maritime Safety and Security Information System (MSSIS). The Japanese Coast Guard (JCG) is comprised of approximately 12,000 personnel, and protects Japanese maritime interests under the oversight of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. As such, the mission of JCG is similar to the US Coast Guard’s spectrum of missions to promote and protect their nation’s maritime security, safety, economy, and environment.
With their induction into MSSIS, the maritime vessel information shared by this program becomes a force multiplier and enabler for all JCG operations. Having identified three specific areas around Japan that would benefit from increased maritime domain awareness (MDA) coverage, MSSIS Automatic Identification System (AIS) receivers were incorporated into the Tsugara straits, Tsushima Straits and the waters around Yonakuni Island. Japan now has increased their ability to monitor 13,430 sq. km of territorial waters and over 3,000 islands, while providing Japan with vessel traffic information from the territorial waters and exclusive economic zones of other nations across the world.Continue Reading →
On Tuesday, June 14, 2011, ADM Robert J. Papp, Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard testified before the House Committee on Homeland Security, Subcommittee on Border & Maritime Security on the topic “Securing the Nation’s Ports and Maritime Border — A Review of the Coast Guard Post 9/11 Homeland Security Missions”. During his testimony, Admiral Papp made the following remarks regarding Maritime Domain Awareness and Offshore Operations:
“Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) is a diverse set of capabilities that support all levels (strategic, operational, and tactical) of decision-making. It is a continuum of maritime knowledge, from situational awareness through current and predictive intelligence. MDA is more than an awareness of ships en route to a particular port; it also entails knowledge of:
People: Crew, passengers, owners, and operators;
Cargo: All elements of the global supply chain;
Infrastructure: Vital elements of the nation’s maritime infrastructure, including facilities, services and systems;
Environment: Weather, environmentally sensitive areas, and living marine resources; and
Trends: Shipping routes, migration routes and seasonal changes.
Effective MDA requires efficient information sharing that demands coordination among numerous participants at international, federal, regional, state, local, territorial and tribal levels of government, as well as with maritime industry and private sector partners.
The Creating Climate Wealth Summit took place May 3-4, 2011 at the Nationals Park Conference Center in Washington, DC. The workshops were attended by executives, investors, entrepreneurs, and leaders from the private and public sector. The purpose was to identify specific U.S. pathways to accelerate deployment of green solutions in the face of low expectations and weak mandates.
The Carbon War Room, a non-profit organization created by entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson focused on market-driven solutions to address climate change, convened the summit and assembled leaders from the finance, transportation, energy, agriculture industries, as well as government in an effort to jumpstart efforts that will have immediate impacts on global climate change.Continue Reading →
WASHINGTON—Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano announced last week the release of FY 2011 grant guidance and application kits for the Port Security Grant Program (PSGP) to help protect critical port infrastructure from terrorism, enhance maritime domain awareness and strengthen risk management capabilities in order to protect against improvised explosive devices and other non-conventional weapons. The total amount of funds which will be distributed for FY 2011 is $235,029,000.
The PSGP is one of five grant programs that constitute the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Fiscal Year FY 2011 focus on transportation infrastructure security activities. The PSGP is one tool in the comprehensive set of measures authorized by Congress and implemented by the administration to strengthen the nation’s critical infrastructure against risks associated with potential terrorist attacks. It provides funding for transportation infrastructure security activities to implement Area Maritime Transportation Security Plans and facility security plans among port authorities, facility operators, and state and local government agencies required to provide port security services.
The following is the summary from a report by the Congressional Research Service entitled Effects of Radiation from Fukushima Daiichi on the U.S. Marine Environment. The report was written by Eugene H. Buck, Specialist in Natural Resources Policy, and Harold F. Upton, Analyst in Natural Resources Policy.
The massive Tohoku earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011, caused extensive damage in northeastern Japan, including damage to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power installation, which resulted in the release of radiation. Some have called this incident the biggest manmade release ever of radioactive material into the oceans. Concerns have arisen about the potential effects of this released radiation on the U.S. marine environment and resources.
Both ocean currents and atmospheric winds have the potential to transport radiation over and into marine waters under U.S. jurisdiction. It is unknown whether marine organisms that migrate through or near Japanese waters to locations where they might subsequently be harvested by U.S. fishermen (possibly some tuna in the western Pacific and, less likely, salmon in the North Pacific) might be exposed to radiation in or near Japanese waters, or might consume prey that have accumulated radioactive contaminants.Continue Reading →
According to conventional studies, shipping accounts for 2.7 per cent of global greenhouse emissions or a maximum of 400 m tons of CO2 per year. By comparison, the aviation industry, which has been under heavy pressure to clean up, is responsible for about 650 m tons of CO2 emissions a year. Now a leaked study indicates that the true green house gas emissions from shipping may be almost three times higher than previously believed. If accurate, the annual emissions from the world’s merchant fleet have already reached 1.12bn tonnes of CO2, or nearly 4.5% of all global emissions of the main greenhouse gas. Whether the study is accurate or not, to avoid dangerous climate change, which is associated with a 2°C temperature rise, many reports stress the urgent need for the shipping industry to start process of greenhouse gas emission reductions. Pressure is now expected to increase on ship owners to switch to better fuels and on the EU to include shipping in its emission trading scheme. Previous attempts by the industry to calculate levels of carbon emissions were largely based on the quantity of low grade fuel bought by ship owners instead of on the more accurately known engine sizes of the world’s ships and sea transit times and fuel grades sold to ship owners which the new report reflects.Continue Reading →
The Department of Homeland Security MDA & Information Sharing Accomplishments for Fiscal Year 2010 provides an excellent overview of recent efforts relating to improving maritime domain awareness. Particularly notable in this annual report is a discussion of intelligence support to the M/V SUN SEA response, where success was attributable, in large part, to the smooth flow of information to operational stakeholders.Continue Reading →
On March 9th, 2011 the National Maritime Intelligence Center (NMIC) hosted a NMIC Interagency Advisory Group (NIAG) forum to discuss the potential impacts of the Panama Canal expansion in relation to global shipping, U.S. port operations and port connectivity to intermodal transportation systems across North America.
The NIAG is a 32-member advisory group consisting of partner U.S. Government (USG) departments, services and agencies which represent a whole of government approach on maritime concerns. The group meets monthly to tackle maritime information sharing impediments, Information Technology architecture compatibility, and intelligence analysis and collection requirements. It also ensures that the NMIC represents maritime intelligence polices and cross-cutting issues to the broader federal interagency in a coordinated and integrated fashion.Continue Reading →