Friday, October 31, 2008

USCG/CBP Joint Command Centers

One of the key Maritime Security issues of particular interest to the NMSAC was the implementation of the USCG/CBP Joint Command Centers. At our September meeting CAPTAIN Scott LaRochelle, head of the Office of Shore Forces at CG HQ (CG-741, for those of you who get off on the numbering scheme), provided the committee a breakdown of the CG's efforts to date (you can see his official presentation here)

Identified as the Interagency Operation Centers/Command 21 (or IOC/C21 for you acronym types), the initiative has identified several current gaps that exist with the current state of Sector Command Centers (Basic awareness of vessel activities near vulnerable port and coastal infrastructure, Systems linking ever-increasing volume of information with vessels to help determine threat and develop the correct course of action, Infrastructure for effective information sharing and joint operations with port partners).

Ultimately, the IOC/C21 initiative will provide three distinct areas of new capability:
  1. Robust information management tools to improve interagency coordination, enhance situational awareness, and automate anomaly detection;
  2. Facilities to accommodate port partners, host daily coordination activities, and provide space for surge ops, and;
  3. An adaptable sensor network to actively monitor critical port and coastal infrastructure & waterways

the NMSAC was curious as to what the difference between this initiative and all of the state and local "Fusion Centers" that are popping up (especially those that are being funded with Homeland Security and Port Security Grant Money). CAPT LaRochelle provided a paper to help explain the difference.

From the Paper:

"The purpose of the IOC is to improve unity of effort among all Federal,
State and local stakeholders in critical port areas by organizing, coordinating,
and managing operational planning, mission execution, and resource allocation.
The goal of this coordination is to create “operational fusion,” e.g. the effective shared execution of mission related activities."


"The [State and Major Urban Area Fusion Centers] SFC collects, organizes, focuses, combines and disseminates information from a number of classified and unclassified information resources to detect terrorist and illegal activities. The National Strategy for Information Sharing (NSIS) describes SFCs as the primary focal point within the state and local environment for the receipt and sharing of terrorism-related information, homeland security information and law enforcement information related to terrorism. The SFCs will customize federally supplied information to meet State needs."

The Paper goes into much more greater detail, but the gist of it is the the IOC is an operational coordination entity while the SFC is being considered an information collection and dissemination entity.

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