Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Minor Tweak to the Blog

Thanks to John Bennett for pointing out that most of my reference links were broken. I'm not sure why, but Homeport won't let you view the documents unless you're openining them from Homeport. It doesn't make any sense, but I'm too confused to figure it out.

Anyway, I fixed it so that the links will take you the appropriate page to find the information referenced. Please let me know if this isn't the case.

The NMSAC Year in Review

As 2008 draws to a close, I figured I'd give a wrap up of the work the NMSAC accomplished this year.

This year we welcomed 6 new committee members, bringing our total number of committee members to 21! (on a side note, I'm going to start a regular "meet your committee" segment on the blog, so you can get to know who's who).

NMSAC was tasked with several items in 2008 (some of which I've discussed in previous blog entries). The first was an identification of the greatest national maritime security concerns that will be confronting the industry in the next two years. At it’s April meeting, the committee identified 8 issues that they felt were significant to the Maritime Industry, you can read about it here:

The second was an analysis of the Transportation Security User Fee Study requirement identified by Title XIII, Section 1308 of the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007. NMSAC recommended, “…that the Department not consider the development of a new security user fee or a new ‘system of maritime security and transportation-related user fees’”. This information was used to inform the Department as it conducted its User Fee study. You can find the complete report here.

NMSAC was also tasked to develop a working group to examine and quantify the extent to which the issue of seafarer’s access to shore leave is a problem and develop a set of reasonable solutions/recommendations that the Department can use in addressing the issue. You can read that blog post here.

The NMSAC TWIC Working Group submitted a report at the request of TSA and the Coast Guard to provide a “health check” of the TWIC program as it continued its roll out. The report highlighted multiple issues that have either been addressed or are being addressed by TSA and the Coast Guard. You can read about it here. The dialogue between the TWIC working group and the Department will continue as this program matures.

On a final note, As directed by Congress in the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002, The authorization for NMSAC's existance was set to expire on September 30, 2008. NMSAC Staff worked with Coast Guard Legislative staff to incorporate language into the most recent CG Authorization bill that would reauthorize the committee until 2020. Congressional approval was unable to be secured for the bill (both versions of which had the language re-authorizing the committee). As a result, the CG was forced to restructure the charter of the Committee re-establishing it as a discretionary committee until such time as legislative authorization is secured. The new Charter was signed on September 30, 2008.

So, what's on the agenda for NMSAC in the future? Well, we're still chugging along on this Social Media train. We've got a few plans in the works to include regular podcasts, videos, and guests posts from CG staff and our committee members. I also recently linked up this blog via twitterfeed to my Twitter account to push the word out on the excellent work the committee is doing. If you have any additional suggestions, please let me know, I can always use good ideas!

Have a Great Holidays, everyone! We'll see you in 2009!