DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
U.S. Coast Guard [USCG-2001-11137]
Maritime Security AGENCY:
COMMENTS REGARDING USCG'S EFFORT TO SECURE MARITIME TRANSPORTATION
January 28, 2002
The purpose of this commentary is to offer
suggestions in regard to United States and international community
interests to protect maritime shipping, passengers, crew and
to some extent maritime infrastructures from terrorist threats
or activities. It is recognized that security of marine infrastructures
of sovereign states are concerns of their own. However, marine
infrastructure security has peculiar international implications.
For example, a sinking of a large tanker or ship in the Bosphorous
Straits, or Malacca Straits may have implication beyond the
strait itself. Similarly the security of a container out-load
port in one country may affect the destination port of the
cargo in another country.
To make meaningful contributions to the
discussions of maritime security, it is necessary to address
the possible threats; i.e. perform a threat analysis. It is
conceivable that the USCG has already performed a confidential
threat analysis, not available to the general public. Lacking
the information regarding the potential threat, we can simply
state the potential threats (without giving ideas to the terrorists),
and ideas as to how to counter such threats.
Until 9/11, the United States had always
enjoyed a presumed protection of two oceans and two countries
- Mexico and Canada - from any destructive activities from
wars. This has been the case except for the Pearl Harbor attack
on 7 December of 1941. September 11 changed all that. Suddenly,
the more than 10,000 miles of United States shore line that
the USCG is responsible for protecting looms larger than ever.
Protecting the vast shorelines, including maritime shipping,
passengers, crew, cargo, ports and infrastructures along the
shorelines, are nearly an impossible task, in view of the
Coast Guard's manpower level and budget.
The freedom of the economic system, and
life style based on a free society is the fundamental underpinning
and reason for the fabulous economic growth of the United
States, year after year. Yet this very "free" society also
facilitates the ease with which the terrorist can operate
from the United States soil. Most security measures, probably
all security measures to a certain extent, will impede this
economic freedom. How much this impedance in the economic
freedom will hinder the prosperity of the United States is
unknown. But this much is certain that business "as usual"
is no longer acceptable and the business climate, specifically
the international transportation side of the business has
changed forever after 9/11. Now, it is politically and strategically
acceptable that something must be done to protect ourselves.
This "something" will invariably add restrictions of flow
of goods and people across the UNITED STATES, it may even
include surveillance and inspection of all means of containments
of cargo from their origin to the their destination.
How much restriction (of goods and people)
the United States economy will tolerate depends on the tolerance
and willingness of the public to accept higher prices of goods
and services. A trip to any department store will convince
anyone that the United States is fast becoming dependent on
foreign manufacturing for most consumer goods. Is the United
States incapable of manufacturing consumer goods like those
originating in a foreign country? - Of course not. But the
cost of these consumer goods would be prohibitive or we simply
would do without them. Can the United States isolate itself
from economic transactions with foreign countries? - Theoretically
it is possible, but in reality not very likely. Can the United
States isolate itself from the rest of the world, and forgo
the super-power status amid fast track globalization that
is now taking place? - Again the probability of that happening
is zero to nil.
So it goes - In this cold real world there
is always a bottom line to everything. How intrusive should
the Unites States be of foreign goods and people? How restrictive
should the United State be in the interchange of commerce
with other nations? How prohibitive should the Unites States
be in its protocol for acceptance of rules and regulations
of other sovereign nations? All these are a matter of intense
debate and a matter of economics as well i.e. bottom line.
The terrorists achieve their objectives
because of total surprise. The methods of nineteen men with
box cutters are no different. The antithesis of total surprise
is intelligence. The most important deterrence to terrorism
is intelligence gathering. It is not suggested that the USCG
go into the detective business or espionage business or worse.
Surely, some other federal
organizations are better positioned to
do the sleuthing stuff. What is suggested here is that the
be on the same wave length as other relevant
law enforcement agencies, intelligence agencies, port authorities,
etc. Using the Incident Command System methodology to set
up a command to coordinate the appropriate agencies in the
anti-terrorist intelligence gathering
field should be accomplished. This would facilitate the timely
sharing of information to thwart terrorist actions.
is attached showing the inter-relationship with various presumed
threats, hypothetical location of threat occurrence, origin
of threat activity or means of delivery, possible consequences,
possible preventive actions, system implications, hardware
implications and hardware availability. This is a preliminary
attempt to connect the threats and the countering of threats;
it is hoped the USCG will expand the matrix
to include information that this commentator does not possess.
Randell B. Sharpe
MH Systems, Inc.
P.O. Box 825
Del Mar, California 92014
and Defenses - Maritime Infrastructure
Your further inquiries are invited.
Write to: Corporate@mhsystemscorp.com