It’s time for a blueprint to improve maritime domain awareness.
Tens of thousands of commercial vessels move between the world’s many ports every day. Most are engaged in routine commerce of little interest to the U.S. Navy, but a few are carrying out illicit activities that threaten U.S. interests and warrant the Navy’s attention. Detecting these threats is not easy. Adversaries work hard to appear unremarkable and blend with normal maritime commerce; however, unusual patterns and suspect relations can be detected. Navy analysts and operators strive to distinguish this illicit activity from the large volume of routine commercial shipping. Organizations across the globe contribute to this ongoing effort, but how can we improve the role played by the U.S. Navy?