The explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in April 2010 tragically underscored the need for comprehensive maritime domain awareness (MDA), what presidential directives state is the “effective understanding or anything associated with the global maritime domain that could impact the security, safety, economy, or environment of the United States.”1 By the time BP stopped the flow, some 4.9 million barrels of oil had spewed into the Gulf of Mexico, generating serious threats to more than 400 species of wildlife, vital coastal marshlands and the economies of four states––with indirect impacts felt throughout the United States and overseas as well. Of growing concern from the spring through fall of that year was the latent threat from massive underwater oil plumes—one on the order of 20 miles long and 3,000 feet below the surface of the Gulf—that scientists found difficult to track.2
Time for 'Green' Maritime Domain Awareness
Oceanic-intel tools developed for military and homeland-security purposes promise to be a boon in the environmental sphere as well.
By Scott C. Truver