Editor's Page

Sometimes when trying to prepare for the unexpected, those charged with responding don’t suffer from a lack of data; rather they are hampered by having too much, but without a way to make it form a bigger picture. Despite a multitude of intelligence-absorbing sensors at our nation’s ports and harbors, it has proven difficult to aggregate all of the information in a real-time manner—much to the dismay of personnel tasked with ensuring safety and security at those locations. But the implementation of the Coastal Surveillance System (CSS), one of many technological innovations that aim to change this, will connect numerous sensors by plugging them into a common system, says retired Navy Captain Edward H. Lundquist. “With CSS, the entire [vessel traffic services] network—as well as all of the other radars and sensors—can be integrated to provide a comprehensive fully integrated coastal surveillance and maritime situational awareness capability, allowing for safety, security, and efficiency.”

Even with all the advanced technology, the best surveillance tool is often still a vigilant set of eyes on the lookout for those up to no good. Coast Guard vessels, with their distinctive livery, are a familiar and reassuring presence as they provide a law-enforcement deterrent and response capability in our ports, on our rivers, and along our shores. They certainly stand out in a crowd—and that’s the problem. Patrols are too easy to hide from, with their highly visible orange boats, publicly known locations, and regular schedules. Such predictability hinders their effectiveness and the service’s ability to really see the maritime environment, according to Coast Guard Lieutenants Jeff Garvey and Nicolas Schellman. The authors believe the Coast Guard should take a page from land-based law enforcement and integrate a clandestine boat capability, thereby improving overall maritime awareness. These vessels would have no visible markings and would be operated by personnel in civilian clothes. “Adversaries know our tactics and are not going away,” they caution. “The only question is how we choose to respond.”

Paul Merzlak , Editor-in-Chief


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