Tuesday, April 28, 2009

7th Annual Maritime Homeland Security Conference

Today Amver attended the first day of the Institute for Defense and Government Advancement Maritime Homeland Security Summit in Jacksonville, FL. There are easily 300 delegates in attendance which, considering the economy, is a strong showing. There is a good mix of Coast Guard, Homeland Security partners, and industry folks participating.

Don't worry. Amver is not considering allowing intelligence or security services access to Amver vessel data. Most of these services understand the unique nature of Amver.

The conference started with remarks by USCG Captain Paul Thomas, Commander of Sector Jacksonville, who you may remember from a previous Amver case involving the reunion of a survivor and the ship that rescued him. That story can be found here.

USCG Vice Admiral Robert Papp, Atlantic Area Commander, gave the USCG priorities for maritime homeland security followed by USCG Rear Admiral Steve Branham, Seventh District Commander, who gave an excellent overview of maritime threats, immigration, and drug trafficking operations in the Caribbean. The last speaker was retired US Navy Admiral Harry Ulrich who gave an inspiring presentation, sans PowerPoint slides, and asked the question "What do you do?" Admiral Ulrich boiled things down to one simple statement which resonated with the delegates. "People want to use our infrastructure to do harm to us from the sea", he emphatically stated.

The remainder of the day saw topics such as programs for enhancing maritime domain awareness, implementing small vessel security strategies, inter agency coordination, and a dramatic presentation from Greg Flessate of Orbcomm on tracking AIS data from space.

After a poolside lunch the topics continued including a discussion on the changing Arctic landscape, USCG capabilities update by Rear Admiral Wayne Justice, and other breakout sessions.

We are looking forward to day two and will post an update at the close of the conference.

The one take away that sticks in our mind was a statement by Admiral Ulrich who said maritime governance will take priority over maritime domain awareness. It's one thing to know what is happening in the maritime domain, it's another to have the tools, laws, treaties, and policy to deal with that awareness. Great point.

What do you think? Are we putting all of our eggs in one basket? Is the world too focused on security? Tell us your maritime concerns.

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