NMSAC Agenda Issued, But Meeting May Be Off

The Agenda for the meeting of the Maritime Security Advisory Committee (NMSAC), set for next week has been made available. The meeting will be cancelled, however, if Congress doesn’t provide funds to operate the US Government past tomorrow night.
The next NMSAC meeting is scheduled for April 12-13 at the American Bureau of Shipping, 1400 Key Blvd, Suite 800, Arlington, Virginia 22209. In separate communications, Ryan F. Owens, Chief of the Industry Outreach Branch in the Domestic Ports Division (CG-5441) at US Coast Guard Headquarters, who is also the Deputy Designated Federal Official for the Committee, promulgated the agenda for the meeting and announced that the meeting will be cancelled if a Continuing Resolution or a Budget is not passed by tomorrow (Friday) night, when the latest Continuing Resolution expires.
The Agenda deals with a number of items of high interest for the maritime transportation security community. Morning Briefings and Discussion are scheduled to begin at 9:00 AM on the 12th, after a 15-minute discussion of the NMSAC Business Plan. The briefings include one on the TWIC Pilot Program by a USCG staffer and a TSA representative and one on Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) and Information Sharing. The NMSAC will then discuss last year’s Coast Guard Authorization Act. This will be followed by a “Working Lunch” with a “NMSAC Open Discussion” of SAFE Port Act Re-Authorization. It is unclear if the lunch will be served in the meeting room, where microphones and audio webcasting would allow remote visitors to follow the discussion. Starting a 1:00PM, one hour is allotted for a briefing/discussion by two NMSAC members on the results of the Seafarer Access Shore Leave Policy Working Group. This is to be followed by a public comment session scheduled for 30 minutes, and then adjournment for the day. Three Briefings and Discussions are scheduled for the morning of the 13th , starting at 8:45, and include the results of the CDC Working Group, information on Interagency Operations Centers, and Seafarer Second Amendment Rights, to be followed by another opportunity for public comment, closing remarks, and adjournment at noon. I assume that the standard caveat, that the NMSAC could wrap up its business earlier than scheduled, applies.
Interested members of the public can participate in the meeting by calling in to 866-810-4853 and entering the pass code 9760138# when prompted. One can also follow along online by logging onto https://connect.hsin.gov/r11254182/ and following the online instructions. But there won’t be any meeting to follow if Congress can’t break its deadlock over funding the Government. The latest news in this regard is not good.
While we wait for the people we elected to run the Government to do just that, instead of engaging in political posturing, we can reflect on the implications of a Government shut down for the “little people”—”non-essential” civilian employees will be sent home uncertain if the income around which they based their financial planning will ever be restored and military personnel will continue to carry out their missions worldwide (including three war zones) without pay (it will accrue, but not be paid until funding is passed). In the meantime, members of Congress, the folks causing the mess, will continue to get paid.
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By Professional Mariner Staff