The May 1st issue of the Federal Register has scheduled a USCG Notice of the next meeting of the National Maritime Security Advisory Committee (NMSAC). The meeting will be held May 15-16, 2012 at two locations in the Washington, DC area. The Meeting Notice has been published at 77 Federal Register page 25721 and is also available online.
The morning session on the 15th will be closed to the public so that NMSAC can receive classified briefings on current domestic and international security threats to maritime commerce at the National Maritime Intelligence Center. The rest of the meeting will be open to the public, although seating the American Bureau of Shippingâ€™s offices in Alexandria, VA, is â€œvery limited.â€ (Anyone wishing to attend in person should register with NMSACâ€™s Alternate Designated Federal Official by telephone or email no later than May 9th) Fortunately, the meeting will also be accessible via a webcast and by a teleconference. The details for arranging in-person or virtual participation in the meeting are included in the Notice, as are the methods for submitting written comments on the agenda items (by the Federal eRulemaking Portal, mail, fax, or hand delivery), which also should reach the Coast Guard by the 9th, as should any request to make an oral presentation (as opposed to speaking during the public comment periods).
The Agenda for the afternoon session on May 15th, from 1:00 to 4:30 PM, includes briefings/discussions on (1) the Global Supply Chain Security Initiative, (2) Transport Canada/USCG Regulatory Harmonization, and (3) Detain On-Board Requirements (affecting Seafarer Shore Access), and (4) the Port Security Grant Program and Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) Readers, as well as a public comment period (from 4:00 to 4:30 PM). The session on May 16th is set for 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM with an agenda consisting of a discussion of Maritime Domain Awareness and Information Sharing and a public comment period (from 11:30 to 12:00). The public comment sessions are apparently for non-agenda items the public wishes to raise, as at both open sessions â€œthe public will have an opportunity to comment . . . on each topic as it is discussed.â€
Do not assume that the briefings/discussions will occur in the order indicated in the Notice or even on the day indicated. NMSAC has a history of adjusting meeting agendas on the fly. Additionally, be aware that the Notice cautions that the meeting â€œmay close early if all business is finished.â€ If the agenda items are handled with sufficient dispatch, the public comment periods may start earlier than scheduled. It is also likely that the comment periods will not last their full scheduled time.
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