A Notice published on July 13th in the Federal Register announced “information and listening sessions” in St. Louis and Houston this August, to discuss the Coast Guard’s Draft CDC Security National Strategy for the maritime transportation system. The two sessions are being sponsored by the Office of Port and Facility Activities (CG-544) on August 2nd and 18th respectively.
Both meetings are scheduled to last from 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM, but a session may adjourn early “if all business, concerns, and questions are addressed.” As seating will be limited, the Coast Guard will accept written comments from interested stakeholders for “a short period of time after the public meetings.”
The Coast Guard’s primary interest at these meetings is stakeholder input on the goals the Service has identified and how best to implement those goals under “a â€¢shared responsibility’ paradigm.” (That paradigm hasn’t gone over too well with industry, but the Coast Guard doesn’t have the resources to do it all alone.) The goals to be discussed include:
Provide to internal and external stakeholders real-time national, regional, and local awareness of the risk of intentional attacks on the CDC Marine Transportation System
Consistently assess vulnerability to threats of intentional attacks on the CDC Marine Transportation System and mitigate the vulnerability to an acceptable level
Dynamically assess the potential consequences of intentional attacks on the CDC Marine Transportation System and capably mitigate, through coordinated response, the impact of a successful attack
Lead the development of national, regional, and local resiliency/recovery capability from successful attacks on the CDC Marine Transportation System
While the Coast Guard had begun working with industry in 2009 to develop a way forward on CDC security in the maritime environment, Section 812 of the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2010 required both a study of the issue (due to Congress in October) and a then a National Strategy (due by April 15, 2011) for the security of maritime transportation of “especially hazardous cargo.” The Coast Guard is building on its previous work to satisfy the statutory requirement and will use the feedback it gets at these meetings to “inform” both the study and the strategy.
When the progress of the CDC Security Work Group was briefed to the national Maritime Security Advisory Committee (NMSAC) in January 2011, the presentation listed future outreach efforts in the form of “Stakeholder Listening Sessions” in Houston and St. Louis (in the Spring), the Joint Harbor Safety and Area Maritime Security Committee Conference (in Houston in June), and the Chemical Sector Security Summit (in Baltimore in July). It’s just as well that the schedule for the listening sessions slipped. The Joint Conference in Houston included almost the same presentation that NMSAC received in January, after which the briefer took three questions from the audience. There were two other speakers from industry on the panel, but as both have participated heavily in the Coast Guard’s efforts thus far, it’s unlikely they said anything that they hadn’t already told the Coast Guard. As for the recently concluded Chemical Sector Security Summit, it’s not clear that the subject even came up. There’s no mention of it in the last version of the agenda posted on the DHS website. At best, it could have been raised at the panel on “Stay Afloat with Coast Guard Regulations,” which was to cover “existing and emerging regulations,” including updates to the Maritime Transportation Security Regulations, the latest on the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC), MTSA-CFATS harmonization, and “other hot topics.” In a panel format and with the need to discuss the other subjects, there would not have been much time for feedback on CDC Security, if it did come up.
Given that the opportunity for feedback from other than “the usual suspects” has been so limited, I heartily endorse the suggestion of P.J. Coyle, whose excellent blog, Chemical Facility Security News, first alerted me to the Coast Guard’s announcement of the listening meetings, that the Coast Guard make them more accessible by webcasting them.
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