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October 26, 2005

DHS announces completion of maritime security plans

The Department of Homeland Security in collaboration with the Department of Defense and Department of State has announced the completion and final approval for eight plans supporting the National Strategy for Maritime Security.

These plans include: Maritime Commerce Security, Maritime Transportation Systems Security, Maritime Infrastructure Recovery, Maritime Operational Threat Response, Maritime Domain Awareness, Global Maritime Intelligence Integration, and Domestic and International Outreach.

In December 2004, President Bush signed a maritime policy security directive outlining his vision for a fully-coordinated U.S. government effort to protect U.S. interests in the maritime domain. This security directive resulted in the first-ever, comprehensive National Strategy for Maritime Security. Three broad principles that provide overarching guidance to this Strategy include: preserving the freedom of the seas; facilitating and defending commerce; and facilitating the movement of desirable goods and people across our borders, while screening out dangerous people and materials. The eight supporting plans work together to enhance international cooperation while maximizing domain awareness that will create necessary layers of security intended to stop terrorist and other threats against the U.S. as far from our shores as possible while also assuring continuity of the Marine Transportation System.

In remarks today, U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Thomas Collins, Assistant Secretary of Defense Paul McHale and U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Timothy Sullivan, the Senior Military Advisor to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, discussed today's complex maritime security environment, praising the Strategy and its supporting plans as an important first step to protect U.S. interests in the maritime domain. The three speakers stressed the importance of collaboration among the many government and private industry entities that have a stake in maritime security.

"The public and private sectors at all levels have important roles to play as we protect our interests in the maritime domain," Admiral Collins stated. "These plans build on the strategy of a layered defense as the government and private-sector improve their coordination during maritime incidents. Working together internationally and domestically, we will increase the transparency of people, cargo, conveyances and facilities operating in the maritime domain."

A team representing more than 20 government agencies contributed to the development of the National Strategy for Maritime Security and its supporting plans. Working groups for the Maritime Commerce Security, Maritime Transportation Systems Security and Maritime Infrastructure Recovery plans also sought public and private sector insight to ensure that those plans reflected maritime industry concerns and knowledge.

The Strategy and its supporting plans are among topics expected to gain cosniderable attention at Marine Log's MARITIME & PORT SECURITY 2005 conference to be held in Washington, D.C., Januray 30 & 31, 2005.

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