Tampa Bay Maritime Homeland Security Experiment Focuses On Enhancing Nation's Port Security

The U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard and SRI International are deploying a suite of advanced port security technologies, trained personnel, and are executing tactical procedures as part of a homeland security experiment in the waters of Tampa Bay through August 28.

Collectively described as an "Adaptive Force Package," the suite supports local incident response under the command of the Coast Guard, Captain of the Port, with the involvement of numerous federal, state and local law enforcement agencies from the Tampa Bay region. The experiment began on August 20 and will conclude on August 28. Civilian and military visitors will be invited to a briefing and will have an opportunity to observe Adaptive Force Package technology at the conclusion of the experiment.

The Navy's overarching goal of the experiment is to both demonstrate the platform's independent employment of Mine Countermeasures Mission Modules developed for the Littoral Combat Ship and to address the U.S. Fleet Forces and Commander of the Navy's Third Fleet Sea Trials objective for this capability. This limited-objective demonstration will serve as a core event that will benefit Coast Guard and local authorities as they work to improve civil-military procedures and incident response utilizing the Incident Command System to safeguard our nation's ports and waterways.

The experiment offers participants the opportunity to practice working together under the framework of a Department of Defense and Department of the Navy response to a Department of Homeland Security Maritime Operational Threat Response. The team will study the best use of command and control systems for guiding the flow of information from responding units to the key decision makers in the Unified Command. Further, the team will focus on ways to reduce risks to navigation and the general public while neutralizing an underwater threat.

The Coast Guard will be responsible for incident command in the experiment. Its role is to coordinate the response and actions of private-sector maritime stakeholders with military and civilian law enforcement actions.

SRI International will support in-water operations by surveying the underwater test area, deploying inert mine and improvised-explosive-device like-objects and providing surface support. The SRI team will also deploy specialized, high-resolution 3-D sonar for new change-detection technology that will be used to confirm the identity of any potential threat.

Forensic evidence will be gathered by the Underwater Crime Scene Investigation Team from Florida State University and analyzed by the National Forensic Science Technology Center Mobile Crime Lab.

Participants include the U.S. Coast Guard and the Port of St. Petersburg, the Naval Mine Warfare and Antisubmarine Command, Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division, Program Executive Office (Littoral and Mine Warfare), Office of Naval Research, Defense Threat Reduction Agency, SRI International's Marine Technology Program and National Center for Maritime and Port Security, National Forensics Science Technology Center and Florida State University.

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