Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Office of Global Maritime Situational Awareness—a collaborative approach to government information sharing

Excerpt from U.S. Coast Guard “Proceedings of the Marine Safety & Security Council” magazine by CAPT George McCarthy, CAPT Dale Ferriere, and CAPT Rafael Nieves, Office of Global Maritime Situational Awareness.

More than one million mariners aboard nearly 95,000 vessels flagged in more than 150 nations move millions of passengers and billions of tons of cargo around the globe each year. Millions of pleasure and fishing craft operate in U.S. waters alone.

Around the world, competition for marine resources is accelerating. No single country, department, or agency can develop an effective understanding of everything that could affect the global maritime domain’s safety, security, economy, and environment.

Maritime Situational Awareness
Much of the data needed to build this maritime domain awareness (MDA) is already being collected by organizations around the world, and the technology already exists to pool it. For now, most of it is locked in stovepipes within hundreds of agencies and organizations, which makes using it like trying to connect dots, when every dot is on a different page.

The Office of Global Maritime Situational Awareness (OGMSA) was created as a national office to partner with the maritime community and build working relationships that increase our ability to find those dots and connect them.

As an independent national office with an interagency staff, the OGMSA represents the maritime information sharing needs across our government. Within the overall MDA stakeholder infrastructure, OGMSA partners with designated points of contact throughout the interagency.

Expansive MDA Growth
The MDA concept of operations calls for “spiral development,” in which layers of MDA capability are successively envisioned, tested, and then built upon. There is a staggering amount of data available to build a global maritime picture, and new sources are constantly being developed.

The global maritime community of interest is beginning to form a network, and the first layer of the spiral is coalescing. With the enterprise architecture management hub moving forward, the pace of information sharing will accelerate.

Meanwhile, OGMSA is engaging stakeholders in the private sector whose business models rely on uninterrupted, efficient operations throughout the global maritime infrastructure. Fully integrated maritime information sharing is still over the horizon, but actionable information is already being shared with increasing effectiveness.

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