Considering the “economy” piece of maritime domain awareness, 90 to 95 percent of all goods and services enter the U.S. from the ocean. As we develop and improve MDA, we must remember who it is that we’re serving.
A principal role of the Department of Transportation is to protect and improve the efficiency, resiliency, and recovery of U.S. commerce. Catastrophic events such as 9/11, natural disasters, incidents resulting in longshore stoppages, and any activity that can obstruct maritime trade are of great concern to the Maritime Administration (MARAD), specifically because these incidents can seriously impair the U.S. economy.
MARAD’s goal is to develop a more prominent role for the maritime industry in improving MDA. This goal will be realized when the industry has the information and actionable intelligence it needs to protect commerce and keep the supply chain moving. Industry has the closest knowledge of maritime trade processes, activities, and concerns; they are the first to see anomalies that might be important for the U.S. government to know.
We have made significant strides toward improving MDA through maritime industry engagement in such forums as the Global Maritime Information Sharing Symposium. We have begun to reduce the number of small, less effective meetings, and are leveraging more significant venues for a broader conversation. Both government and industry are beginning to think more inclusively, and the dialogue is improving.
Continuing work should include these actions:
- Apply the lessons learned from past dialogue, working through the National Maritime Intelligence Center, the National Committee on the Marine Transportation System, the National MDA Coordination Office, and other partnerships.
- Identify a process for industry representation within the federal MDA stakeholder board governance.
- Expand outreach in order to collect and give visibility to industry’s national and global concerns.
- Develop the ability to model the transportation system in order to anticipate obstructions to commerce.
In short, one of the most important ways in which we can increase MDA is by increasing our knowledge of maritime commerce. The health of our economy and the safety and security of our nation depend on it.
For more information:
The Maritime Domain Awareness Information Exchange: http://www.mda.gov/.
The National Maritime Domain Awareness Coordination Office: http://www.gmsa.gov/index.html.
Full article is available at http://www.uscg.mil/proceedings/summer2010.
Subscribe online at http://www.uscg.mil/proceedings/subscribe.asp.