Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Maritime Domain Awareness Information Hubs—What are they, and what do they do?

Excerpt from U.S. Coast Guard Proceedings of the Marine Safety & Security Council magazine by Ms. Alice F. Dunn, Program Analyst, U.S. Coast Guard Maritime Domain Awareness and Information Sharing.

Achieving maritime domain awareness is a daunting challenge, especially in view of the vast community of stakeholders. To better connect to this global maritime community of interest, the National Concept of Operations for Maritime Domain Awareness called for creating “enterprise hubs” focused on cargo and people, critical infrastructure, vessels, and architecture.

MDA Information Hubs. To date, four MDA information hubs have been established, one for each pillar or domain. These hubs identify key partners and inventory information resources and respond to GMCOI inquiries.

  • MDA Cargo and People Hubs: U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has been designated to lead the cargo and people hubs because it is very familiar with and has access to data pertaining to the maritime supply chain and international maritime crew and passengers. Analytical tools—such as the International Trade Data System/Automated Commercial Environment and other systems—are used to identify and respond to threats within the supply chain, and the national targeting center makes CBP uniquely equipped to support hub services.

  • MDA Infrastructure Protection Hub: The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Infrastructure Protection leads the coordinated national program to reduce and mitigate risk within the national critical infrastructure and key resource sectors to strengthen sectors’ ability to respond and quickly recover from an attack or other emergency.

  • MDA Vessel Hub: The Office of Naval Intelligence and the Coast Guard Intelligence Coordination Center are the lead agencies, established to increase the awareness, availability, quantity, and quality of maritime vessel information. The vessel hub has responsibilities such as near-real-time vessel identification and tracking; near-real-time identification and tracking of vessels involved in non-threatening but illegal shipping operations; and near-real-time identification and tracking of uncooperative, non-emitting vessels.

MDA Architecture Management Hub. This hub assists the federal information sharing environment for the global maritime community of interest (GMCOI) by establishing national data and infrastructure standards and capabilities. It formulates the architecture, processes, and standards that facilitate information sharing. The Department of the Navy Chief Information Office is the designated lead agency. The hub was established to design and manage the overall enterprise architecture needed to facilitate net-centric sharing of maritime information. The MDA enterprise architecture will provide the standards and processes that will allow the information hubs and maritime community members to share information and services.

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.