Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Maritime Domain Awareness Opportunities—Outreach to the global community of interest

Excerpt from U.S. Coast Guard Proceedings of the Marine Safety & Security Council magazine by CAPT Dale Ferriere, U.S. Coast Guard and National MDA Coordination Office Executive Secretariat.

Achieving maritime domain awareness (MDA) through effective outreach to the global maritime community of interest (GMCOI) requires an earnest appreciation for what MDA is, an understanding about cultural and budgetary influences that adversely affect information sharing partnerships, and a situational understanding concerning the diverse needs and requirements of each GMCOI member.

Checks and Balances
The National MDA Coordination Office (NMCO) Executive Secretariat is situated as a broker and catalyst to help build GMCOI partnerships and institutionalize information sharing, resulting in true maritime domain awareness.

The NMCO Executive Secretariat is a diversified national interagency office with experienced members assembled from the U.S. Navy, Coast Guard, Maritime Administration, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which allows a unique perspective with a tremendous amount of first-hand expertise in maritime operations and planning that includes understanding how MDA situational awareness is dependent upon listening, learning, partnering, and sharing.

Since the NMCO Executive Secretariat’s customer base includes representatives from various port facilities, coastal state navies, coast guards, fisheries, intelligence communities, military communities, marine environmentalists, municipal law enforcement agencies, port authorities, supply chain specialists, and the comprehensive maritime industry, diversity is critical for it to reach out to the greater global maritime community of interest.

Because staff members hold each other accountable, the NMCO Executive Secretariat creates a workplace culture that consistently works toward ensuring organizational objectivity and diversity. As a result, the office can be an honest broker to help arbitrate issues.

Defining the GMCOI
In order to achieve MDA, each member of the GMCOI has potential information to share among the other partners. Regardless if the member is a commercial or government representative, a symbiotic relationship exists when there is better maritime domain awareness.

The essential ingredients for MDA (collaboration, partnership, and information sharing) require that each member put aside any preconceived judgments, parochial interests, and other selfish leanings. MDA has no place for “turf wars.” Identifying common maritime domain awareness issues and objectives requires active participation by all parties.

By no means does building partnerships and achieving MDA mean giving potential “bad operators” a free pass. Rather, maritime domain awareness partnering means that those performing risk assessments need to look more closely at their criteria and processes in identifying how partnering with higher-risk maritime industries can create the opportunity for mutual and effective risk and threat mitigation.

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.