Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Spring 2011 Director’s Perspective

Excerpt from U.S. Coast Guard Proceedings of the Marine Safety & Security Council magazine by Mr. Dana Goward, director, U.S. Coast Guard Marine Transportation Systems Management Directorate.

Lighthouses, pilotage, icebreaking, limited access areas, traffic separation schemes ... if it helps mariners get there, chances are the Marine Transportation Systems (MTS) Management Directorate at CG headquarters is either responsible for it or has a big piece of it. That the service has chosen to create our organization and highlight the programs reflects the importance the Coast Guard places on the MTS, a national asset that contributes more than $750 billion to the U.S. GDP each year.

In 2010, the Coast Guard devoted more than 4,000 people and $1.4 billion to ensuring the MTS functioned well. In this edition of Proceedings, readers will learn about the kinds of things those people did, and how a lot of that money was spent.

Coast Guard support of marine transportation is facing a number of challenges. These include:
  • Aging boats and ships that maintain visual aids to navigation across the nation. Some boat types are more than 35 years old, and some ship classes are over 45 years old.
  • The need to modernize marine navigation and realize the efficiencies and improvements of “information age” technologies.
  • Near-ubiquitous reliance on GPS for safe navigation and its vulnerabilities to interference and jamming.
  • Protecting our sovereign rights and fulfilling our responsibilities in our Arctic waters.
  • Outdated policy and guidance on a wide variety of aids to navigation and waterways management issues, and a diminishing base of experienced people.
  • A growing list of bridges designated as unreasonable obstructions to navigation.
  • The need to engage states, localities, other federal agencies, and maritime stakeholders on a wide variety of offshore renewable energy projects and other coastal/marine spatial planning issues.
Addressing all these challenges is an “all hands” effort. As the headquarters program managers, we will be doing our level best to advocate for the needs and interests of our Coast Guard and public constituents and provide the best policy guidance available. And, of course, we will communicate all of this as effectively as we can through a wide variety of media—such as this edition of Proceedings. Enjoy!

Full article is available at http://www.uscg.mil/proceedings/spring2011/.