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Terror by Sea: The Unique Challenges of Port Security

NCJ Number
FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin Volume: 74 Issue: 9 Dated: September 2005 Pages: 22-26
Cole Maxwell; Tony Blanda
Date Published
September 2005
5 pages
This article describes the strategy, organization, and training for preventing America's ports from being used by terrorists for attacks inside the United States.
Monitoring the waterways, ports, and interstate connections is the job of marine enforcement officers. Before the terrorist attacks of September 11th, marine enforcement officers received specialized training in combating drug smuggling and illegal immigration, as well as the protection of America's natural resources and environment; however, because of the threat of maritime terrorism, these officers need specialized training in the tactics and prevention of terrorist maritime operations. On the front lines of this effort are the U.S. Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which are responsible for the protection of America's ports. While the Coast Guard protects ports and waterways, the CBP inspects cargoes and cargo containers that enter U.S. ports. To address the unprecedented challenges posed by terrorism, the Coast Guard and the CBP have allocated additional workers to their missions and have initiated several programs that tighten security at port areas and in the management of merchant ships, their cargoes, and their crews. In combination with this Federal effort, every State and local marine enforcement officer should receive training in the tactics and prevention of maritime terrorism. In April 2004, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, Driver and Marine Division convened a Curriculum Review Conference of the Advanced Marine Law Enforcement Training Program. The conference proposed a new curriculum to address the contemporary tactical skills required for marine enforcement; and they recommended changing the program name to the Antiterrorism/Port Security Boat Operations Training Program. Over 5 days, the program trains marine law enforcement officers, security personnel, executive protection agencies, supervisors of marine units, and others in the knowledge and skills required to deal with contemporary threats in the maritime environment.