U.S. COAST GUARD
The Coast Guard teamed up with officers from the Florida
Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, U.S. Customs
and Border Protection, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office and
the FBI for a three-day Marine Close Quarter Battle training
exercise in September 2007 in the Port of Tampa.
coordinate their efforts to identify and mitigate risk in
the maritime domain as far offshore as possible.”
Within this framework, Allen said, “the Coast Guard
is developing a concept for advanced interdiction operations that can extend our presence offshore to address
long-range threats and noncompliant vessels.”
SEAPOWER / MAY 2009
Gilio noted that shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, federal officials recognized the necessity
for the government to develop “a coordinating mechanism to address the very broad spectrum of threats,”
such as terrorist or criminal activities and unlawful
exploitation of the maritime domain, including the
proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
Brian Robinson, chief of the Coast Guard law
enforcement group, said an example of an every-day
event that might trigger an MOTR coordination effort
was a Coast Guard interdiction in the Florida Straits of
undocumented migrants from a very distant location,
such as Africa or Asia.
Unlike cases involving undocumented migrants from
Cuba or other Caribbean countries, who the Coast Guard
could repatriate by sea, the incident involving Asian or
African migrants might require coordination with
Customs and Border Protection, Immigration Services
and the State Department to bring them into the United
States to be returned to their country of origin, he said.
Another routine example, Robinson said, is that
after a drug interdiction the Coast Guard typically
coordinates with the Justice Department to determine
if there should be a U.S. prosecution and, if so, where
that should occur.
Gilio gave a hypothetical example of a more serious
incident, in which an investigation indicates that a foreign-flag vessel could be bringing a radiological hazard into a
U.S. port. Multiple federal agencies have the authority and
capabilities to respond to that threat, including the Coast
Guard, the Energy Department, Customs and Border
Protection and the FBI, he noted.
An MOTR coordination process might result in the
Coast Guard or Customs leading a boarding team involving other agencies to respond to the threat, he said.
The MOTR process has been used to deal with piracy cases and respond to radiation alerts by various types
of sensors, Gilio said.
It also could be used in the case of a foreign-flag vessel
that had to be diverted into a U.S. port because of a homicide onboard. Investigating that death would require
coordination with the Justice and State Departments to
approach the foreign government.
And if there were a need to board a foreign-flag vessel about to enter the United States to investigate suspected illegal activity or a threat, the MOTR process
would be used to coordinate with Justice, State and various components of Homeland Security, Robinson said.
The MOTR process can involve other federal entities,
including the Commerce Department, many elements of
Homeland Security, the regional desks and bureaus at
State and in the Defense Department, the secretary of
defense’s office, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and possibly one
of the combatant commanders, Gilio said.