maritime security

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In this vlog, American Military University’s Criminal Justice Faculty member Dr. Jarrod Sadulski describes the importance of protecting America’s ports by increasing maritime security. Dr. Sadulski explains how any attack on a major U.S. port would result in severe – and even catastrophic – consequences to our trade and security. Learn about the measures introduced by the United States Coast Guard to address the risks.

Dr. Sadulski: In the United States, there are 361 ports and many more harbors, piers, and ferry vessel landings that may be potential terrorism targets. To ensure the security of our Nation, it is critical that an emphasis be placed on maritime and port security, which represents one of our largest vulnerabilities.

An attack on a major port in the United States could have severe consequences to trade and our security. To put into perspective the importance of our maritime ports, our nation’s seaports handle over $1.3 trillion tons in cargo each year and generates more than 13 million U.S. jobs. Each day our maritime infrastructure ships around 9 million barrels of imported crude oil and other petroleum products and 25 percent of all hazardous materials.

Foreign vessels make 51,000 calls on U.S. ports each year. However, the U.S. Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection agents can thoroughly inspect only about 5 percent of the 9 million shipping containers that arrive at U.S. ports every year.

To address the inherent risks to our ports, the Coast Guard has established security zones around port infrastructures and developed a program called Ports, Waterways, and Coastal Security. This program includes awareness activities; counterterrorism, preparedness and response operations; and includes the national defense role of protecting military outload operations.

We have increased port security through intelligence gathering and the use of Maritime Intelligence Fusion Centers, the Nationwide Automatic Identification System and other vessel tracking systems. Public awareness and reporting suspicious incidents through America’s Waterway Watch have contributed to the effort, too.

The Coast Guard has also developed the Maritime Security Response Team a first responder to potential terrorist situations — and the Maritime Safety and Security Team Program, which can be mobilized to locations that are at a higher risk of terrorism. The team protects military loading facilities, conducts port state control boardings, and maritime security zones.

About Dr. Jarrod Sadulski

Dr. Jarrod Sadulski has been with the Coast Guard since 1997. His expertise includes infrastructure security, maritime security, homeland security, contraband interdiction and intelligence gathering. He has also received commendations from the Coast Guard. Currently, Jarrod is a supervisor in the Reserve Program and provides leadership to Reserve members who conduct homeland security, search and rescue, and law enforcement missions.