New Weapon For War On Terror

Tuesday, July 09, 2002
The second of four Maritime Safety and Security Teams (MSST) to be commissioned this summer has started specialized training in Camp Lejeune, N.C. Coast Guard MSST 91102 completed its first week of training in Yorktown, Va., last week before moving to a Coast Guard training detachment in Camp Lejeune. The domestic, mobile MSST, modeled after Coast Guard Port Security Units and Law Enforcement Detachments, will be established regionally in Hampton Roads to respond to terrorist threats or incidents in ports and waterways throughout the country. The MSST will deploy in support of national special events such as OpSail, Olympics or storm recovery operations and protect military load-outs, enforce security zones, defend critical waterside facilities in strategic ports, interdict illegal activities and provide a modest level of shore-side force protection. Each MSST will be deployable to other ports within 12 hours of notification, either by land (trailer) or by Coast Guard C-130. Consisting of 71 active duty and 33 reserve members, MSST 91102 will go through a rigorous training schedule including tactical boat maneuvers, personal fitness and defense, and lethal and non-lethal weapons training. The training concludes with a two-day exercise in Wilmington, N.C., an active, public port, where the team will exercise the various skills learned over the previous three weeks in a quick-moving series of threat scenarios. Each MSST has two deployable teams – each with a boat detachment and a landside security team. While the boat detachment patrols the waters, the pier team adds extra eyes and ears while checking for pier-side threats and keeping land access secure. The first MSST was commissioned July 3 in Seattle. Five other teams are scheduled to complete training by the end of fiscal year 2003. This year, along with the Hampton Roads team, teams stationed in Los Angeles/Long Beach, and Houston/Galveston will come online. Next fiscal year will see teams assigned to the ports of New York/New Jersey and Jacksonville, Fla. Six more teams are requested in the President’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2004. The Coast Guard Port Security Unit Training Detachment (PSU TRADET) at Camp Lejeune is training the MSSTs. When first established, PSU TRADET was responsible solely for training Coast Guard port security units for overseas deployments. Recently, the TRADET has branched out with other missions, such as non-lethal weapons testing for the Coast Guard, and training specialized boat crews (Over the Horizon Boat course) able to deploy from Coast Guard cutters on narcotics interdiction patrols. Most recently, they have added training the MSSTs to their agenda. Due to the change in assignments, the PSU TRADET will be changing its name in a formal ceremony Aug. 2 in order to better reflect its expanding role.
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