Coast Guard Hosts Homeland Security Exercise

Friday, April 07, 2006
The U.S. Coast Guard and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) hosted a port security exercise on April 5 at Coast Guard Sector New York on Staten Island to evaluate preparedness, prevention and the ability to respond to and recover from a terrorist-related incident.

The Port Security Training Exercises Program (PortSTEP) is a national program focused on building improvement links within Area Maritime Security (AMS) Committees throughout the country. These committees assist Coast Guard Captains of the Port in writing, reviewing and updating Area Maritime Security Plans in addition to supporting other maritime transportation system stakeholders that depend upon the port being secure. Scenarios range from how officials react to discovering a suspect cargo container to an explosion at a seaport rail yard. Communication and coordination abilities of the government and maritime industry will be tested at each of the 40 seaports scheduled to participate over the next three years. The exercise will involve the Port of New York/New Jersey Area Maritime Security Committee and a number of other representatives of the port community, including both public governmental agencies and private industry. The partnership is intended to improve connectivity of various surface transportation modes and enhance the existing Area Maritime Security Plan. "Protecting this port is a team effort," said Coast Guard Captain of the Port of New York and New Jersey Glenn Wiltshire, the federal maritime security coordinator for the port. "This exercise will test how well we are prepared to work together and will help us identify areas for improvement." Media is invited to observe this command post port security exercise from 1100 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Officials will be available to specifically discuss the Port Security Exercise Program (PortSTEP).

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