The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the U.S. Coast sponsored a successful port security exercise today in the Port of Philadelphia to evaluate preparedness, prevention and the ability to respond to a terrorist-related incident.
The exercise featured participation from the tri-state (Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania) port community, including public and government agencies, and private industry. The goal of this exercise was to improve the connectivity of maritime and surface transportation modes and enhance current port stakeholder security plans. Scenarios ranged from how officials and industry react to an explosion on the Benjamin Franklin Bridge to additional suspicious, terrorist-related activity around the port.
"PortSTEP is designed to benefit maritime and surface transportation security communities throughout the U.S. via a suite of training exercises, evaluations and accompanying information technology products," said Noreen Brown, TSA's PortSTEP Project Officer.
"Today's exercises have proved to be invaluable as we work to balance freedom of commerce and protection of our nation's transportation system."
Over 30 agencies totaling to over 200 participants joined in today's exercise. In addition to TSA and the U.S. Coast Guard, other key players include the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Department of Homeland Security; emergency preparedness and law enforcement from the states of Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania; Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA); and the major regional railroads and refineries.
As a sponsor of the exercise, the Coast Guard fulfilled its role as Federal Maritime Security Coordinator by overseeing the implementation of the Area Maritime Security Plan which is part of a family of safety and security plans under
the National Maritime Transportation Security Plan.