The Transportation Security Administration and the U.S. Coast Guard will facilitate a port security exercise today in Wilmington, N.C. 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 focused on building links within the Area Maritime Security (AMS) Committee. The committee assists the captain of the port in writing, reviewing and updating an AMS plan in addition to supporting other transportation entities that depend upon the port being secure.
The exercise will involve the entire port community, including both public governmental agencies and private industry. The partnership is intended to improve connectivity of various surface transportation modes and enhance current area maritime security plans. 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 are being tested at each of the 40 seaports scheduled to participate over a three year period.
PortSTEP is designed to benefit maritime and surface transportation security communities throughout the United States via a suite of training exercises, evaluations and accompanying information technology products. This information will prove invaluable as we work to balance freedom of commerce and protection of our nation's transportation system.
"Protecting this port is a team effort," said Coast Guard Captain William Lee, the Federal Maritime Security Coordinator for the State of North Carolina
. "This exercise will test how well we are prepared to work together, and will help us identify areas for improvement."
In addition to TSA and the U.S. Coast Guard, Department of Transportation modal agencies are among participants in the PortSTEP exercise.