The security drill was the first since the rollout of the Port’s new Maritime Advanced Systems and Technology Lab (MAST) program and involved an Offshore Platform Security Threat Awareness and Response Program exercise (OPSTAR) conducted by the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Asymmetric Warfare and the U.S. Coast Guard.
The half day OPSTAR exercise called for a simulated attack and occupation of an Off Shore Oil Platform within the Santa Barbara Channel and included a no-notice level III activation of the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management as a ‘stress test’ of its infrastructure and technology capacity. The exercise was designed to test regional security and communications protocols and the ability to thwart terrorist attacks on local assets and interests. The exercise took place in Ventura County utilizing security assets at the Port of Hueneme.
The research and experimental use of sophisticated radar, video, satellite and telecommunications technologies assisted in the multijurisdictional planning and coordinated communications efforts of the various participating agencies as well as provided maritime domain awareness supporting tactical events taking place on the Offshore Platform, from various points of view including the deployment of maritime special operations forces.
The exercise was deemed a success with the Coast Guard’s LA/LB sector Captain of the Port Captain Jim Jenkins saying, ”This exercise provided a great opportunity for the Coast Guard to work with our security partners at the Port of Hueneme. Our Maritime Safety and Security Teams exercised their capabilities in the scenario while acquiring control of an Offshore Oil Platform, accessing it from the air and the sea. The Center for Asymmetric Warfare brought an impressive array of technology to support the security and command and control teams during the event.”