This research effort focuses on compiling comprehensive threat and vulnerability assessments, which are needed to identify weaknesses, discern the intensity of potential dangers, and help focus protection and forward action. The goal is to identify where to focus assets to minimize threats and protect people, property, and literally, our way of life.
NPS hosted a Threat and Vulnerability Assessment Symposium from 15-17 June 2004 in Monterey, California. The symposium facilitated an exchange of ideas on where we are regarding vulnerability and threat assessment, both in forward areas and at home. The symposium focused on two basic sub-themes: to identify current near-term threats and to identify key vulnerabilities. Participants were asked to help identify what is missing, what is not being addressed, and where to effectively focus limited resources.
Team members have prepared a summary report of information learned during the Threat and Vulnerability Assessment Symposium. The report is classified SECRET NOFORN. Both the report and briefings presented during the event are available via SIPRNET. If you are interested in viewing the report or briefings, please provide your SIPRNET address to CAPT Steven Ashby, USN.
This symposium provided the start of an iterative process to help bind together thoughts, ideas, and concepts that exist throughout various intelligence and operational communities, military commands, other government organizations, and private enterprise.
The event was attended by an extremely diverse group of approximately 50 participants, representing a wide variety of U.S. military, government, and civilian organizations. Attendees included representatives from the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), Joint Chiefs of Staff, NORTHCOM, PACOM, Joint Forces Command, SOCOM, TRANSCOM, CNO, USCG Headquarters, 3rd Fleet, Naval Forces Europe, USCG PACAREA, NDIC, NIWA, Office of Naval Intelligence, DHS Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), OPNAV, NCIS Multiple Threat Alert Center (MTAC), NAVSPECWARCOM, USCG ICC, USMA West Point, the Naval War College, Virginia Ports Authority, the Naval Postgraduate School, and a variety of private corporations.
The first day of the symposium focused on identifying the existing threats and the dangers posed by those threats to U.S. interests and security at home and abroad. A representative from OSD began the day with a brief overview of current OSD concerns, efforts, and the OSD focus with regard to Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA). Briefs presented by NCIS MTAC, JCS Joint Interagency Task Force on Counter Terrorism, ONI, and USCG served to further define and specify the existing threats to U.S. interests and security.
The second day focused on matching existing threats to critical U.S. vulnerabilities. Briefs presented by TRANSCOM, the Virginia Port Authority, USCG ICC, USCG Headquarters, NORTHCOM , U.S. Naval Forces Europe, and PACOM further identified specific vulnerabilities. Methods of assessing threats with regard to specific vulnerabilities and innovative new ways to facilitate this process were also discussed.
The final day of the symposium focused on a “future and forward” look at MDA. Incorporating information learned over the previous two days on identified threats and vulnerabilities, available resources, and the new insights and tools provided by the various organizations working this problem, conference attendees spent the third day of the conference discussing “where we go from here.”
Presentations by representatives from OPNAV, JFIC, DHS ICE, NIWA, and USCG assisted in this process. The last portion of the conference was spent on a series of panel-driven and discussion-oriented vignettes, in which conference attendees were broken into two groups and given the task of responding to several scenarios in which U.S. interests in the maritime domain were threatened.
Throughout the conference, lively and engaging discussion between symposium attendees facilitated the identification of potential gaps in U.S. security at home and abroad. The symposium also provided an excellent venue for individual organizations to identify duplicated efforts and areas in need of further attention. The tremendous unity of effort between symposium attendees fostered new channels of communication and a more comprehensive understanding of the complex network of groups and agencies attempting to deal with the extremely difficult problem of maritime domain awareness and protection. The value of the TVAS Symposium is multi-faceted: the most immediate and valuable product of the Symposium is the new understanding of the myriad of MDA-related organizations and their capabilities, and the “network of networks” developed over the three day span of the symposium. In addition, unanimously positive feedback received from symposium delegates has provided NPS faculty and students with a tremendous wealth of new and urgent projects regarding MDA.
NPS Team Members
CAPT Steven Ashby, USN
Professor Mitch Brown
Professor Paul Shemella
LT Mark Steliga, NPS Student
LT Robert Hight, NPS Student
LT Jay Dewan, NPS Student
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