Yesterday, Compass showed you what it was like for a Maritime Safety and Security Team in the weeks leading up to a deployment. Today, Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Anderson takes you through the planning, coordination and relationships it takes to deploy with the best!
Written by Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Anderson, Coast Guard Deployable Operations Group.
The Coast Guard Maritime Safety and Security Team is the Coast Guard’s deployable specialized force. They provide a heightened level of waterside security during national special security events, military outloads and vessel escorts. The teams can also act as a surge force for local Coast Guard commanders.
During last week’s Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation they were a component of the layered multi-agency effort to ensure the safety of the public and all APEC attendees, including the president of the United States, foreign dignitaries and senior government officials.
“This APEC is truly historic,” said Capt. Joanna Nunan, Coast Guard Sector Honolulu commander. “It’s the first U.S. hosted national special security event located outside the continental United States, and the supporting federal, state and local agencies have called upon a host of resources to support the Secret Service and ensure the safety of the public and the APEC attendees. ”
The preparation for this international summit was set in motion long before these Coast Guardsmen landed in Hawaii.
“The initial planning meetings began more than a year ago,” said Chief Warrant Officer Kim Angel, MSST Honolulu’s logistics officer. “We began working with Sector Honolulu shortly after Capt. Nunan was assigned to head the maritime steering committee.“
Angel was an assistant planner for the Maritime Safety and Security Teams’ support of the 2010 Olympics. During that mission, she quickly learned that preparing for national security special events is a detailed evolution that looks at planning security zones, watch schedules, transportation of personnel and equipment and much more.
With experience in other high profile missions, Angel drew on partnerships forged prior to the APEC in developing plans.
“Relationships are key to planning and conducting these events,” Angel said. As we work together inside the Coast Guard and with federal, state and local agencies, we grow our relationships, become more effective and better able to safeguard the American public.”
The relationships formed every day on the water around Honolulu and during the president’s previous trips to Hawaii, is another way that helped the Coast Guard prepare for the APEC and future operations.
“With more than 20,000 attendees estimated to attend APEC, you have to look beyond the operation as a planner,” Angel said. “You have to prepare for everything and have contingencies in place.”
The Maritime Safety and Security Teams’ ability to be ready for surge operations also provides sector commanders flexibility during large operations.
“When we were planning the Coast Guard’s involvement in APEC, we had to ensure that the sector maintained its organic search and rescue and environmental response capabilities while supporting APEC,” Nunan said. “Utilizing the MSSTs is one way we accomplished that goal.”