A 3-D imaging system is providing the U.S. Coast Guard with real-time undersea data critical to its mission. Although the technology is still under evaluation, it has already assisted the service in its response to the Coast Guard helicopter crash off the Alabama shore in February.
The U.S. Coast Guard is taking steps to lead the nation's response to changes occurring within the Arctic Circle. Accelerated melting of the polar ice cap, expanded exploration for oil in the Arctic region and the competing territorial imperatives of nations that also are U.S. allies underscore the urgency of Coast Guard officials trying to make their case at a time of diminishing resources.
The shifting winds of geopolitical change are forcing government and industry alike to take a new tack in ensuring safe passage through the Earth’s oceans. From criminals plying their trade on the high seas, to nation-states seeking to deny access to other countries, the challenges are growing. To counter the problems, militaries and businesses are engaged in overcoming both new and resurgent dangers that threaten navigation over waterways.
In a few months, the U.S. Coast Guard will complete its evaluation of an underwater 3-D imaging system that will then be transferred from the service’s Research and Development Center to operators. But even as the technology is being assessed, the system is deploying to hot spots around the world, most recently in the search for bodies following the late February crash of a Coast Guard helicopter off the coast of Alabama.
AN INTERNATIONAL GROUP of maritime security experts is working to knit together the latest communications technology to identify small ships bearing nuclear weapons. The goal is to give first responders patrolling the world’s harbors and coastlines instantaneous access to experts to quickly size up possible threats in port or on the high seas.
The attire may be different and the swashbuckling kept to a minimum, but for today’s pirates the aim is the same as in centuries past: loot and lawlessness. Piracy is a lucrative alternative for starving people who live in regions with no civil authority to provide economic or political stability. As a result, the populace in countries surrounding the Gulf of Aden—particularly Somalia—are turning to barons of corruption who now have a multitude of impressionable young men willing to fight extraordinary odds even to their deaths. Unfortunately, the solution to this problem is as complex as the cause.
A small coastal patrol group is enforcing maritime security over an area four times the size of the continental United States. Armed with a few cutters and a handful of international agreements, the U.S. Coast Guard’s 14th District force is waging a war against the conditions that can breed piracy and terrorism.