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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

NYT observes Coast Guard Maritime Domain Awareness growing pains

Despite its "glass is half full" headline, Security Effort by Coast Guard Is Falling Short, the NY Times is actually simply observing the growing pains of a new system:
A Coast Guard plan to combat terrorism by creating the maritime equivalent of an air traffic control system in the coastal waters here, a test for a nationwide effort, has fallen far short of expectations.
Apparently maritime security is one of those off-the-rack type things that works immediately once the wheels are set in motion - sort of like a large metropolitan newspaper, I guess. You know- plug it in and it runs by itself.

The Times, of course, fails to provide the metric of what what there "before" the current effort. That is to say, they don't like to report that there wasn't really anything there before the new and struggling system.

Comparisons to the federal aviation "unified command over the nation's skies" ignore the fact that that "unified" effort took about 100 years to get installed and still is far from a solid shield of defence.

Turf wars have hampered some efforts, and the ways Congress doles out money for "favored" ports and pork projects hurts, too.

And at least the Coasties have the right idea:
Lt. Justin W. Noggle, chief of the Miami sector command center, said he recognized that many of the antiterror tools the Coast Guard had installed were falling far short of their goals. But it still is progress, Lieutenant Noggle said.

“We are just in the infancy of this effort here,” he said. “But if you don’t start somewhere, you don’t get anywhere.”

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