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Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Small Boats Are Major Security Threat

From Port Security
Coast Guard Official Says Small Boats Are Major Security Threat
5/31/2005 - Port Security News

An official at the U.S. Coast Guard’s Maritime Domain Awareness Office told a group of technology consultants last week (May 24) that the biggest threats to maritime security today are terrorists using small boats to launch missile attacks on U.S. ships or ports. Navy Capt. Scott Beaton said that few things are harder to defend against than a recreational boat, which could be used to launch a waterborne cruise missile attack or blow up a ship at sea. He said: “That is probably our more significant threat to maritime security. There will be areas that will be seriously looked at on how to protect both fixed infrastructure and vessels from the small-boat threat.”

He added: “What are simple ways to attack a ship or maritime infrastructure? A simple way is the USS Cole. Very simple. Not elegant. But very effective.” He said that recreational boats are difficult to track because they are present almost everywhere along the U.S. coastline. There are 78 million such boats in the U.S.

Beaton said that his office has begun to track small boats, along with cruise ships, containers, and oil tankers, as part of a military concept known as maritime domain awareness, which is the gathering of intelligence, sifting through it and acting on it. He said that the President has requested $14 million for the program in this year’s budget.

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