"U.S. forges maritime technology collaborations to improve domain awareness" from Indo-Pacific Defense Forum
To safeguard maritime borders, the United States military is promoting cooperative technology efforts to provide near-real time global maritime situational awareness to combat everything from illegal fishing and human trafficking to sovereignty threats.
Recent successes include the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory’s (NRL’s) new program, called Proteus, to identify, query and filter maritime vessels based on user-defined criteria and the Defense Innovation Unit’s (DIU’s) international competition, known as xView3, to create machine learning models to locate and distinguish maritime vessels with synthetic aperture radar.
The U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard, in particular, are also pushing for broader collaborations among allies and partners to apply advanced military technologies, including surveillance satellites, high-resolution radar and data-sharing software, to maritime security challenges, experts said.
Advanced maritime capabilities are in high demand as security threats such as illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing continue to worsen worldwide and contribute to broader stability issues.
The People’s Republic of China is “obviously high on the list … when talking about state-sponsored IUU and the way that they use it as both a tool for … economic purposes, but also increasingly for the purposes of influencing bilateral relationships,” Whitley Saumweber, director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Stephenson Ocean Security Project, said in December 2021, according to National Defense magazine.
More about Proteus here:
“PROTEUS is an exciting new U.S. government Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) system providing a powerful array of MDA information and analysis tools,” said Cameron Naron, Director of Maritime Security, US Maritime Administration. “This system enables MDA stakeholders to collaboratively discover and investigate suspicious and illegal maritime activity throughout the world in ways never before possible.”
Additional actions supported by PROTEUS include:
- Counter Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing (IUUF)
- Maritime Protected Areas (MPAs)
- Search and Rescue (SAR)
- Critical Infrastructure Protection
- Environmental Protection & Response
- Maritime Law Enforcement
- Counter smuggling (drugs, weapons, money, people)