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Chairman Duncan Hunter (R-CA)
Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation
Hearing on “How to Improve the Efficiency, Safety and Security of Maritime Transportation: Better Use and Integration of Maritime Domain Awareness Data”
July 31, 2013
(Remarks as Prepared)
The Subcommittee is meeting this morning to review the status of Coast Guard maritime domain awareness programs. The Coast Guard operates a broad array of systems and sensors to gather data to enhance the Service’s awareness of activities in the maritime domain. At a time when budgets are being cut and the Coast Guard is being stretched thin, maritime domain awareness (MDA) provides critical information to more efficiently deploy personnel and assets. Although the Service has made progress over the last decade in acquiring new technology to collect, integrate, and disseminate MDA data, implementation has been slow, several gaps still exist, and budget realities mean the Coast Guard will struggle to achieve its goals for the MDA program.
The Coast Guard currently tracks large commercial vessels and other potential threats in the maritime domain, but the Service still lacks a single system capable of fully fusing, filtering, and displaying all MDA information in one common operating picture.
The concept of the common operating picture was also at the center of the Coast Guard’s effort to recapitalize its aging and failing legacy assets. The goal was to acquire new C4ISR technology that would enable recapitalized vessels and aircraft to collect and fuse MDA information into a common operational picture and then share it with one another and among shoreside installations. The Coast Guard has made progress toward that goal, but has yet to fully achieve it. The GAO recently reported that many recapitalized assets cannot fully share data because they operate different C4ISR systems at different classification levels.
Complicating the Coast Guard’s efforts to improve MDA is the current budget environment. Budget constraints have forced the Coast Guard to drop plans to install upgraded C4ISR systems on its aircraft and vessels in the future. Given this development, I am interested in hearing how the Service plans to ensure new assets acquired over the next 20 years will achieve their full capabilities and not suffer from obsolete technology.
I encourage the Coast Guard to review its MDA and C4ISR programs to improve ways to deliver these capabilities more efficiently. Our second panel of witnesses comprises a cross section of MDA stakeholders in private industry and academia. I look forward to their testimony on new technologies that could improve the Coast Guard’s MDA efforts in a cost effective manner.
Maritime domain awareness is a critical tool to maximize the Coast Guard’s capabilities to safeguard American interests in U.S. waters and on the high seas. If effectively implemented, MDA can improve the efficiency, safety, and security of maritime transportation. I am anxious to hear from the witnesses on what they think the future holds for the MDA programs and how we can best move forward to ensure the Coast Guard achieves the goals it has for MDA.
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Rear Admiral Mark E. Butt, Assistant Commandant for Capability, United States Coast Guard | Written Testimony
Mr. Stephen Caldwell, Director, Homeland Security and Justice, United States Government Accountability Office | Written Testimony
Mr. Steve Morrow, President & CEO, Insitu; on behalf of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International | Written Testimony
Mr. Bill Vass, President & CEO, Liquid Robotics, Inc. | Written Testimony
Ms. Lisa Hazard, Operations Manager, Coastal Observing Research and Development Center, Scripps Institute of Oceanography | Written Testimony
Dr. Newell Garfield, III, Director, Romberg Tiburon Center, San Francisco State University | Written Testimony