Saturday, August 25, 2012

Coast Guard Announces NMSAC Meeting Agenda

The Coast Guard is publishing in Monday’s Federal Register (available online today) a notice (77 FR 51817-51818) announcing the upcoming two-day meeting of the National Maritime Security Advisory Committee on September 11th and 12th in Washington, D.C.. This meeting will cover chemical security and cybersecurity topics along with the typical maritime topics.

Topics of specific interest to the chemical and cybersecurity communities include:


The information provided on the cybersecurity topic of the agenda is more than a little vague. It states that:

“The Committee will discuss the parameters of a new tasking from the Coast Guard to provide guidance/recommendations on cyber-security initiatives within the maritime sector.” (77 FR 51817)

This wording would seem to indicate that there is a potential to include control system security issues in the discussion as there are a wide variety of water-side and shore-side control systems used in the ‘maritime sector’. It would be particularly interesting to see if the discussion included the cyber-security of various security systems.

Information Sharing

The Coast Guard probably has a better history of information sharing about security matters than any other organization in DHS. This makes it particularly interesting to see how the NMSAC uses the community feedback that it has obtained to suggest further improvements in that information sharing process.

Integration of Security Plans and Systems

Section 822 of the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2010 required that the owner/operator of an MTSA covered facility (Congress did not include ‘vessels’ in this requirement) to “integrate, to the maximum extent practical, any security system for the facility with compatible systems operated or maintained by the appropriate State, law enforcement agencies, and the Coast Guard” {46 USC §70102(c)(2)}.The Coast Guard is asking the NMSAC to help develop guidance for implementing this rather vague requirement.

One would like to think that ‘integrating facility security systems’ would include such things as linking alarm notifications (both intrusion and chemical release) to local law enforcement and emergency response dispatch centers, ensuring that first responders are familiar with local facility procedures, and that emergency response plans are fully coordinated and exercised with local authorities.

Public Participation

As we have come to expect with the NMSAC, there are multiple modes available for public participation in this two-day meeting. First written comments on the topics may be submitted via the Federal eRulemaking Portal (; Docket # USCG-2012-0797). People may attend the meeting in person (limited seating available, contact Mr. Ryan Owens,, via teleconference {(866) 810-4853; the pass code to join is 9760138#.}, or webcast ( There will be a public comment period at the end of each day’s session.

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