ISS3 2012

Reservist Magazine is the award-winning official publication of the United States Coast Guard Reserve. Quarterly issues include news and feature articles about the men and women who comprise America's premier national maritime safety and security

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and her civilian counterpart, Ed Morris, a port security specialist at Sector St. Petersburg spent 1ͺ months examining maritime and ecret ervice requirements, while also trying to anticipate an array of threats and challenges. In the months leading up to the RNC, weekly briefs helped uncover any potential gaps, allowing for development of contingencies. Grau attributes the success of the event to varied skills sets, and strong collaboration among team members with diverse experience. "Given the requirements of such an event, I found it helpful early on to do lot of listening and information gathering to capitalize on individual strengths and skills," Grau stated. First, the geography was examined. Since the main venue was adjacent to a series of channels and a river and included several bridges, commerce and recreational boaters would be affected. Additionally, delegates staying at coastal hotels at farǦϐlung locations would be transported to the convention on buses crossing 15 bridges within the Intracoastal Waterway and Old Tampa Bay. Each posed its own security challenges. That meant outreach to and coordination with port industries, marinas, recreational boaters and local governments would be an essential piece of coordination. The Coast Guard Auxiliary fanned out across hundreds of marinas, interfacing with boaters and distributing ϐliers to ensure understanding of forthcoming waterways restrictions, tafϐing for the operation was carefully considered and balanced Deputy Sector Commander Sean P. Ryan as off-peak Incident Commander, attends a brief at the Pinellas County Emergency Operations center Aug. 27, 2012 with Gov. Rick Scott ( foreground) regarding status of Tampa Bay ports in the wake of Tropical Storm Isaac prior to the RNC opening ceremony. against budget constraints. "What we sought was a blend of skills, specialized training, and knowledge," said Grau. It eventually included a mix of reservists, active duty, civilian and Coast Guard Auxiliary members. Crews from specially trained units included the Deployable Operations Group, aritime afety and ecurity eams from ings ayǡ aǤǡ ew ork ity and ostonǡ specialized teams from ectors ey estǡ iamiǡ Charleston and Training Center Yorktown and air crews from Air Station Atlantic City. From boat crews to divers and canine units, a cadre of information technology specialists to decontamination units, to safety planners and logistical support, the focus was safety, security and continuity throughout the six-day evolution. Given the RNC schedule of events, 12- hour watches, running from 0200-1400 and 1400Ǧ0ʹ00ǡ were set with comprehensiveǡ twice daily brieϐingsǤ Inside the MOC, Lt. Christopher Anderson, a Sector St. Petersburg reservist ran the off-peak watch juggling phone calls, orchestrating the ϐlow of information gleaned from radio transmissions and live feeds, all while remaining in contact with colleagues from nearly 40 federal, state and local maritime agencies. "The MOC is the nexus between the Coast Guard and other agencies," Anderson said. Generally, that meant responsibility for waterborne operations, but also included development of strategies or ϐielding questions about bridges, shoreside intelligence, or a host of other issues. The MOC coordinated issues relating to cruise line departures, port deliveries and RNC security, especially as the path of Tropical Storm Isaac appeared to be Tampa Bay. As the storm veered away, other issues become central to ensuring smooth operations. The team quickly shifted into a rhythm integrating seamlessly. "I really enjoyed the camaraderie," said Anderson. "Our Coast Guard team got a sense of accomplishment from a job well-done by both active duty and reservists." As an example, Anderson pointed to crews that meshed seamlessly, including the intelligence support that came from having a representative embedded within the MOC as well as the 10 RESERVIST ᕇ *TTVF t crowds and atop Tampa General Hospital (which gave them a critical view of the channels surrounding the main venue.). Many attribute successful coordination to early engagement during the planning processǤ hief etty fϐicer laus obitschǡ a reservist who works in policy and planning at the Defense Information Agency, gave high marks to his active duty counterpart. "The RNC operation worked seamlessly because of our early understanding of well-honed working relationships critical to our success, and because of early engagement allowed input from all team membersǡdz obitsch saidǤ orking as the ntelligence fϐicer at the MOC with his active duty counterpart, Lt. Carl Wilson, the duo highlighted the skills, perspective and experience each brought to the table. That winning combination was repeated across many facets of the operations. Another such example was communications where hief etty fϐicer yan essǡ hief perations pecialistǡ ector tǤ Petersburg, was quick to credit his team. "Our agency does maritime operations," he said. "But we are responsible for communications and enforcement on the water, on shore and we expanded it to temporary operations centers including the MOC, MACC and TCC and a few EOCs, he said, ticking off a list of acronyms deϐining the vast scope of the Ǥ Vess also highlighted the challenges posed by having multiple agencies working together. The communications team provided an array of capabilities ranging from the Internet to secure chat capabilities, phone calls to radios, cameras and other tools helping provide a common operating picture in real time. Those capabilities proved invaluable. Many say the successful operation can be attributed to three things; coordination, communications and planning. That included housing and transportation for hundreds of people, ensuring crews were hydrated, and developing watch schedules. "It was a large-scale security event with a lot of moving parts that required a massive team effort. I've never been more proud of our Coast Guard team," Dickinson said. Story and photo by PAC Judy L. Silverstein Seventh District Public Affairs

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