Ports and Facilities

9/11/2015: Solicitation for the Rear Admiral Richard E. Bennis Award for excellence in maritime security

The Coast Guard is opening up the solicitation period for nominations of the Rear Admiral Richard E. Bennis Awards for Excellence in Maritime Security. This bi-annual award serves to highlight and recognize outstanding achievements and contributions of the maritime community with regards to implementation of Maritime Transportation Security Act, or MTSA, requirements and other maritime security best practices in safeguarding our nation’s maritime transportation system.

The intent is to recognize and encourage organizations demonstrating a true comprehensive culture of security, encourage organizations to assess their overall security program to identify strengths and weaknesses, seek creative solutions for addressing known risks, build a system of continuous improvement and share best practices that would benefit similar organizations.

Award eligibility

Any marine transportation related organization owning, operating, or otherwise managing vessels, waterfront facilities, fleeting areas, or other entity engaged in maritime operations subject to Coast Guard maritime security regulations is eligible as an award applicant within one of the following categories:

  • Port Authority of the Year: Geographically located within the United States and engaged in maritime operations
  • Company of the Year: Offices geographically located within the United States, at least 25 percent of fleet called a U.S. port at least once during the award period, and/or at least 25 percent of its MTSA regulated facilities geographically located within the United States
  • Facility of the Year: Geographically located within the United States and regulated under MTSA

Award categories

  • Port Authority of the Year
  • Company of the Year – Large Business: 50 or more employees
  • Company of the Year – Small Business: 49 or fewer employees
  • Facility of the Year – Large Business: 50 or more employees
  • Facility of the Year – Small Business: 49 or fewer employees


Applications will be evaluated on the following categories, in no particular order:

  • Partnerships: How the organization leads, develops, promotes and/or engages in maritime leadership and partnership activities to enhance Maritime Domain Awareness and share information with local, state and federal agencies and other commercial entities. Additionally, the organization’s ability and efforts to promote supply chain security and contribute to an integrated security system with its customers, vendors and suppliers may be considered. Examples of this include, but are not limited to, participation with the Area Maritime Security Committees, agreements with local response and law enforcement organizations, sharing of best practices with other port operators and incorporating security into contracts with suppliers, service providers and other business partners.
  • People: How the organization instills a “culture of security” with employees throughout all levels of the organization. In other words, how the organization ensures employees understand the security policies, appreciate their role in the overall security of the facility and incorporate that into their everyday responsibilities. Examples of this include, but are not limited to, training programs for security and non-security related personnel, participation in professional security certification programs, drill and exercise programs and review of procedures and policies following any incidents.
  • Process: How the organization develops, manages, implements the plans, policies and procedures related to security. This also includes an organization’s ability to respond to changing conditions and continuously evaluate and measure the effectiveness of their security program and respond appropriately. Examples of this include, but are not limited to, quality management programs, 3rd party audits, use of industry standards or guidelines and adapting to and incorporating new government regulations and policies.
  • Physical Security: This category considers factors such as the organization’s innovation, initiative and integration of physical security measures to meet specific security objectives and address identified vulnerabilities.   Examples of this include, but are not limited to, effective use of fencing, cameras, alarms, TWIC and other physical security measures designed to safeguard personnel, prevent unauthorized access to equipment, installations, material and documents and to safeguard them against terrorism, espionage, sabotage, damage and theft.
  • Other Security Activities: This category takes into consideration the spectrum and scope of different security requirements appropriate for the various marine transportation related facilities regulated under MTSA that may not be captured within the other categories. These include but are not limited to such topics as: information and cyber security, promoting seafarers access, balancing security with employee/customer privacy, anti-piracy efforts, and port/facility resiliency and recovery capabilities.

Application procedures

  • Applications be submitted via email or mailed to: Commandant (CG-FAC) Office of Port and Facility Compliance, ATTN: Rear Admiral Bennis Award, US Coast Guard Stop 7501, 2703 Martin Luther King JR Ave SE, Washington, DC 20593-7501
  • Applications are limited to 30 pages to include all enclosures/attachments
  • Applications will be accepted from September 14, 2015 to January 15, 2016

If you have any questions, or comments please contact the program coordinator or call (202) 372-1108.

This blog is not a replacement or substitute for the formal posting of regulations and updates or existing processes for receiving formal feedback of the same. Links provided on this blog will direct the reader to official source documents, such as the Federal Register, Homeport and the Code of Federal Regulations. These documents remain the official source for regulatory information published by the Coast Guard.

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