Cyber Awareness & Risk Management

7/27/2018: Area Maritime Security Committees 2017 Annual Report – Challenges, suggestions, accomplishments, and best practices

Written by Dr. Robyn A. Kapperman and Mr. Ryan F. Owens, Office of Port and Facility Compliance, Domestic Ports Division

The Office of Port and Facility Compliance (CG-FAC) is pleased to announce the publication of a consolidated report on the status and work completed in 2017 by Area Maritime Security Committees (AMSCs).

The implementation of the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002 (MTSA) mandated the establishment of regional AMSCs. AMSCs provide a valuable forum to discuss and address maritime security issues at the port level. The committees are comprised of subject matter experts from Federal, Territorial, Tribal, State, and Local agencies as well as public and private port stakeholders to ensure the safety, security, and resilience of our nation’s critical Marine Transportation System (MTS).

The annual report consolidates information provided by each of the 43 AMSCs established around the nation to the Office of Port and Facility Compliance and discusses common issues related to challenges, suggestions, accomplishments, and best practices. Additionally, the report assists CG-FAC to devise national strategies to address common problems, emerging threats, validate port specific data, track AMSC activities nationwide, and measure AMSCs alignment with national preparedness goals.

Some of the highlights in this year’s reports include:

Meetings and Training Events. AMSCs conducted 950 administrative AMSC meetings (e.g., General AMSC meetings) and 624 training events which included 245 joint agency training meetings, 201 maritime security training events, 82 training exercises, 81 Incident Command System and 15 MTS Recovery Unit training sessions nationwide. These coordination and collaboration opportunities have resulted in effective, real world security prevention, response, and recovery efforts.

Public Access Facilities Safety and Security. Various open sources continued to highlight the threat posed by individuals who use tactics and weapons such as improvised explosive devices, vehicle ramming, small arms, and edged weapons at large public gatherings. AMSCs are an exceptional touch point for building capabilities and partnerships within the port to help mitigate, deter, or prevent such incidents.

Cyber Security and Risk Management. Cyber-related risks are a growing portion of the vulnerabilities facing the MTS. AMSCs continued to engage in multiple cyber security related activities. Currently 29 AMSCs have established specific cyber security subcommittees to assist in addressing cyber risk, information sharing, and ways to enhance preparedness/resilience of cyber-related incidents. AMSC that have not established a specific cyber subcommittee address cyber issues in other well established subcommittees, such as an intelligence or law enforcement subcommittee.

The MTS remains at the forefront of national security and economic interests. AMSCs are an essential part of the maritime security regime and must continue to evolve and adapt accordingly to combat emerging threats while ensuring the unimpeded flow of commerce. Security challenges, whether physical or cyber related, remain a constant fixture and continue to pose potential adverse impacts to our critical waterways. Continued collaboration, information sharing, and coordination via AMSCs are vital to mitigating risks and crucial to the efficient facilitation of commerce.

For additional information on the AMSCs, contact Dr. Robyn Kapperman at

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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