Homeland Security Presidential Decision Directive Five (HSPD-5) directs federal agencies to work with state, county, and local governments and municipalities to establish a single, comprehensive approach for domestic incident management. It requires all levels of government throughout the Nation to develop the capabilities to work together in an efficient and effective manner. HSPD-5 directs the Federal Government to treat crisis and consequence management as a single integrated function rather than as two separate tasks.5 Similarly, the United States Coast Guards (USCG) Maritime Strategy for Homeland Security prescribes several guiding principles that dovetail with the philosophy of HSPD-5. The Maritime Strategy affirms that securing the homeland requires shared responsibility amongst all agencies. Further, the Maritime Strategy stresses the USCG must leverage assets, acquire new resources and partner with public and private stakeholders.6 As the lead federal agency for Maritime Homeland Security and the Federal On Scene Coordinator, it is incumbent upon the USCG to spearhead joint planning and incident command initiatives to meet the requirements of HSPD-5 and the USCG Strategy for Homeland Security, and to adequately protect and respond to environmental and terror threats in the new normalcy of the post 9–11 world.

To this end, the requirement for development of an Area Maritime Security Plan (AMSP) is appropriate and timely as it is intended to provide the overarching philosophy to unify the port and its stakeholders—much like the Area Contingency Plan did post Exxon Valdez for pollution response. Further, it provides guidance to effectively and efficiently detect, deter, respond to, and recover from a Transportation Security Incident (TSI) which by all definitions may at some point include some sort of environmental response. The foundation of the AMSP is the development of a network of federal, state and local agencies that have a stake in preventing and recovering from a TSI or other port contingency. This is a critical step towards building a unified port response network, and if appropriately merged with the Area Committee and Area Contingency Plan efforts, will only bolster the pollution response preparedness in a given port region.

The Response Network concept provides tactical-level guidance for integrating the functional relationships required by the “Hierarchy of Readiness,” and the response infrastructure (a port incident management team) necessary to meet the requirements described in current and emerging federal guidance. This concept could be used as a map to facilitate every port in attaining true Port Readiness.

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Author notes

5 Homeland Security Presidential Directive/HSPD-5: Management of Domestic Incidents, February 28, 2003, www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/02/20030228-9.htm