- Dr. Derek Reveron, U.S. Naval War College
- ADM (Ret.) Greg Johnson, Former Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Allied Joint Forces Command–Naples
- Dana Goward, Director, Office of Assessment, Integration and Risk Management, U.S. Coast Guard
- Steve Carmel, Vice President, Maritime Services, Maersk
October 14, 2009
DEREK REVERON: Well, welcome back. This is our last panel of the day that is focused on information sharing. I think we all recognize that information sharing is a virtue today and essential to the challenge of improving maritime safety and security. But there are many challenges related to that on the policy, culture, technical and legal dimension of information sharing.
And so for our last panel, we have assembled I think a very distinguished group to address this issue. Starting on my right is retired Adm. Grog Johnson. He has served in a variety of Navy positions to include commanding Sixth Fleet/Naval Forces Europe. And he currently lives in Maine, where he founded Snow Ridge Associates, which provides strategic advice and counsel.
To my left is Mr. Dana Goward. He is from the director office of assessment integration and risk management for the U.S. Coast Guard. He was a career Coast Guard officer flying helicopters. And today the many things in his portfolio; counter-piracy is included.
And then Mr. Steve Carmel, who is a senior vice president for Maritime Services at Maersk Line, Limited. And he is responsible for all technical and operating activities. He previously held positions at operations and finance for U.S. Marine Management in Maersk Line, Limited. And he began his career sailing as a deck officer and master primarily on tankers. And so I welcome our panelists. And I will ask Adm. Johnson to start us off, please.
ADM. (RET.) GREGORY JOHNSON: Well, thank you very much for the introduction. It is a pleasure to be here. I think there could hardly be a more timely topic. And while I am not an expert on information sharing and MDA, I, like I guess most things, at least in the community of retired admirals, have opinions about everything. So I welcome the opportunity to share some thoughts with you actually that have come from a lifetime of being involved in this business.
And at the outset, I would just like to say I am very bullish on this whole idea of MDA. I think we are at a particular time in history, a convergence of several events that bode well for making some progress in this area at this particular time. And I think the 21st century will very much be a maritime-focused century, which will further, I think, push this concept of greater transparency, greater situational awareness on the global maritime commons than heretofore we have been able to achieve.
Now, I know – I regret that transportation plans for today – I just got here and wasn’t able to listen to the previous panel discussions. So I may repeat things that have already been said. And if that is the case, I ask you to indulge me. I also note that I think on the list of people who were a part of the panel, there are three people listed as retirees, Adm. Ulrich, myself and Gen. Kimmitt, although I think he actually has a full-time job now. And that is always dangerous. These people are real experts. We are retirees and, as you know, retirees, in particular, retired admirals are pretty good at making hot air. But there is some debate as to whether – what else they are good for.
The other problem we have here today is that Adm. Ulrich has always come behind me and cleaned up my messes. He came after me at Sixth Fleet. He came after me at Naval Forces Europe. Regrettably today he spoke before me, so he won’t be able to clean up any messes that I make here this afternoon.
So I would like to get on with the task at hand about information sharing and maritime domain awareness. This is not new. As you know, I spent 4 years in Italy, the last 4 years of active duty; 1 year at Sixth Fleet and 3 years at Naval Forces Europe and Allied Forces Southern Europe. And I quickly learned that there is more to naval history than, say, the Battle of Midway or various other battles in the Pacific theater in World War II. Our British colleagues are quick to remind us that there is really only one naval battle and that is the Battle of Trafalgar. And I have been to very many Trafalgar nights.
But I soon learned living in Italy that there were even other battles. And one, of course, was the Battle of Leponto. And going back as I traveled further east in the Mediterranean, I learned a little bit about the Battle of Solomon Bay. I only bring this up in the sense that the Battle of Solomon Bay, that was a huge coalition, the same with the Battle of Leponto. There was a coalition involved in Trafalgar, but they were on the other side, I guess. And we certainly worked as a coalition during World War II. And everything that we do I would subscribe to you – or I would hypothesize in the 21st century is going to be done in a multinational context.
So we are not going to do anything unilaterally. We are always going to have to do things in an environment that involves some kind of a coalition. And so I think that we will see that we are going to continue to make progress. And I think we have made remarkable progress over the last 10, 15, 20 years. And I think that that will continue to build. There are many reasons for that. And I will go through that as we go on in my remarks.
I would also note that the great mercantile or trading nations, empires throughout history have been of maritime character. From the Phoenicians, the Venetians, the Dutch, the British and to the extent that our nation enjoys success today, I think a part of that, of course, is the maritime character of our nation.
You know, what the statistics are and they have been probably passed on to you today. About 90 percent of commerce passes over the global maritime commons. That number increases at a rate about 4 or 5 percent every single year. And those ships that carry that cargo continue to be larger and there are more of them. There is just south of about 100,000 ships that are of 100 tons or greater plying the seas today. And there are millions of ships out there that are 100,000 tons or less.
I also think that – so that in itself speaks to how important it is to have some degree of transparency and information exchange if we are going to conduct that level of maritime discourse safely. I think all of us also agree with that 90 percent number on the terms of trade being conducted over the seas that the economic well-being of each one of our nations depends on unimpeded access and use of that global maritime commons.
I also think that the culture of the sea fosters a spirit of cooperation. It has always been the code of the mariner that we would come to the assistance of each other, that we would provide information as to navigation hazards and what have you, weather and so on. So I think that it is engrained in a maritime environment whether it is the military side or the law enforcement side or the commercial side that there is a requirement to share some level of information in order to use the seas.
I would also submit to you that the maritime domain, for the most part, is a neutral zone. It is not sovereign space. You have your territorial seas. You have your exclusive economic zone. But everything outside of that is not sovereign space. You can come and go in that area. I think that that is one of the reasons why maritime exercises tend to be historically successful. They have gone on for years and years. I think UNITAS is the longest running naval exercise in recorded history. It began when Arleigh Burke was the CNO. And so it has been going on for some 60 years.
You have RIMPAC series of exercises and many others; NATO exercises that have gone on for years and years. I think just about every region of the world you have some kind of exercise that has been going on. They can be done in the high seas. They don’t require boots on the ground. They can be done over the horizon. No one sees them. But they are going on. It is fostering a spirit of cooperation that is hard to match when you are dealing in international discourse that requires a presence, a visible presence.
So for all of those reasons, I think, the maritime environment has a tradition of information sharing. It has a duty of information sharing that began with safety issues and what have you. And it just is an environment where you can do things quietly without scrutiny of minute-by-minute look by the press, the sensitive issues of having forces on someone’s sovereign territory and what have you. So it is a uniting environment. And I think it will continue to be that way. And in fact, that uniting spirit is going to continue to grow because the stakes continue to get higher and higher from an economic standpoint.
I think that also in this environment, which we are becoming increasingly dependent upon, the threats have never been greater; the stakes have never been higher. There is the whole aspect of environmental security. There is two parts to that. One is that probably ties into climate change and weather – is it getting worse? Is it going to make a difference? And the threat that that poses plus the environmental possibilities, bigger and bigger ships, larger tankers carrying more oil, the fact that the EEZ, everybody’s EEZ is being used now to a greater and greater extent.
We have several – mostly right now in the area of hydrocarbon work, the North Sea, the Persian Gulf, the Gulf of Mexico, Gulf of Guinea, places in Asia, new findings, new work being done off the East Coast of South America and Brazil and what have you. So you combine all of that, the possibility of some kind of environmental disaster continues to grow. And that will, again, I believe, be a forcing function to greater transparency and greater sharing of information in the maritime domain.
I think Maersk now has containerships – what, 15,000 containers? So the economic value of all of that, the requirement, the imperative that it has a safe and secure domain to operate on has never been greater.
I was doing some testimony for the main legislature on Portland – the Harbor of Portland security. And I came across a RAND study that was kind of eye-watering. And it talked about – it was talking about port security. And it said that the average container – and Mr. Carmel, maybe you can add relevance to this. But in this study from RAND, it said that the average container from the source to where it is finally delivered – let’s just take, for instance, maybe we should – if we want to help Pakistan, we should reduce tariffs on textiles and there would be more textiles imported to the United States.
So a container worth of textiles coming out of some factory in Pakistan, by the time it goes by truck to a railhead by railhead to Karachi through several liners to the West Coast of the United States off into the port onto a truck or a railroad and ends up in some fabric or some clothing factory in the United States to be used, that container is moved on and off these intermodal transportation 17 times. So you have 17 opportunities for someone to tamper or do something with that container. And you multiply that by the millions of containers that are about in the world coming and going and that potential threat that is there. I think that that is a pretty compelling reason why the level of transparency in this particular domain is going to increase.
You have the piracy issue, which I suspect was talked about today. We certainly have some experts in that – much more expert and much more current than I am. Criminal activity, all manner of criminal activity: narcotrafficking, human trafficking, illegal migrations, smuggling light weapons, smuggling weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, moving around using the seas. We have the whole issue of theater ballistic missile defense, which has a very strong maritime flavor to it. And as I have already mentioned, the whole issue of climate change. Is the weather going to get worse? Is the arctic going to be opened up? And we are going to have maritime commerce through the arctic and all of that says that the level of risk if we have some kind of catastrophe is such that we can’t afford that.
So while it is the worst of times in terms of growing threat, I think it is also the best of times in the sense that the progress we have made in this particular area. Just last week – and I suspect Adm. Greenert will probably mention it in his remarks and I don’t know, Adm. Wisecup, if you mentioned it and probably other speakers did today – the International Seapower Symposium concluded in Newport. It was the 19th since it began in 1969, 40 years ago. We began with 37 nations represented at that one in 1969. When I was still Aviation Officer Candidate Johnson and now we had over 100 nations participating in this 19th one.
The whole focus of that Seapower Symposium last week, three days, with 90 heads of navy and over 100 nations represented was about maritime domain awareness. And I think considerable discussion and progress made during that event. And what has been spawned off from the International Seapower Symposium are several regional seapower symposiums. I got to participate in, as Adm. Ulrich did, in the one that the Italians do in the off year between the ISS and Venice. And we talked about greater seapowers, the Venetians, a great place to have a seapower symposium.
There are also regional ones in Asia, in South America. And so this dialogue, this very, very rich dialogue continues to flourish, continues to grow. And that wouldn’t happen if people didn’t feel a need for it. Many of these nations are not going to allow their heads of navy to attend unless they didn’t feel it was in their national interest to do so. So that activity is growing.
So this common interest is a growth industry. And we are not just talking. We are not just having conferences and symposia such as this one today and the one that I talked about last week, the International Seapower Symposium. There is plenty of action. I think that are wonderful examples of multinational coalition kinds of naval activity throughout the world. One of the best – and I always use it and used it when I was on active duty as JIATF-South, which I realize has a focus more on counter-drug issue. But it is I think as close to a real JIATF, Joint Interagency Task Force that we have anywhere in the world. And it is not only military, but its civilian dimension as well.
And I think that that is a powerful model for all of us. And a number of nations involved are the same nations that are involved in other hotspots in the world, but also with civilian agencies. And if we are going to be effective in this maritime domain awareness and have a product that is of the level and fidelity that we need, we are going to have that kind of – we are going to need that kind of an organization.
You have what is going on with Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand in the Strait of Malacca that used to be the piracy capital of the world. That is no longer the case because of this cooperation and transparency and willingness to work together. The unfortunate events of the tsunami also had a big impact on the demise of piracy in the Strait of Malacca. CTF-150 and 151, they have talked about in the last panel. I happened to hear the end of it. There is the CTFs 152 and 158 inside the Persian Gulf, Gulf of Guinea efforts with the Economic Community of Central African States going on. So there is a lot of wonderful examples of international cooperation and sharing of information throughout the world.
There are several sites that have sprung up now. I think our Italian colleagues – I am familiar with this one, the trans-regional maritime network that Italy has that people can use. It provides information. As I already mentioned, JIATF-South, military and civilian, the Inter-American Naval Telecommunications Network in the Western Hemisphere is another example of sharing information. I think that these kinds of networks will continue to flourish and maybe over time, they can become federated in some manner. And they will become a global flow of information.
I think if we can set some standards and what have you, we can have a federated network. I think it is going to be on demand. You put it up there. You post it someway and people will come to it and they will use it. And we kind of have sort of a Wikipedia of MDA, where people can enrich the picture that is there, the common operating picture and the information that we want to share. And I think this is going to continue to grow.
Finally, the final point I would make is that what is going to make this work is trust. That is the most important element. And all of these fora, including the fora that we have here today builds this trust. And if you have trust, it is going to work. People share information if they trust each other. It is that simple. You can have all the rules, regulations, laws and what have you, but none of it will work unless people ultimately trust each other. And that is why this symposia, Atlantic Council, thank you for holding it, and the Naval War College, I think that trust is building and therefore, the prospects for information sharing in maritime domain awareness will continue to grow. Thank you.
MR. REVERON: Thank you, Adm. Johnson. Mr. Goward?
DANA GOWARD: Well, thank you very much. I appreciate the opportunity to be here and talk with all of you. And I have to say that I was a little bit at sea in terms of how to structure my remarks. I don’t know about the other presenters, but I was provided with five words as far as guidance: pirates, ports, partnerships and then information sharing and MDA. Well, maybe that is six or so. But at any rate, very brief. I think this is probably a cagey ploy on the part of the Atlantic Council to see what the bureaucrat will say. If they give him enough rope, maybe he will hang himself. (Laughter.) But I hope not to disappoint.
But so in summary, we are for ports and partnership. We are against piracy. (Laughter.) Similarly, MDA and information sharing, we are all for that as well. But perhaps it would be best if I outlined for you the Coast Guard’s role in all of this regardless of whatever the topic is. Certainly, maritime and maritime security, these apply very much.
First of all, the commandant of the Coast Guard is the Federal Maritime Security Coordinator. In that role, there is not an inch of exclusive economic zone, territorial waters or inland waters for which there is not a Coast Guard captain of the port who is responsible and an area maritime security committee that the captain of the port partners with, all of the affected stakeholders within that particular area of responsibility to ensure the safety and security of that area.
Additionally, the commandant is the regulator and insurer of the safety and security of the U.S.-flagged fleet. One of the manifestations of that was the recent reissuance of the maritime security directive regarding transit of high-risk waters, specifically the Gulf of Aden and the Horn of Africa. In that directive, he took what had been some recommended best practices and made many of them required for folks on U.S.-flagged ships.
Additionally, the Coast Guard facilitates maritime commerce in the United States in terms of our waterways management and our navigation responsibilities. We are also military service, as you know, operate effectively with all the combatant commanders. And we have an agreement with the Department of Defense, which calls for specific support in nine different areas where we regularly, routinely provide inflow of forces and respond to RFFs.
For example, we have a half dozen or more patrol boats operating in the Persian Gulf with NAVCENT, ensuring the security of the Iraqi oil rigs and the offshore infrastructure. We have folks on the ground in Iraq ensuring the safety and security of military out loads and in loads, as well as the port facilities there. And we have law enforcement detachments deployed on navy ships at various points around the globe, but certainly in the Persian Gulf as well, which brings me to our next role, which is that of law enforcement agency.
We are also a member of the intelligence community, so in terms of information sharing and being able to span and communicate across and between various professional maritime communities. We are very much multilingual and try and exercise that in terms of our partnerships and working with all of the various maritime stakeholders regardless of what the issue there is.
From our perspective and I have to say that information sharing in maritime domain awareness has also been part of my portfolio for quite a while. We are in all seriousness very much in favor of information sharing in maritime domain awareness because we see it as critical to the nation’s maritime success for a number of reasons. One is that transparency tends to lead to self-correcting behavior. If your kids know that you are watching, they are going to behave themselves. Just the fact that you bother is somewhat the Hoffman effect, the fact that you are paying attention means that people will tend to perform better, behave themselves and do what they know is the right thing.
The fact that you have some visibility on what is going on also predisposes those who would behave themselves and comply to understand that the playing field is level and be more prone to point out the bad actors, so that the playing field remains level. Additionally, visibility and awareness allows you as a commander of military forces or of law enforcement forces, response forces of any kind to sort and apportion your very scarce response resources, whether or not you have a JIATF-South that you can call upon multiagency assets across the Gulf of Mexico or the Caribbean or whether you are just operating with a couple boats in a confined harbor area. You are still going to need to triage and apportion your scarce forces.
But probably in the larger sense, the most important reason that we need additional information sharing and awareness is that in every place where we turn in maritime, we are confronted by one form or another of an insurgency. And I use the word insurgency to be synonymous with a network. If it is a narcotics-smuggling network, an illegal alien smuggling network, a terrorism network, these are folks that do not operate in hierarchical structures, as we do in government organizations.
And in the history of mankind, hierarchies have always lost out to networks; have always lost out to insurgencies. Hierarchies are slower to react. They are more rigid. They wait for command and control, whereas networks are nimble. They can be cut in half, quarters, eighths, whatever. And the various bits and pieces are able to operate on their own. Networks are very hard to pin down. As long as one part of the network exists, the whole network continues to exist.
And so there are three ways that hierarchies can defeat networks. And basically, three hopes for us in our current battles against all of the networks and insurgencies that are working against us. The first way to defeat a network – for a hierarchy to defeat a network is to find some way to transform that network into a hierarchy of its own, have it form a government, some organizational structure that can be dealt with. That has been done in some instances in the past. The example of Sinn Féin representing the political peaceful arm of the IRA provided the British some structure, some formal structure to negotiate with. And they were able to get a handle on that and negotiate hierarchy to hierarchy. Not much of a chance of us doing that with narcotic-smuggling networks or other kinds of insurgencies that we are talking about today.
Second way and probably the best and most long-lasting way to defeat a network is for the hierarchy to change the environment in which the network exists. If you do away with oppression, if you do away with economic hopelessness, if you do away with lawlessness in a particular area, then the environment becomes toxic to the network and the network either has to go someplace else or fades away. And certainly in Somalia in many areas around the world, I think that our folks, our friends at the State Department and others are very much trying to shape the environment, so that they are not hospitable to these kinds of networks that are counter to our global interests, both as the United States, but as a global economy and civilization.
And finally, and certainly for us in the short term, the reason MDA and information sharing is important is a hierarchy is able to effectively counter or at least meet a network if it itself acts as a network. And that is really what maritime domain awareness and information sharing is all about. It is providing sufficient information, sufficient connectivity, sufficient relationship building all the way horizontally across national partners, across the globe and vertically. As an example, the United States from the fish and wildlife officer that has a sidearm to the national intelligence strategist, so that at the appropriate level of clearance and the appropriate level of connectivity, they all have access to the kind of information that they need to do their job to take their unconscious knowledge and contribute to the overall effort.
Knowing what the overall vision is to get the bad guys, to establish some kind of governance in what is essentially an ungoverned space and contribute to a coherent, well-maintained and orderly maritime environment. So I would argue that this is a fundamental utility. This is a fundamental concept that we really need to get about and go with just building upon what the admiral said.
Finally, I could talk all day about how we are partnering and sharing information and awareness both here in the United States with our partners and around the globe. We talked about many of them in the last hour in terms of counter-piracy efforts. Very briefly, I mentioned the area maritime security efforts we have in the port environment. We have a number of neighborhood watch-like efforts as well. The Coast Guard is sponsoring all kinds of outreach across the port level nationally. Just again, using piracy as an example, the Office of Naval Intelligence and the Coast Guard Intelligence Coordination Center publish regular updates for the industry about what we know at an unclassified level about pirate activity and the weather and the Horn of Africa, which is a huge factor.
The U.K. MTO broadcast and uses the Mercury system to share information and to help coordinate military forces. And there is a real good example of hierarchies acting as a network right there. A chat room that ships from different nations log on to and when somebody says, hey, someone is being attacked over here, the nearest ship logs on and says I am the nearest ship; I will get it, going off and doing it. Talk about the lack of hierarchy and folks acting like a network. Exactly the kind of place where we need to get ourselves.
Everybody knows the mission. Everybody has the connectivity. Everybody knows the background and has enough authority and capability to go on and act essentially on their own as a little tiny node on that network.
Obviously, the SHADE effort and MARLO and so forth. And, of course, additionally and internationally, we are working very closely with industry neatly segueing over to Steve in terms of taking what we see in the United States as what are requirements and strong recommendations to our industry and turning them into best – and working with industry as the international industry works to develop best management practices for counter-piracy and other security operations.
So, as I say, this is my life. I could go on all day. But I don’t want to do that. And probably the utmost benefit is to get the interaction with you all and take your questions. So I will kick it over to Steve.
MR. REVERON: Mr. Carmel?
STEVE CARMEL: Thank you. Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you very much for inviting me to talk here today. And I guess I would like to start out to say a special thank you to those after six hours in those chairs that are still there. (Laughter.)
MR. REVERON: The wine is next.
MR. CARMEL: Yeah, that is what is doing it. So anyway. At many of these events, which seek to explore information sharing between industry and government partners, the focus tends to be on what is wrong. So let me start out by saying right out of the gate that I do not believe that the communication links are broken. Well, like anything, they can be improved. In my view, there is, in fact, good information flows now.
We at Maersk had outstanding information flows with all involved levels of government during the Alabama event, for example. We knew exactly who to talk to and how to talk to them. And as far as I know, no one in the government had any problem getting a hold of us.
On an ongoing basis, we are engaged with numerous government agencies on information-sharing projects. We are right now, for example, serving as a trial platform for maritime domain awareness-type equipment and sensors for the Naval Research Lab, Office of Naval Research and Defense Threat Reduction Agency.
We are contributing to a project underway at STRATCOM regarding satellite systems and commercial marine operations. We have an active Shiprider program open to any government agency wherein government folks ride our ships to gain firsthand familiarity with commercial marine operations both at sea and in terminals. U.S. Coast Guard participate in this program quite often. We recently hosted a couple of folks from the National Maritime Intelligence Center. And NTSB has even participated.
We have also had discussions, several conversations with Coast Guard about having Coast Guard ride ships into specific high-risk ports in various parts of the world to get good firsthand assessment of security conditions, something I actually support wholeheartedly, namely, because in my view, Pakistan is a bigger security threat to us than pirates are.
So in short, we have a strong ongoing dialogue with our government partners at all levels. And in terms of information sharing, we are far from starting from scratch. I would like to say we don’t do this for profit. We receive none. And more often than not, we do it at no cost at all to the government. We do it because I firmly believe that the foundation of robust information sharing is trust, as Adm. Johnson mentioned. And that is developed by working together and actually doing things, not conferences and cocktail parties.
At these sorts of events, it also tends to be popular to criticize the government for not having a 911 or central point of contact, the government being too big and too complex for effective information flows. I would point out to the extent that that is true for the government, it is also true for industry in spades. There can be no more fractured collection of political rivals and the collective members of the shipping industry. We don’t even particularly share information amongst ourselves all that effectively.
I would also point out that U.S.-flagged shipping, U.S.-controlled shipping and shipping carrying the foreign commerce of the United States are all very different entities with only marginally overlapping memberships that intersect in ways that would not be intuitive to people that don’t understand our business. So from a government perspective, what constitutes the proper industry to engage with to begin with must be a little confusing.
But now for things that can be improved. First, we need to recognize that we and our government partners tend to have fundamentally different worldviews. These worldviews inform different assessments of threat and then different cost-benefit calculations arriving at very different outcomes. What appears to us to be rational and – I’m sorry. What appears to be rational and prudent to government folks looks to us to be impractical and disruptive.
We are well-aware that bad things such as the Alabama incident will happen. Much of what is proposed, however, appears to us to impose cost well beyond benefits. The cure cannot be worse than the disease. And the disease is different or at least has different severity depending on where you are in the industry meaning one-size-fits-all solutions, some of which you heard this morning, are naturally going to be resisted.
And let me say this delicately because I don’t mean to impinge on the character or cast aspersions or anything like that of anyone. But whenever I hear folks pounding on the table saying industry needs to do more and buy more and that sort of thing, most of the time the people that are pounding on the table are either in the business of selling those security solutions or they are being advised by people who do so. So I have to – you know, I accept that with a little bit of skepticism, as you can imagine.
So anyway. What appears to us to be good business decisions, on the other hand, in a competitive global business environment probably strikes our government partners as profit-driven misdirection of priorities and even a reckless trust in a benign operating environment at the expense of security leading to opinions, which you heard this morning expressed rather forcefully by Mark, that we just don’t do enough.
Bridging these worldviews requires trust. And as I said before, that requires more than talking. It is requires doing; working together in the real world as we each perceive it. Once we get past that, the details of what to share, who to share it with and how to share it – all at present are very much open questions – will be much easier to resolve. We should recognize that after several years of conferences each revisiting the same issues, the fact that these questions remain open is itself an indicator that we still have a long way to go.
It is amazing to me, for example, that after 8 years of conferences and discussion, we are still debating first principal issues such as how to track weight shipping, something we have been doing in real time for a long time. If you want to know where our ships are, just ask. We will tell you.
I would also like to return to something Adm. Ulrich pointed out this morning in terms of understanding what it is that is coming into this country. The amount of information that we have to transmit to the government at various levels before we even sail to the United States is voluminous. We are required to transmit enormous amounts of information about our cargo before it is even loaded on a ship. We are required to transmit enormous amounts of information when we sail from our last port. And we are required to transmit enormous amounts of information 24, 72 hours before we ever get to the coast.
Couple that with LRIT, which is satellite version of AIS. It is very difficult to me to understand how anyone in the government could not say the information of who we are, what we are carrying and who is onboard is not available. So I agree with Adm. Ulrich completely. But I would suggest that the system he is talking about is not necessarily one of generating more information. It is one of using the rather ridiculously large amounts of information you already have.
We also should – we at Maersk and our government partners have been very successful at information sharing at the tactical level, a very good and necessary first step. But there has not been an overarching strategy or vision of the how and the what for information sharing between industry and our government partners. And in some less enlightened camps in both industry and government, even the why is still being debated.
In many respects, I think this is a predictable result of another problem Adm. Ulrich mentioned this morning is that at the end of the day, no one really owns the situation, the problem, the whole issue of how industry and government should interact in the MDA space. Again, my opinion is that the time from working groups and roundtables has passed. We need to get out in the field more and find ways to interact in the operating environment in deeper, more meaningful and more strategic ways. That will be the path to eliminating mistrust and misunderstanding that inhibit better information sharing, in my view. Thank you.
MR. REVERON: Thank you, Mr. Carmel.
ADM. JOHNSON: If I could just jump in and build on that, Steve. And I apologize because I wasn’t here this morning and I don’t know what was said. But I also have heard the statements that industry should do more, must do more. Representing the commandant, I would like to say that industry has done absolutely everything we have asked them to do. And that is our job to make sure that they have done everything that we have asked them to do.
And I can assure you that we, for example, monitor the Horn of Africa. And we know all of the U.S. vessels that are over there. We know which ones have complied, which is all of them, and then when there is one that hasn’t. And so if there are those who think that industry needs to do more, I would invite them to come talk to the U.S. Coast Guard. And we will – that throughout the interagency have the discussion within government and then we will have a roundtable with industry – (laughter) – to get industry’s point of view, as we have done.
MR. CARMEL: Thank you. That is true.
ADM. JOHNSON: Repeatedly. And I have to say that the industry has been incredibly receptive and cooperative in all of the initiatives that we have brought to them. And more than cooperative – they have been helpful.
MR. CARMEL: Thank you.
ADM. JOHNSON: So I invite on behalf of Adm. Allen since he is not here – but this is on the record, you told me, that we are eager to act in that capacity and that from our point of view, industry has been – has close to 100-percent compliant with everything they have been asked to do that is humanly possible.
MR. REVERON: Okay. Thank you for that. Now we have about 30 minutes for questions. And so the same rules if you could wait for the microphone and introduce yourself.
MR. CARMEL: Well, let me – I will start anyway. First, in terms of the terrorism issue, probably one of the most successful public-private partnerships that exists in the maritime industry is C-TPAT, Customs Trade Partnership against Terrorism. Extraordinarily effective information flows between us and customs.
So we have been doing this for a long time. Now, I will say in terms of unintended consequences, of course, one of the great things about participation from a commercial perspective in C-TPAT is green lane, which helps us move our cargo quickly. And one of the drawbacks to 100 percent scanning, of course, as green lane goes away. And so you run the risk of destroying what incentive exists for us to participate in C-TPAT.
But so in terms of terrorism, I think there has been extraordinarily good sharing of information between us and the government to help on a risk-base assessment of where potential problems are. I do agree and I think Adm. Stavridis expressed it that when he was at SOUTHCOM is that the focus on terrorism has, in fact, allowed smuggling of narcotics and things like that to gain a foothold that it didn’t use to have. And I think for what I know about what goes on down at SOUTHCOM, you know, they have got, you know, a very effective operation down there. But it has, perhaps, taken the spotlight off of it.
We, of course, are not interested in seeing our supply chains get used for anything other than the intended purpose, which is to move goods around. So we are more than happy to participate in anything that achieves the purpose of securing the supply chain, again, without damaging the supply chain to even worse than the bad guys could.
MR. GOWARD: If I could respond to questions like that, Doris, with asking people if they remember the movie, “Animal House.” And the beginning of the movie opens up and you see the front of Faber College. Right. And on the base of the – very good – on the base of the statue in front of Faber College is their motto, knowledge is good. That is exactly right.
And to the extent that the efforts on terrorism have fostered information sharing generally and I believe that it has. I think that all of our endeavors, certainly in maritime, have benefited. Now, it is arguable and I have no data one way or the other as to, you know, the diversion of operational resources and actual intercepts and that sort of thing as to whether one particular missionary or another has suffered.
But I can tell you that as an example, the federal information sharing enterprise and program manager who was established initially to focus on sharing counterterrorism information. But her mandate has gradually grown to a much larger mandate to include law enforcement and other kinds of information that is important to the nation to counter bad things from happening. And even if that weren’t the case, I would suggest that the mechanisms and the partnerships and the processes that have been put in place have enabled things like International Trade Data System to get that much greater visibility and much greater participation that it would not have had prior to 9/11 and the focus on counterterrorism.
So I think that generally, it is a step in the right direction, perhaps not 100 percent as anyone would like. But generally, I think we are in a better place than we were before in terms of information sharing. And really, the big challenges to information sharing are not technologies. They are politics, people and processes, right? And so all of that is very personal, emotional stuff. And so you need kind of a cathartic event to overcome the inertia to move people out of their comfortable spot there. And we certainly had that with 9/11. And I think if anything positive came from that, it is a greater internal transparency between folks who really should have been sharing information all along.
ADM. JOHNSON: While I don’t have empirical data or at least I don’t have it off the tip of my tongue here to share with you, I think the effort after 9/11 in the counterterrorism area has been a huge positive impact on these other missions and the effort to share information in the maritime domain. When we began the effort after article five was invoked on the 12th of September, we began a maritime effort in the Mediterranean on the 24th of October, 2001. And, you know, for the United States, we were in it because of counterterrorism reasons. Most of our European colleagues – it was a NATO operation initially – were in it for other reasons. Had to do with immigration flows, what have you, human trafficking and what have you.
But for whatever reason, it increased the level of cooperation and some of these operations continue to this day, CTF-150 and then CTF-151, that anti-piracy mission, I think, have been hugely successful. Adm. Stavridis talked about what has happened in his former AOR in SOUTHCOM. And so I think it has generated a huge uptick in this whole area of maritime domain awareness and information sharing that would not have happened if it hadn’t been for the forcing function of counterterrorism.
It has turned out in the maritime domain area that counterterrorism hasn’t been a big growth industry. The Horn of Africa started as a – the CTF Horn of Africa started as a CT operation. It is no longer a CT operation. So I think it has been very, very beneficial. And it was what was required to start moving this thing forward.
MR. REVERON: Thank you. Other questions keeping in mind the wine is uncorked?
Q: I guess I just want to elaborate more on the information issue because especially Adm. Ulrich earlier this morning made it seem like there was virtually no information going on between which ships are in our ports and what they are carrying and whatnot. And this panel is saying there is actually quite a bit of information being exchanged both when ships enter our ports and also in sort of real time with the chat rooms and whatnot. So I guess I just want to know like what more do we need, you know, more of what the gaps are?
ADM. JOHNSON: And again, I apologize for not being here this morning and not being able to speak. And I certainly don’t mean to –
MR. REVERON: Would you like to clarify, Admiral?
ADM. ULRICH: Well, what I said was there is infinite amount of information being passed around. Is it getting to the right person? Who is the decision maker? Who is integrating the information? That is what needs to be done. Going back to what you are saying, the networks are there, but the people and the processes and the politics have not yet been resolved. Would you agree with that?
MR. GOWARD: Oh, absolutely. I am not sure that they will ever all be resolved. But I can tell you –
ADM. ULRICH: You know, I have gone down and watched the ships coming in and out of port and the port captain, the captain of the port making the decision whether that ship should come in or not. And I think we need to get him a hell of a lot more help.
MR. GOWARD: Obviously, we do our very best to give him as much help as we can at the moment. And so perhaps I can describe for you and everyone the approach that we are taking on a national level. And, of course, at the tactical level, we try and push this down as quickly and as much volume as we can.
But on a national level, in terms of the national pools of information, our national maritime domain awareness effort is focused in a number of areas. But perhaps the greatest area is in terms of information sharing of data that we have right now. And in support of that, there have been established four – we call them information hubs. One is on vessel information. That is actually the National Maritime Intelligence Center. And the role of the hub, by the way, is to not necessarily have all of the information about a particular topic area, but certainly to have a substantial amount of it and then to know where the other kinds of information or data about that topic area are resonant and how to access it and how to direct those who have need for that kind of data if, in fact, they receive an inquiry.
So the four categories of data and their hubs are vessel data, which is the National Maritime Intelligence Center. People data, who is aboard. And while the Coast Guard gets a lot of that information, so does Customs and Border Protection. And actually CBP operates that data hub or information hub. Cargo information and, again, CBP operates that. And they are in a particularly good situation there because they are also the agency that is responsible for the international trade data system, the execution agent for that, even though that is funded and by Treasury.
And then infrastructure, and that is purely a domestic concern, as you can imagine, as to what is the critical infrastructure in each one of our ports and how does that relate to the geospatial environment where we move vessels and what cargo is going by and that sort of thing.
Now, those are the four information hubs. The magic that actually has to happen to make all of these hubs and their data completely accessible and interchangeable is through what is called an information architecture. And in our federal structure, the secretary of the Navy, the CIO for the secretary of the Navy is responsible for developing that information architecture for the benefit of the entire federal enterprise. And when I say federal enterprise, we are doing this at the federal level because that is the first bite we can take. And it is not meant to exclude state, locals and certainly private enterprise once we get all this up and running.
And when I say up and running, it is not to say it is not working now. But it is not as facile as we would like to have it. It is not as automated as we would like to have it. And certainly because we don’t have the architecture in place, we have not identified all the people, process and politic issues that need to be addressed.
But this architecture issue is key not because it is a technology piece. There is probably a 25 percent portion of that. But because it does address the authorization and access, it does address the legal aspects – who is allowed to get what – and then what kinds of services that need to be provided to the folks that are going to be accessing the data and exchanging it.
Right now we have the information hubs in place. And because we are operating in the absence of an information architecture, it is still, as you can imagine, somewhat point to point, individual queries rather than folks logging on and the system recognizing who they are and what they are authorized – and just allowing them access to the data. But that is the end state that we are working towards.
And so from that perspective, you are absolutely right, sir. The data is out there. There is all kinds of data out there. But our ability to move it around as we would like, the ability to interpret, have everybody display it the way they want to display it –
ADM. ULRICH: And there is also the issue of anomaly detection and having that data, human beings can’t go through and look at the containers and what is in them and what is on the ships and who is the crew guy. There has to be some sort of automation that does that and looking for the anomalies. And that hasn’t been –
MR. GOWARD: Not everyone is able at this point to apply their rule set and to look at all the data the way they would like based on their experience, their authorities and their jurisdiction. Obviously, Customs and Border Protection looks at all of the trade data and all the cargo data and they look for anomalies. We do checks on – we and Customs and Border Protection do checks on all of the people that are inbound. And, in fact, now we are doing checks on all of the people outbound because we have found that people can get out of the country easier on a ship because they don’t have to go to an airport and get screened as they go out. That happened once, so now we are checking the outbounds as well.
But you are right. It is not an enterprise thing. It is an agency-by-agency somewhat point-to-point kind of a process that we would like to make much more into a – we need to make much more into a network.
MR. REVERON: Does that help?
Q: Hello, Grace Cruz from the East West Center. I have a question for Mr. Carmel. I was wondering how much of an impact has the requirement of that submission of enormous amounts of information had on the day-to-day shipping industry. And I was wondering has that been a challenge to efficiency or has the benefits from building trust that you touched on outweighed the costs?
MR. CARMEL: I would say that from our perspective, you know, we find ways to deal with it. It is something we have to do, so, you know, we just do it. Much of it now is somewhat automated, so that helps. So I would say as a general rule, the shipping guys, us, the ship operators haven’t been that badly impacted by it.
I would say the shippers, on the other hand, who under the 10-plus-two regime are the ones that have to develop most of the information. That may be a slightly different issue for them. As you probably know, the shippers are not wild about 10-plus-two at all. But that is shippers and that is not me.
So I would say from our perspective, the administrative load on captains keeps growing and growing and growing. And at the same time, we have on the other side of the equation STDC rules about how long guys can work without rest. And so we are always trying to juggle those sorts of things. But at the end of the day, we get it done and we recognize that it is important and therefore, we do it. Where the heartburn, I guess, sometimes comes up is if, you know, new information regimes are put in place and we are not completely certain the old one anyone is even looking at it. That is when we start to get a little buggy.
Q: Question. We have been speaking, I guess, all in American flag carriers, which you would be most concerned with. But what is the shortfall of other national carriers that is missing? And does that shortfall give them a competitive advantage in terms of cost of doing business?
MR. CARMEL: My comments actually have not been restricted to U.S. flag. Everybody that is coming into this country has to follow those rules. So, you know, from that perspective, U.S. flag is under no disadvantage. U.S. flag, of course, suffers under many disadvantages. But in this case, border security issues are not one of them.
MR. GOWARD: The ability of autonomy as a port state that we are able to exercise on the requirements for folks coming inbounds is fairly substantial from anti-pollution requirements to security issues completely across the board.
Q: I just had a question to Steve Carmel there. Just on information sharing, two-way street. You mentioned all the information coming in, different federal agencies, the C-TPAT and all. And I know in the U.S. ports, there is a lot of area maritime security committees and all. Foreign ports – you mentioned Pakistan. And do you feel – where do you get your information from? Where do you think there may be a gap or how that may be improved to get threat information coming the other way so you know kind of what to – just as a ship operator, I just wonder where you go for that source of information.
MR. CARMEL: That is a very good question. And you well know, as soon as you attach the word intelligence to any piece of information, no one wants to tell us. And that remains a little bit of a problem. You know, we subscribe to, you know, commercial intelligence services such as Risk Control or Control Risks rather and folks like that, Securewest, that sort of thing. To the extent those guys help us, it is good.
We, obviously, pay attention to what is going on in the world. It doesn’t take a genius reading open-source information to understand that the Taliban is very active in Karachi, Qasim area. They understand why U.S.-flagged ships are there mainly bringing military supplies to Afghanistan. And it is a long ride up a very narrow river to Qasim.
So, you know, those are the sorts of things that I can see first, by operating there and second, by reading open-source information. So in my perspective, it doesn’t take much to add two plus two and say, you know what, I probably have a bigger security threat there than I have anywhere. That is about as far as you are going to get because any threat assessment in Pakistan that deals with Taliban is going to have classifications on it that just are not going to prevent us from going there. And I am not completely certain that even if credible intelligence developed that a serious threat were developing there, if government would even be permitted to tell us.
So you are right. There is a gap there in things that are classified and things that are not and how to bridge that gap. You know, that remains an open question.
MR. REVERON: Well, with that said, I want to thank our panelists very much for the discussion that they started. In the spirit of information sharing and collaboration, we have wine and some snacks available. And then at 5:30, the vice CNO will be here, Adm. Greenert, to give an address. So thank you very much. (Applause.)
Transcript by Federal News Service, Washington, D.C.