Marine Exchange of the San Francisco Bay Region

Nor. Cal. Area Maritime Security Committee


Contact email:

Meeting Agenda : Updated 2023-10
AMSC Charter
2023 Meeting Calendar
AMSC White Paper
AMSC Cyber Security Subcommittee

2020 Port Security Grant Program



The mission of this Area Maritime Security Committee is to help coordinate planning, information sharing, and other necessary activities to aide the security of the Marine Transportation System. The geographic boundaries of this Committee include the entire Captain of the Port San Francisco area of responsibility. In support of those missions the Port Security Committee will:

  • Develop a Port Security Plan aimed at maintaining acceptable risk levels during normal operations and during times of heightened threats. This plan will outline scalable security procedures to be taken by MTS stakeholders to ensure the continued safety and security of our nation’s port and MTS.
  • Coordinate training and conduct port security exercise.
  • Advocate maritime Domain Awareness infrastructure improvements for the port.
  • Develop and adopt preventative security measures for appropriate Maritime Security Levels to address increased threat conditions;
  • Develop procedures for information sharing for threat warnings, response, intelligence-gathering and threat assessment among maritime stakeholders; and
  • Produce stakeholder recommendations for continuing improvements for port security measures.


The Area Maritime Security Committee will be organized into a tiered organization consisting of an executive committee, general committee, and standing sub-committees. The executive committee should be made up of representatives of agencies that the Captain of the Port determines have the authority necessary to enact, enforce, or support the scalable activities and provisions decided to be appropriate at each maritime security level.

The general committee of the Area Maritime Security Committee is open to participation by all interested port stakeholders.

Standing or ad-hoc subcommittees may be made up of members from the General Committee or any port community stakeholders that the subcommittee chair determines can contribute to the work of that committee. The committees will work on issues raised by the general committee and decide to be appropriate and relevant.

A diagram of the committee structure will be attached to this charter.


The U. S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port, Captain Gerald Swanson, who is also designated as the Port Facility Security Officer, chairs The Northern California Port Safety and Security.

The General Committee membership will consist of the port authority, port tenants, port labor organizations, carriers and shippers whose vessels, vehicles, cargoes, and passengers use the port, vessel and port tenant servicing organizations and agents, federal, state, and local law enforcement and regulatory compliance agencies which have jurisdiction within the maritime environment.

A membership list will be attached to this charter.


In the first 12 months, the Committee will meet monthly to discuss and develop the Port Security Plan and thereafter the Committee will meet approximately 4 times each year. The Captain of the Port San Francisco, Planning Department, will host meetings unless otherwise determined. Agendas will be developed and distributed prior to each meeting. At least fifteen minutes at the end of each meeting will be reserved for items not otherwise identified on the agenda.

Meetings shall be attended by the principal delegate from each organization or a designated alternate. Designated alternates are vitally important to continuity of General and sub-committee work. Use of alternates ensures that the business of the committee may press on even though the principle representative cannot attend a particular meeting.


Issues for action will be tracked and a list maintained by the Committee Chair. Success of the Committee ultimately depends on members? willingness and cooperation to assist in the workload. Such action items may include research of existing security measures, development of additional security measures, development and conduct of security exercises, and other security related matters.


Specific funding has not been identified for these efforts. Committee members will individually fund their participation including travel and other expenses.


A record of meetings with minutes shall be made and distributed to all members promptly after each meeting. Sub-committees will report their progress during the General Committee meeting.


Assigned law enforcement or regulatory compliance authority remains vested in the individual agencies that participate in Committee proceeding.


The Committee shall ensure for the periodic review and amendment of this Charter as deemed necessary by a majority or mandated by law.

1. Law Enforcement Subcommittee: TO BE DEVELOPED

Objective: Coordinate sharing of information among Law Enforcement members and others with a need to know.

2. Landbased Infrastructure Security Subcommittee: TO BE DEVELOPED

Objective: Review and develop policies to improve all landbased critical infrastructure security

3. Waterborned Infrastructure Security Subcommittee: TO BE DEVELOPED

Objective: Review and develop policies to improve all waterborned critical infrastructure security.

4. Information Management Subcommittee: TO BE DEVELOPED

Objective: Assess information needs and work with the Regional Maritime Security Coalition to implement provisions of its TSA Security Grant.

Executive Summary

1. The Coast Guard is widely recognized as having the lead role in America?s Maritime Homeland Security.
2. The Coast Guard?s homeland security goal is to ensure the security and safety of America?s ports, waterways & maritime borders.
3. The long-term challenge under the New Normalcy is to increase maritime domain awareness, step up ports, waterways & coastal security operations & reduce our nation?s vulnerability without losing focus on other core, but no less important counternarcotics, migrant interdiction, fisheries enforcement, marine safety & national defense missions.


America’s Marine Transportation System (MTS) is an attractive target to terrorists because it is both valuable & vulnerable. The stats: 95% of non-North American foreign trade arrives by ship; 8,000 ships make 51,000 U.S. port calls; 6 million containers enter the country thru 361 major ports; 95,000 miles of coastline; and 6.5 million cruise ship passengers. The CG’s initial response to Operation Noble Eagle, the Service’s largest homeland port security operation since WWII (patrolled ports & coastlines with 55 cutters, 42 aircraft & hundreds of small boats; recalled 2,700 Reservists; deployed 4 Port Security Units) demonstrated tremendous surge capacity and flexibility by rapidly shifting mission focus.

Key Points

Maritime Homeland Security (MHLS) strategy incorporates our core competencies into a multi-agency, layered operation to push our maritime borders outward and detect, deter, disrupt & intercept terrorist threats across the maritime domain. It incorporates key dimensions of awareness, prevention, response & consequence management. 

The Coast Guard’s long-term, maritime homeland security strategy focuses on five principles…

1. Build Maritime Domain Awareness (Intelligence). MDA requires the effective knowledge of activities and elements in the maritime domain that could represent threats to the safety and security of US or its citizens. MDA is possessing the information on inbound ships, cargoes, crews & passengers to separate the good from the bad, and then concentrating resources to stop the bad.

2. Ensure Controlled Movement of High Interest Vessels (Intervention). Employing Sea Marshals to board HIVs, additional boats & crews to escort vessels and VTS & NDRSMP to track vessels to reduce the risk of ships being used as weapons the same as aircraft were on 9-11.

3. Enhance Presence and Response Capability (Interdiction). Establishing 6 Marine Safety & Security Teams with specialized port security/LE training for surge operations and force multiplier capabilities; and plus up of Group, MSO & Station personnel and boats to increase patrols & visibility.

4. Protect Critical Infrastructure and Ensure Coast Guard Force Protection (Infrastructure). Conducting Port Vulnerability Assessments to identify vulnerabilities in the MTS & critical infrastructure within a Captain of the Port (COTP) zone. Working with port, facility & ship owners to protect critical infrastructure; note that owners have primary responsibility for protecting their facilities.

5. Increase Domestic & International Outreach (International/Interagency). An All Hands evolution – pursuing international standards with the International Maritime Organization (IMO); participating with DOD in Homeland Defense plans, developing national border security strategies with INS, Customs & Border Patrol; bringing federal, state, local and industry together at port safety committees; and working with boaters & fishermen to serve as eyes & ears on the waters – all to ensure the safety and security of the maritime domain. Deepwater provides the Homeland Security solution of a layered defense that protects our national sovereignty using major cutters, patrol boats and aircraft capable to detect, intercept and interdict security threats, preferably on the high seas.

CG Vision Statement: The world’s best CG – Ready today – Preparing for tomorrow.

Issue date: 3.21.02
Review date: 8.31.02
Action Officer: CDR S. LaRochelle
Phone: 202-267-0734