Vanguard Magazine

Dec/Jan 2013

Preserving capacity, General Tom Lawson, Chief of the Defence Staff, Keys to Canadian SAR

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M Maritime awareness Smart collaboration Evolution of the Marine Security Operations Centres From a line in the National Security Policy of 2004, the Marine Security Operations Centre concept has become a formidable operation on both coasts and in the Great Lakes, bringing together the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets of five departments to deliver a broad and detailed maritime picture. Rear-Admiral David Gardam, commander of Joint Task Force Atlantic and Maritime Forces Atlantic, oversees the MSOC in Halifax. He spoke with editor Chris Thatcher. Q How close are you to full operational capacity? We are halfway between initial operating capacity and FOC. When we first started the MSOC it was built on establishing trust between the five key partners: how do we build that collaborative process so that we get the best answer possible to build a recognized maritime picture? I would say we have that now. We have had a number of cases where we have been able to use that synergistic effect to sort the wheat from the chaff. We are now working on smart collaborative tools which will allow us to better analyze the information more rapidly and to better share the information. From a technical perspective, no one department owns the MSOC. It is a collaborative arrangement of the five key partners – the Coast Guard, RCMP, DND, CBSA and Transport Canada. And we've been able to use it to identify drug smuggling where we would not have gotten that information without having the key partners in a room. That is a huge success story. We are now spreading our wings beyond North America to tap into 24 DECEMBER 2012/JANUARY 2013 the international connections that our partners bring. The idea of the MSOC has always been to know what is coming before it leaves. We're now there. Things like passenger lists, knowing where a ship was, is and will be going – all that information now comes into the MSOC. We currently manage 1.4 million pieces of data a day; by the end of the year it will be at 2 million. A lot of R&D has gone into how to smartly manage that information to get that recognized picture, to sort out why one vessel or aircraft might be a target of interest. Q How does that target look today versus eight years ago? Port M

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