April 29, 2009 —
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — North American Aerospace Defense Command’s and U.S. Northern Command’s Interagency Coordination Directorate co-hosted the 3rd Annual Transportation Security Conference at the headquarters building Tuesday and today.
The conference was co-hosted by the commands’ close interagency partner, Transportation Security Administration, and provided a collaborative forum for DoD and interagency transportation security partners to discuss current and emerging authorities, policies and processes for securing both the U.S. and Canadian transportation system.
“Our first conference in 2005, the focus and effort of this conference was on air security gaps and seams,” said Bernd “Bear” McConnell, USNORTHCOM’s director of Interagency Coordination. “For our second conference in 2006, we broadened our efforts to include maritime, highway, pipeline, rail and cargo transportation. For our third conference, this year, we continued to press for a greater awareness and partnering with all our different transportation stakeholders and work with them to effect processes and policies – to enable us all to work together in a seamless manner.”
The conferences have been well received by the IC community and well attended with partners coming from a variety of DoD commands. More importantly, participating agencies include the National Defense Command Center Office of Special Investigations, Transport Canada Operations and Air Intelligence, Canada Air Marshals, Navigation Canada, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Department of Homeland Security, TSA, Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Coast Guard, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Secret Service, National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Federal Aviation Administration.
“We continue to move forward and work with all of our partners to ensure that we can say that we have thought about ways to mitigate any potential risks or unknowns,” said Kent Jefferies, TSA/Law Enforcement Operations, Deputy Assistant Director. “This year’s conference is significant because it marks the first time we have achieved such large participation from maritime, highway and cargo transportation systems. It’s critical we bring all the various agencies in so we can ensure a common operational picture and, if needed, a coordinated response.”
Of particular interest, discussions on collaborative authorities, roles, missions and tasks were discussed at the conference.
“It is critical that we have a forum to talk through the processes that we’d use, to potentially improve our intergovernmental and interagency management performance and response in a contingency operation,” said Canadian Air Force Maj. Gen. Pierre Forgues, NORAD’s director of operations. “As we have seen in our Air Defense mission where we have responded to unknown or suspected targets of interest, the relationships we’ve built before an event occurs can mean the difference between success and failure.”
NORAD is the bi-national command charged with aerospace warning and control, missile warning as well as maritime warning for the United States and Canada.
Formed in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of 9/11, USNORTHCOM is responsible for Homeland Defense and civil support missions.