Area Maritime Security Committee and Its Role


The Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA) was signed in 2002 following the terrorist attacks of September, 2001. The act tasked the Area Maritime Security Committees (AMSCs) to collaborate in securing the country’s ports, as well as respond to potential threats and prevent them. This report discusses the role of AMSCs, addresses their significance in securing operations of the port, and outlines the areas in which the committees can work more closely.

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Area Maritime Security Committees, Their Role, and Areas for Closer Work

The events of September 11, 2011, revealed the need for additional coast guard measures. The goal of MTSA of 2002 is to ensure waterway and port security. The provisions of the law require vessels to perform vulnerability evaluations, develop security plans involving screening procedures, install surveillance equipment, and analyze control measures (Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002, 2002). The MTSA’s primary role is the establishment of the AMSCs that work together to coordinate operations of governmental, state, and local organizations, as well as the public. The AMSCs are designed to enhance security in the maritime environment through meetings, training, assessments, and development of safety strategies (U.S. Coast Guard, 2017). Therefore, their role in establishing a safe environment for the population is significant.

The AMSCs are critical to ensure secure operations of the port as they allow stakeholders to collaborate productively in protecting the country. The committees engage in activities aimed at addressing cyber risk and enhancing preparedness to cyber-related events (U.S. Coast Guard, 2017). In addition, the AMSCs work on eliminating physical threats in the marine environment. For instance, they have developed the Passenger Ferry Active Threat Plan and established workshops to define the responsibilities and roles of related organizations and ensure the population’s safety. Moreover, the committees have also engaged in preventive nuclear and radiological detection, trained personnel to participate in missions, and deployed detection equipment in support of preventive tasks (U.S. Coast Guard, 2017). These facts reveal that the AMSCs’ work is critical for securing the port’s operations, as the committees improve the country’s safety at multiple levels.

Committee members can operate more closely in several areas within the security regime. One of them is unmanned aerial systems’ (UASs) access to the Marine Transportation System (MTS) (Crowell, 2018). UASs can operate closely to waterfront facilities and commercial vessels, making them potentially unsafe and damaging to the security regime (U.S. Coast Guard, 2017). The committees can focus on advocating for regulations and policies aiming at preventing possible risks of exposure of marine assets and infrastructure to UASs. Another area in which the AMSCs can work more closely is the safety and security of public access facilities. The committees can organize training sessions and workshops for related subcommittees, such as intelligence agencies. Finally, the AMSCs can improve their operations in the field of cyber security from the perspectives of the maritime domain. For example, they can develop training on recovery from possible incidents and work together with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).


The AMSCs’ role is significant, as they establish collaboration between governmental, state, and local organizations to ensure waterway and port security. Their operations are crucial because the committees work on preventing cyber risk and physical threats in the marine environment, as well as detecting nuclear and radiological threats. The areas in which the AMSCs can work more closely include the security of public access facilities, UASs’ access to MTS, and cyber security.


Crowell, B. (2018). Area Maritime Security Committees and the maritime transportation system. Web.

Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002, Pub. L. No 107-295, 46 USC §1214 (2002).

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U.S. Coast Guard. (2017). Area Maritime Security Committees: Challenges, suggestions, accomplishments, and best practices. 2017 Annual Report. Web.

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