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Maritime terrorism require Unattended Sensor Technologies for Monitoring Riverine and Littoral Zone Vessel Traffic

Terrorist groups and transnational criminal organizations continue to illegally cross porous land borders to traffic small arms and light weapons (SALW), ammunition and explosives, drugs, contraband, other illicit goods, and human beings, as well as deploy terrorist operatives to conduct attacks. Such activities undermine States’ efforts to counter terrorism and restrict crossborder organized crime, increase the vulnerability of affected populations, and provide financing to terrorist and criminal networks in ways that adversely affect international peace and security. Members of terrorist and transnational organized crime groups, as well as “foreign terrorist fighters” (FTFs), target the gaps of weak border infrastructure and continue to exploit with impunity porous and uncontrolled borders.


Complex, dangerous threats, such as terrorist organisations working with other criminal enterprises to support their cross-border activities, require a robust cooperative response. Collaboration between civil services, including border guards, border police, and customs agencies, as well as security services, principally police and defence forces, is the most effective way to maximize the use of resources, build a more comprehensive intelligence picture, and  respond to the threats.


It’s been more than 10 years since terrorists launched a four-day attack that left more than 160 people dead. The events played out on live TV around the world. The terrorists struck five-star hotels, a busy train station, a hospital and a Jewish Community Center. The plot was initiated by a sea borne group of terrorists who landed via a small rubber. The terrorist group sailed from an isolated coastal area near Karachi in Pakistan without its deadly cargo of arms and ammunition that they were to use in Mumbai. The group received arms and ammunition on board a larger vessel which picked them up the following day.


The terrorists are believed to have used the trawler for cover to make the journey to Mumbai without being detected by the Indian Coast Guard. The nondescript, fishing vessel bearing its name in the Gujarati script and a Gujarat registration number would have not have raised suspicion in a region dotted with numerous such boats. “Most of the time, we act on specific information. We rarely check such fishing trawlers with Indian flags,” a Coast Guard officer later admitted. Authorities also reported that the operatives received maritime training at the Mangla Dam area in central Pakistan including a practice run into Mumbai in 2007. The marine techniques included training in boat handling, navigation, laying of mines in coastal areas, planting underwater charges on bridges, dams and ships and attacking coastal targets and vessels


To understand the risks, challenges and vulnerabilities that we face today, it is necessary to have a comprehensive maritime picture of what is happening. Maritime security provides advanced technology to detect hazards and communicate with officials. It also renders services that help to combat potential threats. The different types of maritime security include port and critical infrastructure security, coastal surveillance and vessel security. The technologies and systems used for maritime security include access control, communications, detectors, geographic information systems, screening and scanning, smart containers, supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), surveillance and tracking and weather monitoring among others.  Integrated satellites, networked sensors and innovation in related maritime technologies has eased the task of law enforcement agencies but the real challenge remains to detect and track small objects and distinguish possible threats from legitimate activities like shipping, fishing and other maritime activities.


U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) is charged with protecting the U.S. by reducing the likelihood that dangerous people and capabilities enter the U.S. between Ports Of Entry (POEs). The USBP patrols approximately 6,000 miles of international land borders that the U.S. shares with Canada and Mexico. Additionally, the USBP shares responsibility for the security of the littoral zones which include the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, the Gulf of Mexico and Puerto Rico.Many regions of the U. S. international borders include bodies of water, such as streams, rivers, and lakes. USBP agents are often tasked with performing their border security mission with limited to no surveillance capabilities and limited situational awareness in and around such areas. USBP operational environments often have elevation differences like ridges along banks or deviated shorelines and provide naturally occurring concealment opportunities such as coves and isles and overgrown vegetation. These conditions limit the effectiveness of existing short, mid, and long-range surveillance technologies.


Unattended Sensor Technologies for Monitoring Riverine and Littoral Zone Vessel Traffic project.

U.S. border security experts are asking the sensors industry for new ways to monitor ship and boat traffic on streams, rivers, and lakes. Officials of the Border, Immigration and Maritime Division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate in Washington have issued a request for information (70RSAT20RFI000004) for the Unattended Sensor Technologies for Monitoring Riverine and Littoral Zone Vessel Traffic project.


Desired Technology Solution(s) will augment current USBP operational concepts and capabilities by improving situational awareness of mechanized surface watercraft Items-of-Interest (IoIs) that are transiting remote, difficult-to-monitor border waterways and the associated personnel that may be coming ashore on shorelines between official POEs. Technology solution(s) will incorporate automated detection, identification, classification, tracking, and alerting for informing and supporting decision-making by USBP agents regarding the interdiction of suspicious activity and understanding associated risks.


Developed technologies will include the following features: small, agent portable; agent deployable/re-deployable; low-observable (concealable); remote unattended sensors for real-time; automated; year-round detection; identification; classification and tracking. In addition, technologies will provide alerting of suspicious activities on waterways and shorelines day and night and in varying weather conditions; incorporate low-power techniques that maximize battery replacement times and include integrated communications to provide reliable methods of backhauling data from remote locations; provide high probabilities of detection and alerting, low false/nuisance alarm rates and be affordable with reasonable procurement and minimal sustainment  costs.



Key Success Criteria (KSC)

1. Affordability – Reasonable procurement, operations, logistics, and sustainment costs compared with the value provided and the available budget.
2. Deployability – Ease and speed of storing, transporting, planning installations, setting-up and testing/validating; agent portable and deployable/re-deployable; low-observable (concealable) during deployment and associated operation.
3. Autonomy – High level of independent unattended, remote operations; low extent of operator/user and maintenance and repair (M&R) technician involvement; low-power (off-grid capable); extended operational time on single charge, with easy and rapid rechargeability from standard electrical power or quick battery swap.
4. Connectivity – Real-time or near real-time, secure communications with both local operator/user mobile devices and remote command center facilities; remote data collection, administration, diagnostics and health and status (H&S) reporting for both battery and system.
5. System Performance – Capabilities to autonomously detect, identify, classify, track, and alert on IoIs; high probabilities of detection and alerting with low false/nuisance alarm rates and capabilities to provide IoI location, range, bearing, and speed.
6. Environmental – Ability to operate year-round, day and night, at remote, limited-access sites along U.S. borders with ruggedized, durable, and capable operation in all temperature extremes and inclement weather.
7. Simplicity – Ease of operational use, diagnostics, and M&R; low level of operator/user and M&R technician training and logistics and sustainment support; on-board operator user training and graphical operator/user interface.
8. Security – Provides security measures preventing unauthorized control/communications or access (either local or remotely); notifies the operator of any breaches to the system and remains quiet while operational.
9. Scalability – Ability to scale from small to large system installations, from low to high rates of IoI detections and to support associated processing and communications.
10. Open Architecture and Data Sharing – Maximizes use of an open architecture and data sharing: ease in adding, upgrading, and swapping system components; use of and compliance with published, publicly available and widely-accepted architecture and data standards and specifications.

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