NEWS | June 12, 2014

Army, Coast Guard Intel Troops Share Experiences to Increase Harbor Awareness

By Staff Sgt. John C Garver 8th Theater Sustainment Command Public Affairs

Intelligence troops from the 8th Theater Sustainment Command embraced the characteristics of their water-locked home by welcoming the opportunity to learn from their Coast Guard counterparts during a joint training here last month.

The 15 Soldiers visited The Coast Guard Integrated Support Command to increase their knowledge of threats to the Honolulu Harbor, and learn best practices for gathering information, developing threat assessments and briefing commanders of possible vulnerabilities in the area.

The harbor features the largest commercial port on the Island of Oahu and serves as the central point for ships importing and exporting goods. The port is also used for auto carriers, cruise ships and is off-limits to smaller vessels.

Eighth TSC intel analyst Sgt. Kurt Matthews said understanding the harbor from this perspective could prove vital in providing critical intelligence about operations that depend on the port's security.

The Coast Guard members took the Soldiers on a tour of the harbor from their point-of-view, aboard one of their small patrol boats.

The Soldiers ranged from lieutenant colonels to privates first class, and hold a variety of responsibilities in keeping their units informed on port conditions. Matthews briefs the 8th TSC command weekly on what is going on in the Pacific, including possible threats to the harbor.

He said that if called upon to respond to a natural disaster in the region, the unit must be able to rapidly deploy or support, and understand how harbor security impacts that ability.

When it comes to analyzing who comes and goes, Lee Harvey, a Honolulu Sector intel analyst with the Coast Guard, said, "We are the only game in town within 2,500 miles. We know who comes through the port, but sometimes we still face potential security threats."

He said, "Large ships have to give the harbor 96 hours notice. We will know who they are, how many crew members are on board, and where they are coming from."

At the end of the morning together, the two groups had built a foundation for future training and relationships that will contribute to the joint-nature of operations in the area.