Port of Hueneme – A full agenda of port security activities took place on June 18th including the Port’s first ever Port Security Exhibition, a full scale Exercise and Ribbon Cutting.

In an effort to increase port and maritime security, and to ensure the readiness of emergency response agencies and personnel in the region, The Port of Hueneme, along with more than 90 local, state, and federal emergency response agencies, will be conducting the annual Coastal Trident Regional Maritime Security and Response Exercise near and around the Port of Hueneme, and along the Southern California Coast starting June 16th and running through June 19th. The full scale exercises involve a variety of air, land, and sea operations as well as testing a number of technologies related to maritime operations. The exercise activities are designed to test response plans, processes, and systems, along with command and control procedures.

The day’s program opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony celebrating the over $12 million in state proposition 1b funds and Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) grants that have brought world class security technologies to the Port of Hueneme and law enforcement partners.

Congresswoman Julia Brownley commenting on the Coastal Trident noted, “In Ventura County, we understand the critical importance of port security to protecting our homeland from threats.  Last year, the House Appropriations Committee did not set aside any funds for the port security grant program, so I offered an amendment to the Homeland Security Appropriations bill to ensure the program would receive funding.  My amendment was accepted with broad bi-partisan support.  At my request, the House Appropriations Committee recently approved $100 million for this program for FY2015.  I am so pleased that the Port of Hueneme and Ventura County are benefiting from this critical program.”

FEMA’s Washington DC Branch Chief Alexander Mrazik said, “As a result of the continued partnership between FEMA and the Port of Hueneme, significant security enhancements to the port and the region have been possible through the various past and present projects funded under the Port Security Grant Program (PSGP).  The Port of Hueneme is a model for the country in grants management efficiency with one of the highest draw-down rates for funding and on-time project completion.

FEMA is proud to have funded many critical maritime security projects including infrastructure upgrades, planning, training, exercise, and CBRNE prevention, detection, and response for the port’s partners with the ultimate goal of reducing the maritime security risk in the port.”

Commission President for the Port of Hueneme, Mary Anne Rooney opened the ceremony stating, “Today marks a day of real accomplishment.  Working with over 90 agencies on an annual basis we collectively build a safer community.   We thank our state and federal partners for all the financial resources they have brought to our Port, the City of Port of Hueneme and the City of Oxnard and Ventura County.”

Priority projects include new cameras, surveillance technologies and infrastructure for the Port, a canine unit, a computer aided dispatch system and fiber optic connectivity for the City of Port Hueneme, a helicopter imager for the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department, and risk management plans for the Oxnard and Ventura County fire departments.   All 90 participating agencies benefit from the security training and exercises.

Today, in addition to the full scale exercise activities, the Port in collaboration with the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Asymmetric Warfare (CAW), the County of Ventura and the Economic Development Collaborative – Ventura County (EDC-VC), hosted the Maritime Advanced Systems and Technologies (MAST) Exposition.   Over 80 individuals registered and participated in the event.

Said John Demers, the Port’s Chief Operating Officer: “The MAST program, and in particular events like today’s that bring together our mutual aid and private industry partners, greatly enhances the security of not only the Port, but the surrounding community as well.  We are really excited about this first, of what we hope to be an ongoing, panel discussion and technology exhibition.  There was much discussion, enabled by CAW’s thoughtful and realistic scenarios.  I think all the participants left here today smarter and better able to respond to an actual event.”

The mission of the MAST Lab is to foster leading edge technology innovation and integration in a port and maritime environment.  The MAST Lab joins a federated network of leading academic, research, test and evaluation, in-service engineering and operational centers to further expand the regions ability to provide innovative solutions to national security, environmental and operational challenges.  Leveraging the unique geographic, operational, and environmental assets located in Ventura County, the MAST lab provides the collaborative stakeholders with an ideal location for on-going, maritime based research and evaluation.

An exercise overview briefing, allowed participants to observe an operations and policy panel discussion with representatives of DOD, FEMA, State and Local stakeholders and observe various advanced technologies related to the exercise and maritime domain awareness.

The day closed with a reception to continue networking and connecting Ventura County businesses with opportunities related to port security and maritime domain awareness.

Port CEO and Executive Director Kristin Decas referred to today’s event as another milestone for the Port noting, “The Port of Hueneme and Ventura County are becoming the “go-to” headquarters for emerging port security technologies. This is a great tribute to the hard work of the Port crew, CAW, EDC-VC, and all our local, state, and federal law enforcement.  A job well done.”