Facility Security Officer Academy & Symposium Blog 5
- Posted by Drew Tucci
After our FSO and Refresher courses ended, we packed up our equipment and moved down the hall, filling a large conference room for the kick-off for the Symposium proper. After introductions from Ed, our first event was the Captain of the Port Panel. After our FSO and Refresher courses ended, we packed up our equipment and moved down the hall, filling a large conference room for the kick-off for the Symposium proper. After introductions from Ed, our first event was the Captain of the Port Panel.
We had three distinguished panelists: Captain Kelly Denning, Deputy Sector Commander, CAPT Eric King, currently the head of training for the Coast Guard and the prior Captain of the Port at Sector San Juan, and Captain Ryan Rhodes the Captain of the Port, Sector Lower Mississippi River in Memphis TN. The Captains thanked the FSOs for their work in protecting the nation’s maritime security. Hot topics for the panel were cyber security, Area Maritime Security Committees, and drones. Participation in AMSCs enables FSOs to work together and take advantage of shared resources. For example, use of drone detecting technology has helped authorities in the New Orleans area to locate drone operators and respond to complaints from facility operators. This in turn helped support a new State law that increases the penalties for illegal drone operations.
Cyber security was another hot topic, and both panelists and participants commented that the recent emphasis on cyber security is drawing physical security and cyber security personnel together. A challenge in the cyber domain is understanding when a cyber breach of security or suspicious activity must be reported to the Coast Guard. The discussion helped everyone understand that this issue is not as clear cut as it is for physical security events. On the issue of TWIC, Captain Denning encouraged any facilities that are considering redesignating their Secure areas, to do so as early as possible. Captain Denning also stated that any such request include an FSA and proposed FSP amendment that indicates that the change would not result in increased risk of a TSI. Based on the energy level and pace of discussion, it is clear that the rest of the symposium will be lively!
"This is not a theoretical class on facility security”
The stars were quite literally out this afternoon as both Admiral Carl Schultz, Commandant of the Coast Guard, and Rear Admiral Richard Timme, Commander Eighth District Commander, joined our Symposium. Admiral Schultz did so via a recorded address to Facility Security Officers. Both Admirals emphasized the importance of Maritime Security and the role that FSOs and other industry personnel play in keeping the Marine Transportation System safe, secure, and resilient, Although security classification restrictions kept Rear Admiral Timme from providing details, he made it clear that serious threats continue to exist in the Gulf region and elsewhere. One of his strongest statements was that “This is not a theoretical class on facility security”. That is a truth that every FSO should take to heart, and it reflects the reason we at S&A do everything we can to equip FSO’s to succeed.
Admiral Timme also discussed trends in the maritime domain, including larger, more complex ships, growing trade volume, and the fact that the United States is now an energy exporter. Significant marine casualties, such as the capsizing of the car carrier Golden Ray near Savannah in 2019 and the more recent grounding of the container ship Ever Given in the Suez Canal demonstrate supply chain risks and the need for FSOs and others in the port community to cooperate in Area Maritime Security Committees and similar forums. The Admiral noted that for those large scale events, the first question from authorities is often “is this a cyber event?” Facility operators need to “know their network” so they will be able to determine if that might be the case, or demonstrate to others that cyber was not a factor.
We were particularly pleased that Admiral Timme took the time to recognize S&A client Trade Point Atlantic as the recipient of the 2020 Rear Admiral Richard E. Bennis Award for Excellence in Maritime Security.
Rear Admiral Richard Timme, capped the day and began his remarks by recognizing Tradepoint Atlantic, a long time S&A client, as recipient of the Admiral Bennis award for excellence in facility security.
A common theme among both Admirals was the growing complexities of the MTS and the importance of the MTS to the nation’s supply chain. Cyber risks, drones, new port and vessel technologies innovative fuel and energy sources. All of these and more are factors that industry and the Coast Guard must work together on to manage. Our Symposium is one way in which we are able to do just that.
Facility Security Officer Academy & Symposium Blog 4
- Posted by John Bingaman
Afternoon, Day 2 – The Seebald & Associates FSO Course includes an Exercise. Phase One of the exercise began the afternoon of Day 1. The FSO Course participants were fully engaged in Phase Two. The exercise includes designing a facility with security as the focus, drafting a Facility Security Assessment and writing a Facility Security Plan.
This group exercise is designed to reinforce the material covered in class and to incorporate and apply the requirements of 33 CFR 105 that an FSO must know and be able to perform.
Each group was fully engaged and energetic in applying the regulatory information they recently learned.
Facility Security Officer Academy & Symposium Blog 3
- Posted by Drew Tucci
Keeping it Fresh.
Nineteen new arrivals showed up on day two of the S&A FSO Course and Security Symposium. These were seasoned FSOs, here to learn and contribute at the FSO Refresher Course. Our FSO Refresher course helps FSOs and senior executives stay sharp.
Our new participants represented over 400 years of experience, and this is what makes the Refresher Course so valuable. While S&A instructors provided an overview of threats, emerging Coast Guard policies, and related issues, the students all had their own stories of security incidents, best practices, and other “nuggets of knowledge” that others could benefit from. In some cases, the students used Post-it notes to share some of their suggestions.
The students in Refresher courses tend to be rather vocal, and today’s class was no exception. While S&A Master Instructor Brian Kelly started with a planned agenda, the contribution from students often dominated the discussions. Emerging threats and technologies were a popular topic. One of the participants promised to share a video of a drone using a flame thrower, which we all look forward to seeing at a future course.
Of course the class is also discussing new requirements, including cyber security, a review of MTSA fundamentals, and trends in Coast Guard compliance actions. The networking lunch, which Ed Seebald so kindly provided, included yet more discussions on practical matters such as security camera vendors, and how effective the access control and credentialing solution, MAGNAR FortifiD, has been with existing customers.
Stay tuned, tomorrow the classes end and the Symposium begins with special guest speakers, Captain of the Port Panel, and more...
Facility Security Officer Academy & Symposium Blog 2
- Posted by John Bingaman
Afternoon, Day 1 in the heart of New Orleans French Quarter – During an energetic networking lunch, the diverse maritime industry participants engaged with and learned more about each other as well as getting to know their Seebald Associates. After which, the afternoon session kicked off with a video and discussion on high reliability security procedures that prevent and deter security incidents; an environment we all desire to promote and nurture!
The expert team of the Seebald Associates provided snippets of insight and experiences to enhance the training experience, while Joe Hester kept the learning lively and fun! Digging into domestic and international law, the Code of Federal Regulations and Coast Guard policies is a tough act after lunch, but there was not a sleepy eye in crowd due to the dynamic and interactive master-level teaching techniques used to convey the dry, but necessary knowledge an FSO must be trained in. Well, honestly, a “cup of joe” also helped keep the 70 eye lids open!
By the way, the beignets were consumed in short order! Blogging from the heart of the French Quarter… ‘Restez en Scurit!’ – Stay Safe and Secure!
Facility Security Officer Academy & Symposium Blog 1
- Posted by Drew Tucci
The Seebald & Associates Facility Security Officer (FSO) Course and Security Symposium kicked off this morning in New Orleans with the largest class to date. After coffee and beignets, 35 students settled in to begin their FSO course, led by S&A Instructor Joe Hester. The students included several active duty Coast Guard personnel as well as people from various segments from the port facility industry, including petrochemical manufacturing, energy, passenger facilities, and dry cargo. The students represent many years of experience in addressing facility risks, and Joe encouraged them to mix, mingle, and share their perspectives during the class.
Our fearless leader, Ed Seebald, provided opening remarks. For those of you who know Ed, you won’t be surprised to hear that Ed told some “sea stories” and was both the source and the target of some good-natured kidding. Ed also gave the group a little of his own background, which I’ll add to: Ed and his brother founded S&A shortly after 9-11. His devotion to helping companies develop meaningful security programs is borne from a sense of patriotism that all of us at S&A share.
When Ed (finally) yielded the stage, Joe Hester began the course in earnest, introducing an alphabet soup of terms like MTSA, SOLAS, ISPS, CFR, and SSI. The class took a pre-test to evaluate everyone’s comfort level with these terms and other fundamentals.
Typically these pre-tests score only about 50%, but this is only day one. We know from years of experience that by the end of the class the students will be well equipped to lead and manage their security responsibilities. And if they have developed a taste for beignets and coffee, it isn’t our fault.