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Secretary Napolitano Observes Maritime Security Response Team Demonstration

Release Date: 
July 13, 2009

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano today visited the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Frank Drew in Portsmouth, Va., to discuss maritime security and view a demonstration by a Maritime Security Response Team (MSRT)—a Coast Guard counterterrorism unit with advanced interdiction capabilities.

“Maritime security is critical to interdicting threats before they reach our borders,” said Secretary Napolitano. “The Coast Guard Maritime Security Response Team is an effective tool for responding to any maritime incident at a moment’s notice.”

MSRT was established in 2004 to enhance the national response to weapons of mass destruction incidents. Prepared to conduct maritime threat response unilaterally or as part of an interagency operation, the team is trained to meet chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive threats.

While originally created to address a high-end threat, MSRT can also adapt to meet the full spectrum of maritime challenges—from domestic law enforcement operations to support of defense activities. MSRT utilizes canine explosive detections teams, tactical delivery vessels, and multiple specialized resources in these efforts.

U.S. Coast Guard deployable, specialized force—including MSRT—were aligned under one operational commander in 2007 to form the Deployable Operations Group. This flexible, full spectrum support provides a ready, rapid response force actively positioned and prepared to operate well off-shore and in our nation’s ports, rivers, and waterways.

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