One of the most unique examples of Canadian inter-agency cooperation is now fully functional, with staff from a host of government departments working together to monitor maritime activity on each coast, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The idea for the Department of National Defence-led coastal Marine Security Operations Centres, or MSOCs, was first developed following the attacks of September 11, 2001, when the Government of Canada recognized the need for greater coordination among federal departments.
The subsequent National Security Policy included an action plan aimed at strengthening marine security, bringing together various maritime security agencies, including the Canadian Armed Forces / Department of National Defence, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (which oversees the Canadian Coast Guard), the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and Transport Canada. Each agency would capitalize on its own expertise while combining forces to detect and assess security threats at sea.
Each coastal MSOC monitors activity in Canada’s ocean approaches using a leading-edge information technology solution developed specifically for this project, which has already caught the attention of external agencies, both domestic and foreign.
Each coastal MSOC is located within Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) infrastructure in both Halifax, N.S. and Esquimalt, B.C.
The MSOC project will transfer operational and technical authority to the RCN in mid-2015, allowing the RCN to maintain a key leadership role in their long-term oversight and administrative support, under the Directorate of Naval Operations and Plans in Ottawa.
Image: Canadian Navy