Proceedings Of The Marine

FALL 2014

Proceedings magazine is a communication tool for the Coast Guard's Marine Safety & Security Council. Each quarterly magazine focuses on a specific theme of interest to the marine industry.

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16 Proceedings Fall 2014 Earth's circumference is about 40,000 km. An object mov- ing at that speed could depart, travel around the Earth, and return to its starting location in about .13 seconds. Given that the average eye blink is between 100 and 400 milliseconds, or .10 to .40 seconds, it would depart and arrive "in the blink of an eye." What this means is, we can create an effect in one part of the EM domain on the Earth, and affect a target anywhere else on the planet almost instantaneously. While the qualifer "almost" has signifcant ramifcations for fundamental physics, Global Positioning System satel- lite precision, or interstellar exploration, if we send a text or make a telephone call on Earth, the recipient is notifed immediately. For all practical purposes, any perceived time lag because of signal strength, data size, mobile cover- age, processing speed and such, is not an effect of the EM domain, but rather that of our technology for exploiting it. Therefore, this perception of simultaneous cause and effect, at least for earthly distances, is the fnal strategic character- istic that defnes the EM domain. The Information Environment Because the modern information environment relies on the EM domain — indeed, exists only because of our techno- logical exploits in it — it shares the domain's characteristics of ubiquity, symmetry, and simultaneity. The "information revolution" means we can gather, process, and communi- cate information to anyone at any place at any time, in a "many-to-many" confguration, versus "point-to-point" or "point-to-many." A natural question might be: "What if I am in a cellphone dead zone, or don't have the right tech- nology to access the EM domain and thus the modern information environment?" In that case, these proper- ties and characteristics do not hold. Without IT access to the electromagnetic domain, we are not part of the modern information environment. Instead, we are part of and operating in the classi- cal information environment, which has precisely the opposite properties — ubiquity becomes scarcity, information access and availability are asymmetrical, and its fow, rather than being near instant, is defned by friction at nearly all movement points. This is a result of the technology, not of the environment itself. For instance, a navigable river is an impediment to an army without boats, but perhaps an advantage to one with sturdy watercraft; analogously, overnight air delivery of a simple search query would hardly be simultaneous. Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats While the EM domain and the modern information environment do not confer inherent advantages or disadvantages to any actor, like all organizations, the Coast Guard must optimize its operations in this strategic space. Therefore, the Coast Guard must understand the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) that the service has or faces in the environment. This is commonly referred to as a "SWOT analysis," and is often used to develop strategies that conquer specifc challenges and pro- vide an advantage over adversaries. Strengths: people, adaptability, initiative. Coast Guard personnel and the service's history of adaptive responses to threats, disasters, and challenges are net positives, espe- cially in relation to combating TOC in the Western Hemi- sphere. The Coast Guard values expertise rather than rank to identify the right person for the job. Additionally, the service employs collaboration to secure the complex maritime domain, which is a social function that relies on the degree and strength of the connection among social network nodes, the ability of the individuals in the collaborating structures, and the trust among them. Another key strength of the Coast Guard is a willingness to take initiative rather than waiting for direction. Weaknesses: operating in the moder n infor mation environment, "big data." The Coast Guard, like many longstanding organizations with procedural roots in the industrial age, has a legacy information technology infra- structure built on administrative requirements rather than operational requirements. While we have made strides in SWOT Analysis: Coast Guard Operations in the EM Domain Strengths ■ People ■ Adaptability ■ Initiative Weaknesses ■ Operating in the Modern Information Environment ■ "Big Data" Opportunities ■ Existing Partnerships ■ Devolved Authorities Threats ■ Malevolent Actors

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