Ports Complete Security Exercise Against Physical, Cyber Threats

ST. BERNARD – More than 152 individuals, 72 facilities and 15 agencies from the Ports of South Louisiana and St. Bernard conducted a security exercise to prepare for potential physical and cyber threats.

The exercise, dubbed “T’was A Jihad Before Christmas," was held on Dec. 17 and coordinated by the 8th Lower Mississippi River Maritime Security Operations Center (MSOCFunctional Communications department.

The exercise was sanctioned and approved by the United States Coast Guard Sector New Orleans (USCG). Coast Guard facilities and vessels received yearly exercise credit by fully participating.

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It was led by USCG New Orleans Sector Commander. Eric J. Acosta and Lester Millet III. It tested and validated the following target capabilities: communications, ICS (Incident Command System), Incident Command and Control of the MSOCs and Intelligence Analysis/ Production. 

he USCG Sector New Orleans’ AMSP notification protocol was tested and validated. Multi-agency coordination was tested between InfraGard Louisiana, USCG Sector New Orleans, FBI New Orleans Cyber Taskforce and WMD Directorate, the City of Kenner, OHSEP, St. Bernard OHS-EP and 4 Lower Mississippi River Ports. 

The exercise involved agencies from Mississippi River mile 55 in Davant, LA to river mile 234 in Port Allen, LA. Forty-five vessels were contacted within the requested security zone during the exercise.

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A detailed after-action report identifying major strengths, along with recommended corrective measures for the USCG Sector Area Maritime Security Plan will be completed and kept on file at sector New Orleans.

The following agencies supported or participated in the exercise:

•        USCG Sector New Orleans

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•        InfraGard Louisiana

•        Thomas Malik (Pin Oak Terminals) / Evaluator

•        FBI New Orleans (Cyber Taskforce & WMD Directorate)

•        Maritime & Port Security Information Sharing and Analysis Organization (MPS-ISAO).

•        Plaquemines Port, Harbor, and Terminal District

•        Port of New Orleans Harbor Police

•        Tulane Homeland Security Studies Program

•        City of Kenner OHSEP 

•        St. Bernard Parish OHSEP

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