Inter-agency maritime plan inked

July 7, 2011 at 5:25 PM

WASHINGTON, July 7 (UPI) -- The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced a new maritime operations coordination plan that will enhance the department's threat-response capabilities.

The plan will strengthen coordination, planning, information-sharing and intelligence integration for maritime operations among the U.S. Coast Guard, Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security officials said Thursday in a release.

The maritime operations coordination plan recognizes the special nature of the maritime domain and the need for a multilevel approach to security, with emphasis on sharing information within the Department of Homeland Security and other federal, state, local, tribal, territorial and international partners, federal officials said.

"As America's maritime first responder, the Coast Guard works closely with our fellow DHS components and security partners to deter and respond to threats in our ports, along our coasts, and in waters of U.S. interest" USCG Commandant Adm Robert Papp Jr. said. "This plan will combine resources from across DHS to strengthen our ability to protect our nation's global trade and our citizens."

ICE Director John Morton said the plan will allow agencies to better coordinate and collaborate "to disrupt and dismantle criminal organizations who wish to do us harm.

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