MIAMI — A team of subject-matter experts providing technical assistance to maritime-security forces in the Caribbean will partner with CNA’s Center for Naval Analyses to study the progress of its support to the region.
CNA, located in Arlington, VA., is a nonprofit research and analysis organization; and its Center for Naval Analyses is a federally-funded research and development center serving the Department of the Navy and other defense agencies.
The 15-member Technical Assistance Field Team (TAFT), based at U.S. Southern Command, is helping Caribbean coast guards and maritime-patrol units improve maintenance, logistics and procurement systems used in the upkeep of boats needed to disrupt illicit trafficking, conduct search and rescue, and support disaster response missions, as well as other coastal-security operations.
The combined study is expected to begin later this year.
The team will use the results of the study to tailor its assistance to as many as 13 island nations in the region. That assistance, provided in six phases and consisting mainly of donated resources and shared expertise, will help those countries increase the operational availability of their coastal-patrol fleets by improving systems and programs used for preventive maintenance and inventory management throughout the service life of boats in their inventory.
Funded by the U.S. State Department since 2013, TAFT’s technical expertise is one of various forms of security assistance the U.S. is providing to the region as part of the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) to help countries there reduce illicit trafficking, improve public security, and promote social justice.
TAFT is comprised of U.S. Coast Guard and Army engineers, technicians, specialists and logisticians. The team was recognized Oct. 26 by then Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson with the Secretary’s Unit Award for “unprecedented interagency collaboration” for CBSI and its support to coast guards in the Caribbean.
Eastern Caribbean coast guards supported by TAFT have increased their maritime patrols by 41 percent, boarding of suspect vessels by 182 percent, and seizure of suspect vessels by 68 percent since the team’s assistance began.