Marine Security Operations Centres Keep Canadian Waters Safe

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Canada’s Marine Security Operations Centres (MSOC) officially achieved full operational capability on January 25, but these data fusion centres have been successfully integrating maritime intelligence from five federal government partners for more than two years.

“The MSOCs provide a holistic view of Canadian waters so that all five partners can share information,” said Len Bastien, Assistant Deputy Minister (Information Management), the organization responsible for the project. “It gives us a more complete picture of what’s happening.”

Canada’s coastal MSOCs are housed at Canadian Forces Bases Halifax and Esquimalt, where representatives from DND, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Canada Border Services Agency, and Transport Canada work together to monitor Canada’s coastlines and protect them from possible maritime threats. These threats range from law enforcement issues such as drug trafficking and illegal migration to encroachment by foreign fishing vessels.

“This isn’t strictly a military capability,” said Mr. Bastien. “This is ultimately about protecting the Canadian public.”

The coastal centres are equipped with innovative web-based tools that allow the partner organizations to collaborate with one another. Analysts can pool their resources, taking the best information from their respective sources to form a complete assessment of a maritime threat. By creating a more complete picture of the risks, analysts can effectively recommend a course of action to the appropriate chain of command so that a suitable response can be planned.

“The MSOC provides a solid operational capability to the Navy and its partners across the Government of Canada,” explained Tom Fagan, the MSOC project manager. “I’ve been a part of MSOC since the early phases of the project life cycle, so to see that evolve from policy, to concept, to design, then to implementation and delivery is something very special.”

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