Houston Ship Channel Security District Funds Two Maritime Intelligence Analysts Positions

The Houston Ship Channel Security District (“Security District”), using innovative public/private strategies to minimize maritime security gaps, began an exciting new initiative in 2018. Working closely with the Texas Department of Public Safety (“DPS”), the Security District funded two maritime intelligence analyst positions. The two positions, one in Austin and one in Houston, will focus on maritime and port security threats. As part of a Memorandum of Agreement (“Agreement”) signed between the Security District and DPS, the Security District will fund the two positions for the next four years. The first position in Houston has been established, and a highly qualified individual with significant intelligence analysis experience has been hired. Hiring for the second position in Austin is pending.

The Agreement was established to coordinate efforts and share information to address a capability gap for homeland security analysis efforts in the maritime sector. Establishing the two positions enhances the analytical capabilities of the Texas Homeland Security Critical Infrastructure Protection program. The effort resolved a resource gap within the Texas Department of Public Safety.

In addition to fulfilling responsibilities to provide DPS with a better picture of maritime security threats and risks, the two analysts will share periodic reports and briefings to the Security District as necessary or appropriate. These reports and briefings will include information regarding significant cases, threats, trends, and situations that could negatively affect the security and operation of maritime sector infrastructure and the maritime supply chain.

The Texas Fusion Center, a state-of-the art facility housing federal, state, regional and local law enforcement agencies at DPS Headquarters, was established by the legislature in 2003 to identify threats to Texas, its people, and critical infrastructure, including Texas ports and waterways. Until the Agreement with the Security District, however, the Fusion Center did not have sufficient resources to adequately cover maritime security threats and risks.

  1. Now, with funding secured for the two analyst positions, the Fusion Center will be able to identify and report on direct and indirect threats to maritime infrastructure. The positions will develop actionable intelligence for law enforcement and government agencies, as well as the private sector. These functions will help support law enforcement, emergency management, and industry security needs. The program has three main goals:
  2. Reduce the vulnerabilities of critical maritime infrastructure in Texas;
    Promote the operation and resiliency of critical maritime industry; and,
  3. Enhance understanding of critical maritime infrastructure security by developing and sharing information.

By collecting, analyzing, and reporting information, the analysts will contribute to critical infrastructure protection efforts. By communicating threat information, they will enhance the situational awareness of government and the private sector.

In addition to their daily duties, the analysts will be prepared to help respond to any major homeland security emergency or natural disaster. If need be, they will support government and industry during such events by bringing their specific maritime subject matter expertise to bear.

The analysts will be expected to develop and maintain relationships with key maritime security partners including, but not limited to the maritime industry, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Department of Homeland Security, other federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies, the Houston Ship Channel Security District, and the East Harris County Manufacturers Association.

The Security District is a unique public/private partnership dedicated to securing the supply chain through the port of Houston and its waterways. It is unique because it wasn’t politicians who conceived the concept of the Security District. It was businesses themselves that got together and realized there was a better way to approach funding the security needs of the Houston Ship Channel. It was industry that petitioned the State Legislature to create the Security District. It was the members of the Security District that built the organization. And, it has been the members that have accepted the responsibility to ensure the Security District meets its goals and is responsive to its members and government partners.

No one business or government agency is capable of protecting the entire Ship Channel. No one company or agency has all the resources to do the job. A safe and prosperous Ship Channel is achieved through cooperation. The Houston Ship Channel Security District is a true success story on how business and government can come together to protect the livelihood of so many.

  • Date August 14, 2018
  • Tags 2018 July/August