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A group of 30 course participants, mostly male and in various country uniforms stand on the steps of the hotel at the Naval Postgraduate School.

Jan 9, 2023


By Jenny Leggett

The Institute for Security Governance (ISG) recently conducted a “Fundamentals of Maritime Security” Resident Course at ISG headquarters in Monterey, California. A range of mid- to senior-level military and civilian international participants were represented among the 26 attendees, who hailed from nine different countries, with a strong contingent from Indonesia. The two-week course is structured to provide participants with the strategic context shaping the maritime space in the early 21st century; an overview of various maritime transnational threats; risk and governance self-assessment exercises; an in-depth look at maritime domain awareness requirements and capabilities; and coverage of strategies, solutions, and best practices for governments to effectively prevent, prepare for, and manage the consequences of various maritime threats.  

Among the various methodologies, discussions, case studies, and classroom exercises, this course notably featured a presentation from Mr. Shanaka Jayasekara – the Global Maritime Crime Program (GMCP) Manager for Southeast Asia/Pacific at the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Participants learned about the mission of the Global Maritime Crime Program and its work to improve regional cooperation and maritime law enforcement capabilities. Nations of the world are economically and militarily connected by the sea, yet many U.S. partners lack the capabilities and the capacity to establish and maintain their maritime sovereignty and security. Mr. Jayasekara’s presentation covered the scope and breadth of UNODC’s mission “To improve the capabilities of member states’ criminal justice systems to prevent, interdict, investigate, and prosecute maritime crime through a sound rule-of-law framework and effective international cooperation.”

As an added practical dimension to the coursework, participants received briefings on the United States Coast Guard’s (USCG) roles and statutory missions at USCG Station Monterey, and toured the 47-foot Motor Lifeboats, smaller craft, and the 87-foot Cutter HAWKSBILL. As is the case with many courses at ISG, participants joined one another in social activities and excursions, helping to foster personal relationships and professional connections that will last well beyond the course.

Speaking to the success of the course, Course Director Timothy Doorey noted, “By the end of the two-week course, participants from the nine different countries had become close friends and colleagues. They will take home what they learned during the course, their experiences inside and outside the classroom, and use the informal networks to enhance their professional careers.”

At the conclusion of the “Fundamentals of Maritime Security” course, participants are meant to: 

  • Understand the various “drivers” impacting global maritime security in the early 21st century; 

  • Understand transnational maritime threats and trends, i.e., piracy, terrorism, smuggling and trafficking, and IUU fishing; 

  • Evaluate and prioritize their national and regional maritime transnational threats and risks; 

  • Assess their nation’s maritime governance strengths and weaknesses;  

  • Understand the elements of maritime strategy development at operational and strategic levels; 

  • Describe best practices to recruit, vet, train, assign, and retain talented maritime security professionals. 

Additional Maritime Security courses that explore strategic and operational level best practices, and innovative solutions to address common challenges are available for programming in both the resident format at ISG as well as in the mobile format in-country. These courses address issues such as understanding transnational maritime threats; integrating civil, military, and law enforcement agencies with maritime security responsibilities; and leveraging regional and other international governmental and non-governmental resources.  

Learn more about how ISG is working to help Partner Nations identify, assess, and better understand Maritime Security issues in this ICB Smart Sheet.