DearColleague.us

Letter

Mark DeSaulnier

From the office of:

Mark DeSaulnier

Sending Office: Honorable Mark DeSaulnier
Sent By:
Sarah.Jackson@mail.house.gov

Dear Colleague:

Please join me in sending a letter urging the Homeland Security Subcommittee to provide $4.2 million for the U.S. Coast Guard’s (USCG) Unmanned Surface Vehicle Data Collection Program.

The USCG faces significant challenges in improving its Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities in ocean regions – particularly, those in remote areas. Last year, Congress directed the USCG to examine
the feasibility and cost benefits of using commercially available, owned and operated Unmanned Surface Vehicle Systems to better address these objectives.

Last week the Coast Guard Research and Development Center announced two pilot projects to begin assessing low-cost commercially available autonomous solutions to improve maritime domain awareness in remote regions. These ongoing efforts will help the Coast
Guard prove that USV capability can be used to improve maritime domain awareness in remote Pacific regions, with an emphasis on detecting suspected illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing activity and alerting command centers to potential violations to
support enforcement actions.  Follow up funding is needed to formally establish the Unmanned Surface Vehicle Data Collection Program to allow the USCG to purchase and evaluate on site or in situ ocean data collected by commercial Unmanned Surface Vehicles
to bolster USCG’s assets in ocean regions and to support its MDA and ISR missions. 

Join me in ensuring the Coast Guard has all of the tools it needs to address critical objectives – especially in ocean regions.

For additional information, or to sign onto the letter, please contact Sarah Jackson at
sarah.jackson@mail.house.gov by
close of business on March 17, 2020

Sincerely, 

Mark DeSaulnier
Member of Congress
 

 

Dear Chairman Roybal-Allard and Ranking Member Fleischmann:

As you begin work on the Fiscal Year 2021 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations bill, we respectfully request you include $4.2 million and appropriate report language for the United States Coast Guard’s Unmanned Surface Vehicle Data Collection.

The Department of Homeland Security’s United States Coast Guard (USCG or Coast Guard) faces significant challenges with respect to improving its Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities in ocean regions
– particularly, those in remote areas. Both MDA and ISR are critical to the USCG in supporting its statutory missions related to maritime safety, security, and protection. Specifically, with respect to the Pacific Ocean region, one of the three tenets of Coast
Guard’s Western Hemisphere Strategy is the defensive posture of this strategy to sustain effective offshore awareness capability. Persistent MDA is imperative to: detect threats and safeguard our homeland; execute effective drug interdiction and deep ocean
monitoring; patrol the U.S. Economic Exclusive Zone (EEZ); prevent illegal fishing; and stop intrusion into protected marine sanctuaries. For the Pacific Ocean region, one of the Coast Guard’s primary MDA concerns is identifying where Illegal, Unreported,
and/or Unregulated (IUU) fishing activity is most prevalent, with a focus on transshipments of fish at sea.

In Fiscal Year 2020 in an effort to better address USCG’s MDA and ISR objectives in the Pacific Ocean, Congress directed the Coast Guard to examine the feasibility, costs, and benefits of improving MDA through the use of commercially available, owned and operated
low cost Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV) systems for the collection of critical
in situ ocean
data. In response to this Congressional directive, the USCG will conduct demonstrations of onsite autonomous capability that will augment the existing complement of manned Coast Guard’s assets and enhance the effectiveness
of its current MDA and ISR postures, through evaluation of a commercially available, owned and operated USV system or systems. These commercially available, owned and operated systems must be capable of collecting these types of critical
in situ ocean data.  In addition to examining the feasibility and benefits of improved MDA and ISR using commercially owned and operated USV assets, the USCG is interested in these commercial systems’ ability to detect suspicious ship
activity, utilizing machine learning and artificial intelligence. 

We respectfully request your inclusion of a total appropriations of $4.2 million for the United States Coast Guard’s Unmanned Surface Vehicle Data Collection and include the following report language:
 

The Committee provides $4.2 million and directs the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) to enter into at least one contract to establish a USCG Unmanned Surface Vehicle Data Collection Program through an open competitive procurement
process. The in situ ocean
data, collected by commercial Unmanned Surface Vehicles and purchased by the government, should be used to augment USCG’s assets in ocean regions to support its operational Maritime Domain
Awareness and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance missions. This funding shall be used only to purchase, evaluate, and calibrate commercially available
in situ ocean data collected by contractor owned and operated USV systems.

We appreciate your consideration of our request, and we look forward to working with you to support this important program.

Sincerely,

Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information: Appropriations, Armed Services, Environment

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