On December 13, 2017 the Ports of South Louisiana and St. Bernard conducted their 8th Lower Mississippi River MSOC (Maritime Security Operations Center) Functional Communications Exercise. The NOLASEC (USCG Sector New Orleans) exercise dubbed “T’was A Jihad Before Christmas” was led by Cmdr. Eric J. Acosta and Lester Millet III, while testing and validating the following target capabilities: Communications, ICS (Incident Command System), Incident Command and Control of the MSOCs, Intelligence Analysis/ Production. Some other exercise highlights included the following:

  • The Exercise was USCG Sector New Orleans sanctioned and approved (MTSA Coast Guard regulated facilities and vessels received their yearly exercise credit by fully participating).
  • The USCG Sector New Orleans’ AMSP notification protocol (Facility and Vessel MARSEC Changes) was tested and validated.
  • Multi Agency Coordination: InfraGard Louisiana, USCG Sector New Orleans, FBI New Orleans (Cyber Taskforce & WMD Directorate), City of Kenner OHSEP, St. Bernard OHS-EP and 4 Lower Mississippi River Ports.
  • Both physical & cyber threats were exercised.

The very successful 2017 NOLASEC LMR exercise comprised 152 individuals, along with 71 facilities and 15 agencies, stretching from Mississippi River mile 55 in Davant, LA to river mile 234 in Port Allen, LA. Additionally, 45 vessels were contacted within the USCG Sector New Orleans COTP requested security zone. (river mile 89-91). A detailed after-action report identifying major strengths, along with recommended corrective measures for the USCG Sector Area Maritime Security Plan will be forthcoming and kept on file at Sector New Orleans.

Acosta and Millet would like to recognize the following agencies for their support and participation:

  • USCG Sector New Orleans
  • InfraGard Louisiana
  • Thomas Malik (Pin Oak Terminals) / Evaluator
  • FBI New Orleans (Cyber Taskforce & WMD Directorate)
  • Maritime & Port Security Information Sharing and Analysis Organization (MPS-ISAO).
  • Plaquemines Port, Harbor, and Terminal District
  • Port of New Orleans Harbor Police
  • Tulane Homeland Security Studies Program
  • City of Kenner OHSEP
  • St. Bernard Parish OHSEP