SANTA RITA, Guam — The Jose D. Leon Guerrero Commercial Port also known as the Port of Guam is among several Western Pacific entities receiving federal grant money through the 2022 Port Security Grant Program to ensure supply chain resiliency within Guam and the Mariana Islands.
Guam will receive $564,218 from the PSGP. The PSGP is one of four grant programs under the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency that focuses on strengthening the nation’s critical transportation security infrastructure.
The purpose of the PSGP is to provide the necessary funds for not only state partners but local, territorial, and private sector partners to enhance security measures and resilience to critical maritime infrastructure and build threat readiness.
The US Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration also awarded Guam $5.7 million in grants under the America’s Marine Highway Program in early October. The Jose D. Leon Guerrero Commercial Port is Guam’s only deep-water port and receives about 90 percent of the island’s imports. It offers facilities and services to ships of all registries and is striving to develop into the world-class container terminal port of the Western Pacific Region.
“We’re excited for our partners at the Port of Guam, and these awards are very timely. The region we operate in is referred to as the Blue Pacific Continent, highlighting that the ocean connects hundreds of diverse communities,” said Capt. Nick Simmons, commander of US Coast Guard Forces Micronesia and the Captain of the Port. “The eyes of the world are focused on this region, and it has never been more obvious how vital our ports are to our way of life – our economic security and prosperity.”
The PSGP is vital to maintaining a modernized and secure port supporting the uninterrupted flow of commerce. Regional health, safety, and prosperity inextricably link to the maritime-enabled flow of goods and services, especially realized within the Pacific Islands. This program is one of the ways the US Coast Guard works with private and public sector partners to secure the regional maritime transportation system from disruption, cyber-enabled or otherwise.
“October is cyber security awareness month which can sound vague but requires our attention. We must safeguard our critical infrastructure from all threats, including those in the digital domain. We are adding capacity here in the sector, including a cyber security expert, capacity crucial to better supporting our regional partners,” said Simmons.
At the end of September, members from US Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam, the government of Guam, and industry partners conducted a successful annual full-scale maritime security training exercise at the port of Guam. This exercise prepares federal, territorial, and industry Area Maritime Security Committee partners to respond to security threats affecting Guam’s marine transportation system and surrounding critical infrastructure.
The scenarios included:
- Simultaneous cyber incidents at several port facilities;
- Coordination of response efforts during an island-wide loss of communications;
- Simulated response to suspected terrorist activity;
- Changes to the maritime security level;
- Establishment of a Unified Command to manage the various response efforts.
“Recently, the Port invited us over to help celebrate their 47th anniversary,” said Simmons. “The main event was a coed team tractor-trailer pull for time. There were seven teams, and the Port Police took the first prize. What heartened me the most was to see our Coast Guard members step in to make a difference when a few teams needed another person. It reflects what we know is true out here, this thing only works if we come together as a team to pull it across the finish line.”