Questions and Answers

Questions and Answers (General)

1. What level of capability have the MSOCs reached today?

Today, operators at the MSOCs are able to collect, analyze and interpret intelligence from various sources, generating a comprehensive national marine situational awareness for their respective areas of responsibility.  The MSOCs are networked with the Government of Canada Operations Centre in Ottawa along with all of the MSOC Partner operations/situation centres, which are also located in Ottawa.  In addition, the MSOCs are linked to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans/Canadian Coast Guard’s vessel traffic and communications systems.  MSOC operations are based on integrated, secure information management technologies that facilitate enhanced communications between civilian and military capabilities.

2. Are there examples of recent MSOC security activities?

Examples of daily operations and collaboration at the MSOCs include:

  • MSOC (East) located at Halifax, NS
    • Operations to watch over foreign overfishing
    • Monitoring and control of seal hunt activism
  • MSOC (West) located at Esquimalt (Victoria), BC
    • Collaboration and surveillance assistance to drug interdiction
    • Intelligence reports in support of interdiction of illegal migration
  • Both MSOC (East) and (West)
    • Provision of intelligence collaboration by analysts from all five departments in   support of operational activity
    • Dissemination and sharing of maritime civilian shipping reports

3. What is the Government doing to improve marine security?

On April 27, 2004, the Government of Canada published the National Security Policy (NSP) 2004, designed to address current and future threats to Canada and her citizens. Among the various NSP initiatives was a renewed focus on strengthening Canada’s marine security.

The NSP committed to track vessels operating in Canadian waters more effectively, increase surveillance, protect marine infrastructure and to improve domestic and international cooperation among departments and agencies.  An important element of this strategy was the establishment of the joint interagency Marine Security Operations Centres.

4. Where are the Marine Security Operations Centres located?

The two Coastal Marine Security Operations Centres (MSOCs) have been operating since September 2004 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Esquimalt (Victoria), British Columbia.  They are situated in two existing Navy buildings at Joint Task Force Atlantic, Canadian Forces Base Halifax and Joint Task Force Pacific, Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt.  A third Centre, the Great Lakes-St Lawrence Seaway Marine Security Operations Centre has been operating since July 2005, in Niagara Falls, Ontario.  The Centre is situated in facilities owned and managed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

5. What is a Marine Security Operations Centre?

A Marine Security Operations Centre (MSOC) is a hub where an integrated staff from the core marine partner agencies and departments manage, analyze and exchange maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance data.  The staffs gather and analyze information and produce specialized intelligence products to support operational decision makers during routine and contingency operations.  The MSOCs possess national, interdepartmental capability and expertise.

Staffs undertake joint activities on a 24/7/365 day basis to provide integrated maritime domain situational awareness. The core partners are: Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), Department of National Defence/Canadian Armed Forces (DND/CAF), Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), and Transport Canada (TC). 

6. What is the purpose of the Marine Security Operations Centres?

The primary purpose of the Marine Security Operations Centres is to enable agencies and departments to work collaboratively to prepare and distribute consistent, timely and trustworthy marine intelligence, information and data.  Their products are made available to appropriate national, provincial, local and international agencies, so that appropriate corrective action can be planned and undertaken.

The MSOCs provide comprehensive marine domain awareness along Canada’s coasts enabling detection, assessment, and response to threats that could adversely affect the safety, security, environment or economy of Canada.  Threats include foreign trans-national organized crime - drug trafficking, piracy, migrant smuggling - emerging terrorist activity, over-fishing, and polluters.

The Centres enable marine intelligence and operations information and data that are collected by the partner agencies/departments to be transformed into integrated maritime situational awareness and contingency planning products.

7. What will the Marine Security Operations Centres do once they are fully operational?

The Marine Security Operations Centres are fully operational.  The MSOCs continue to manage, analyze, exchange, and archive marine information, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance data from various Government agencies and departments and assets.  This information is then leveraged to create a precise, coherent and up-to-date situational awareness picture in support of marine security.

Inputs feeding into the MSOCs include surveillance assets, electronic vessel locator feeds, at-sea weather reports, and internet-provided marine vessel information services.  The MSOCs are networked with the Government Operations Centres (GOC) along with core-partner operations centres and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans/Canadian Coast Guard’s vessel traffic and communications systems.

Crucial information is promptly exchanged so that all agencies and departments are able to respond effectively to the rapidly changing national and international maritime domain awareness environment.

8. When are the Marine Security Operations Centres expected to be fully operational?

The coastal Marine Security Operations Centres achieved Full Operational Capability (FOC) on 25 January 2016.  Initial Operational Capability (IOC) #1 was achieved in October 2009; IOC #2 was achieved in October 2013. 

9. Who is leading the work on the Marine Security Operations Centres?

The Coastal MSOC project is a Government of Canada project led by the Department of National Defence under the sponsorship of the Commander Royal Canadian Navy.  The Department of National Defence Assistant Deputy Minister (Information Management) is responsible for managing project implementation.  The Great Lakes-St Lawrence Seaway MSOC is a Government of Canada program led by Royal Canadian Mounted Police. 

10. Are there plans to establish any other Marine Security Operations Centres?

There are no plans at this time to establish additional Centres beyond the current three Marine Security Operations Centres located at Esquimalt, British Columbia; Halifax, Nova Scotia; and Niagara Falls, Ontario (see Question 4 for additional information).

11. When did work on the Coastal Marine Security Operations Centres Project begin?

The Coastal Marine Security Operations Centres Project was launched on 1 November 2005, and the team commenced work at that time.  This followed the release of Canada’s National Security Policy in 2004.

12. When did work on the Coastal Marine Security Operations Centres Project stop?

The Coastal Marine Security Operations Centres Project will close on 31 March 2016. 

13. What is the current status of the Coastal Marine Security Operations Centres Project?

The MSOC Project is currently in the Close-out Phase, which is the last cycle of a project’s lifecycle.  Project staffs are completing all project closure activities including formal notification to the project approving authority that the project mission has been achieved; all the conditions and limitations imposed on the project have been met; and that lessons learned have been duly recorded and passed on.  It also allows departmental authorities to close the project’s accounts, releasing any unused resources for reassignment.

The Project staffs are also working the Royal Canadian Navy/Capability Management Organization to transition the responsibility for MSOC System in-service support by 31 March 2016.

14. How do the Coastal Marine Security Operations Centres interact with their U.S. counterparts?

The Coastal Marine Security Operations Centres liaise with the US Coast Guard Operations Centres on a routine basis.

Questions and Answers (Industry)

1. Will the Marine Security Operations Centres procurement approach include other command centres?

There are no plans at this time to establish additional Centres. Operations Centres at other Government Departments will remain the responsibility of those Departments and will not be part of Coastal Marine Security Operations Centres Project.

2. Does the Coastal Marine Security Operations Centres Project budget cross departments?

The Coastal MSOC Project has its own capital budget.

3. How does the Coastal Marine Security Operations Centres Project relate to other maritime related projects?

The Coastal MSOC Project replaced the Department of National Defence Maritime Operational Surveillance Information Centre initiative. The Maritime Information Management Data Exchange and the Interdepartmental Maritime Integrated Command, Control and Communications Initiatives are related to the Coastal MSOC Project in that they are providing certain capabilities that will be leveraged by the MSOCs. There are no other government initiatives that are related to the MSOC Project.

4. Will there be a requirement to complete specific system implementation and integration activities?

Coastal Marine Security Operations Centres Project is not based on the acquisition of major new technology.  It is based on acquiring and integrating off-the-shelf technology.

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