Dear Dr. Girardet,
I am heartened to see that the State of New Jersey is taking a serious look at ways to enhance its security along its diverse coastline and that the New Jersey Naval Militia (NJNM) may be part of that discussion. I welcome the opportunity to comment on the prospective mission mix for the NJNM. After the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, the NJNM deployed boats and crews to the Raritan Bay in the vicinity of Naval Weapons Station Earle. These assets helped provide maritime domain awareness within the port and significantly contributed to the security of NWS Earle. This is just one of many important missions that could be carried out by a capable State militia.
As you may know, the New York Naval Militia (NYNM) has had its vessel PRIVATEER, its boat crews, and armed NY National Guard members aboard, deployed for the past 32 months at the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant on the Hudson River. This resource has become an essential part of the maritime security force protecting the region’s critical infrastructure. My staff is currently working with the State of New York to further integrate the NYNM’s training, tactics and newly procured small boats into the joint maritime forces deployed both for planned security events such as Fleet Week and the Republican National Convention (RNC) as well as unplanned intelligence driven security events such as occurred over the year-end holiday season. These joint forces include vessels from federal, state and local law enforcement and security agencies such as the US Coast Guard, NYPD Harbor Unit, NJ State Police Marine Unit, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, the U. S. Park Police, and others. The robust collaboration and continuous coordination between these agencies has resulted in enhanced maritime domain awareness and a tighter security net over the port. I firmly believe that full integration of the NYNM’s current capability, as well as the prospective capability of the NJNM, would only improve that posture resulting in better security for each state and the region as a whole.
Our goal should be that of full collaboration toward achieving a seamless security net comprised of federal, state and local security agencies. I believe the extent of collaboration between local Coast Guard forces and the New Jersey State Police Marine Unit has never been better. To that end, my staff has also been working with the NJ Domestic Security Preparedness Task Force on a Memorandum of Agreement for the cooperative enforcement of federal security zones. Each step like this that we take certainly moves us closer to achieving our goal. I envision that a robust, trained and capable NJNM force is yet another large step in that direction. In addition to the visible deterrent that law enforcement vessels project, below are some of the potential missions in which a NJNM role would be beneficial:
Security Zone Enforcement – a potential enhancement under the prospective
MOA to include the use of NJNM assets in support of safety/security
Should the State of New Jersey decide to re-emphasize the NJNM, Coast Guard Activities New York would seek every opportunity for the NJNM personnel to operate in a joint environment and cross-train with Coast Guard personnel. I hope this information is helpful to the committee looking at the viability of the NJNM. Please feel free to contact me should you need additional information.
Copy: MG George T. Garrett, NJ Chief Homeland Security