May 5, 2008
The federal government is preparing to test high-tech buoys adapted from Cold War-era Navy technology that could act as an offshore early warning system against a terrorist attack by sea.
Finding boats that aren’t supposed to be heading for U.S. shores is a difficult task in vast, sometimes dangerous seas. Much of the surveillance is done by aircraft and satellites, which is very expensive work, Homeland Security spokeswoman Amy Kudwa says.
The department hopes contractors can create inexpensive buoys that can withstand rough water and don’t require any maintenance for at least a year.
“We’re looking for these to be very resilient,” Kudwa says. For the round of tests beginning this summer, the buoys will stay in the Pacific over the winter so officials can see how they hold up.
“Our efforts in maritime security are greatly dependent on our ability to know what’s going on, and in some ways, the ocean is still the great unknown to us,” says Dana Goward, director of Maritime Domain Awareness for the Coast Guard. The buoys “tell you someone’s there.”
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