DoD CIO Witnesses First-Hand How the Coast Guard is Always Ready

A visit to the birthplace of the U.S. Coast Guard, wouldn’t be complete without the whipping winds coming off the Boston harbor and Dana Deasy, DoD Chief Information Officer experienced just that when he arrived in Sector Boston. Deasy had the opportunity to visit multiple operational units as well as tour the Coast Guard Cutter Escanaba.

Sector Boston has over 1500 Active Duty, Reserve and Auxiliary members that report for duty. The mission set is broad for these men and women, and increasingly has been enhanced by technological capabilities.

Deasy met with several key leaders throughout his visit including Capt. Gregory Case, First Coast Guard District Chief of Staff and Eric Doucette Capt. of the Port, Commander Sector Boston at U.S. Coast Guard. Captain Doucette provided an operations brief about the Boston Sector’s overall mission, including information about the ongoing importance secure cyber and communications networks bring to the Coast Guard mission.

After meeting with key leadership at Sector Boston, Deasy had the opportunity to tour and take the helm of a 45 foot response boat used for search and rescue operations in the Boston Harbor.

According to the First Coast Guard District, on average at least one life a day is saved, while 11 others are assisted in the First District.

While aboard the search and rescue boat, Deasy was briefed on the Rescue 21 System, which is a command, control and direction-finding communications system. Rescue 21 is a system which allows boaters to transmit an automated distress signal while at sea or on a river. The towers used in the system will generate lines that show the source of the radio transmission, which has in turn drastically reduced the amount of time the Coast Guard will spend on rescue missions and has increased efficiency overall. Rescue 21 has been at full deployment since 2017.

“Rescue 21 is great example of an innovative program that has been implemented to help save lives,” said Dana Deasy.

Following up on the search and rescue boat, Deasy and his team toured the CGC Reef Shark, an 87 foot boat, where Deasy was briefed about the charting capabilities that are used throughout the Coast Guard.

Command and control technology plays a vital role in multiple Coast Guard activities especially when it comes to navigation. Satellite systems in particular are instrumental in locating mariners that are in distress.

“Having the opportunity to witness first-hand the role that satellite communications and IT support plays in daily Coast Guard missions was a unique opportunity,” said Deasy. “The diligence that the Coast Guard men and women provide when it comes to effective computer based planning for search and rescue missions is second to none.”

At the conclusion of the Coast Guard visit, Deasy visited the CGC Escanaba. The Escanaba is a medium endurance cutter that patrols not only within New England but as far south as the Caribbean. The primary missions include migrant interdiction patrols and enforcing federal and international fishing regulations.

"It was a tremendous opportunity to host Mr. Deasy and offer him a glimpse of Coast Guard operations and of our great people,” said Capt. Gregory Case. “Today's cyber environment presents many challenges in the maritime domain and our strong partnership with our DoD counterparts is vital to stemming this threat."

Dana Deasy (center) the DoD CIO tours a 45 foot response boat on a visit to the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Boston.
Photo: LT Adam Schmid, USCG

Dana Deasy is briefed about the charting capabilities used by the U.S. Coast Guard while aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Reef Shark.
Photo: LT Adam Schmid, USCG

Dana Deasy toured Coast Guard Cutter Escanaba. CGC Escanaba, shown here in the Boston Harbor is a medium endurance cutter that patrols New England, but also as far south as the Caribbean.
Photo: Lara Davis, DVIDS