Balancing Canada-United States Security and Economic Competitiveness: the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River.

Author:McCreery, Douglas

Session Chair--Douglas McCreery

Speaker--Rear Admiral John E. Crowley, Jr.


MR. MCCREERY: My name is Douglas McCreery, and fortunately my only role here is to introduce Admiral John E. Crowley, Jr. It is a distinguished career; it is a career that one could easily fill this hour discussing the Admiral's progress to this point.

He is the Commander, Ninth Coast Guard District, and the Operational Commander for the Great Lakes region. He leads over 7,700 regular reserve, auxiliary and civilian men and women in the field. And I could go on. There is that excerpt there in your materials.

Something that is not in the materials is that his career began as a J.A.G. attorney, and it is an example to the young lawyers in this room, or of those who are about to be lawyers, that there are alternatives to practicing law in a law firm.

And much of the materials that you heard yesterday and the first half of today go to the thickening of the border, but in the field, there is an actual thinning of the border as we go through the process of dealing with both regulated activity and unregulated activity.

I caught an article in the Globe in February, and I thought as a way of giving the Admiral a place to start from, I would just read briefly from it:

"A tangle of conflicting laws on both sides of the border is tying the hands of joint Canada-U.S. border squads undermining the efforts to nab international criminals, says a newly-released report. Team members cannot radio one another. They have to surrender their side arms when crossing into the other country. And there are forbidden from crossing the Canadian-U.S. border except at official stations even though criminals prefer the isolated points in between." (1)

Admiral, how goes it?


Rear Admiral John E. Crowley, Jr. *

ADM. CROWLEY: Well, that is a great introduction, but I really cannot go further without taking the opportunity here at the podium, at the microphone, to offer my congratulations to Dr. Henry King and his great work here, and that we celebrated his time last night. And it is a true honor and privilege to be invited here to speak. And so congratulations again, and thank you, Dan, and everybody that had a part to play in that.

That is a great introduction. I will get a little bit to the punch line of three lessons learned, or recommendations, and then I will conclude with some remarks on those lessons, and really look forward to some questions and dialogue.

One of them has to do with getting people together and breaking down those borders, and one of them has to do with everybody being here today. And so, my second thank you really is to everybody who is here and participating in the Canada-United States Law Institute today, and throughout the year, because this is part of the way in my view that we break down the border.

And just as the article indicated--thank you for this leveraging point--my view is, the border is not a very helpful concept for the operational commander in getting the job done, the job being making the Great Lakes safer and more secure.

My area is the Great Lakes. That is water, and that is a U.S.-Canadian shared jurisdiction, shared concerns, shared interest, and shared solutions. With that in mind, I would like to walk through a few other issues here, and then look forward to more dialogue.

Because my colleague has convinced me that I should not use what I wanted to do as a tool after lunch, and show a video clip of a monoautomatic weapon rat-a-tatting through the water, I will try to keep you on your toes for a moment anyway, given the lunch hour here and have a little bit of audience participation. I am going to ask you to try to put yourself into a March 2009 scenario, and I am going to have an informal test as to what your read of the situation is after I get through the brief explanation here.

Early March 2009, there is intelligence and a threat received against the Sault locks, between Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario and Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. And of course the locks is an area where a great deal of shipping, some Canada to Canada, some U.S. to U.S., some Canada to U.S., and vice versa, and some simply foreign to Canada and U.S., all transits. (2) So early March, the threat is made. Mid March, Canadian Steel is stalled north of the locks. U.S. Ore is stalled in White Fish Bay. Ocean born wind turbines destined for Duluth and the interior of the nation are stalled in the Straits of Mackinaw waiting for outbound transit.

Late March, 15 days of closure thereafter, amounting to $41 million worth of accumulated costs, commerce has not concluded. Let me ask you to informally poll yourselves, what happened?

Who thought the locks were closed by a security zone established by the Coast Guard? Anybody? Who thought ICE impeded the transit of all the commercial ships trying to make the trip, as might have happened this last year?

Who thought that a terrorist attack on the fuel tanks of an up-bound ship closed the St. Mary's River, and therefore the locks, because of the extreme environmental damage done to both sides of the river and the precious fresh water system of the Great Lakes? Who thought that it was a terrorist attack on the lock gate itself that actually closed the gate, closed the locks?

I guess my point being, that without actually asking for some show of hands that there are--there is a rough scatter diagram as to who might have thought what the answer was. And when we start talking about the balance of commerce and security, I come up with some different definitions of balance quite frankly. I come up with a definition of balance saying that we have taken the steps necessary to equally protect commerce as we have to protect the infrastructure, and that we protect the life as we know it. I do not see it as much as security versus commerce.

As a little turn on Steve Flynn's comment from last night on balance versus integration, I would like to follow a couple of things that my esteemed former colleague, Professor Dr. Flynn, has shared with us. To stimulate a little more about some of the context of the dynamics here before I get into the more operational, how do we get things done, what works, and ultimately, what are the challenges that we are facing?

By and all, Steve talked about balance versus integration. Integration in my mind is the integration of strategies. There are commercial strategies, and we spent some of the time over the last day-and-a-half talking about some of those commercial strategies. And, there are commercial strategies to ensure that the product that is shipped actually gets to the destination without theft, without damage, and that has to be a commercial strategy. So why cannot we be talking about integration of that which is motivated well by commerce, like the motivation to protect from ICE is still a protection? And it has the same sort of impact on the closure, and so why cannot we look at integration in a slightly different way? And that balance maybe does not have to be a balance between security and commerce. It only gets that way because you ultimately end up making some choices I suggest, and ultimately the operator and the federal governments on both sides of the border make significant choices based upon resources available, and there are balances created by those choices, but the choices themselves are not necessarily balancing choices, and in that matter I agree with Dr. Flynn

Now, he also talked a little bit about compliance versus security. Well, I am seeing two columns develop. I look at compliance as being those things that develop most often out of the balance of individual measures. There are actual things. There are in compliance with accomplishing the things that are sent out. A master of the ship may choose not to do everything because the voyage was rough, but he must make mooring time and make the dockage where the stevedores are ready, and so there is a tradeoff.

So compliance becomes a victim, sometimes, of time and the examination of the things we need to do, whereas security is the system, it is the strategy; it is the overall fabric of how we hold security together. (3) And let us think for a second that we really did not have a fabric

of security to speak of before

In fact, I would suggest that we did not have much of a fabric of security even from a theft law standpoint from a Maritime Waterborne Commerce perspective prior to 9/11. (4) And when you look back at Dr. Flynn's early work, that is exactly what it was in--trying to develop a strategy and a philosophy of security a la theft loss.

Let us get down to the proof which we ultimately as federal agencies get held to, and questions were asked earlier yesterday how can you prove that these measures show results in security attained? And it drives us I suggest as we go down the column of balance to compliance to establishing and discussing proof to very zero tolerance sorts of tensions which are almost impossible to deal with. There are impossible philosophically, and there are certainly impossible from a real-life sailor perspective.

If I come down on the other side, I start looking at and examining comparative strategies, and I look at the system as a whole. And as Dr. Flynn suggested at the end of his talk, is the system robust and resilient enough to respond and recover following something that might happen? And have we instilled a system and a strategy that at least is protective enough to ensure that be accomplished? So, those are some of the idea struggles that I want to seed with you a little bit. Well, I got a little bit more real-life, and first talk about the strategy that we have for maritime security.

First developed in an international forum--first developed internationally, not at the home front--at the IMO, the International Ship and Port Facility Code, ISPS, later coordinated with the government in Canada, Transport Canada, and the Coast Guard and the compliance enforcement...

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