The Indo-Pacific Partnership for Maritime Domain Awareness

Coast Guard Cutter Stratton (WMSL 752) sales alongside the Indian coast guard ships Abheed and Shaurya (16) Aug. 23, 2019, while transiting in the Bay of Bengal off the coast of Chennai, India. The Stratton is participating in a professional exchange with the Indian coast guard that includes operational exercises at sea and on shore. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Stephen Esterly)

Time to learn a new acronym, IPMDA, Indo-Pacific Partnership for Maritime Domain Awareness.

The Maritime Executive reports,

The Quadrilateral Security Alliance (Quad), a loose defense cooperation group composed of the U.S., India, Australia and Japan, plans to introduce a joint satellite-based tracking system aimed squarely at Chinese illegal fishing.

Real Clear Defense has another view, ““Black Ships,” the Quad and Space.

A Whitehouse “FACT SHEET: Quad Leaders’ Tokyo Summit 2022” leads of with discussion of the IPMDA. Quoting,

The Indo-Pacific Partnership for Maritime Domain Awareness  

At the Tokyo Summit, the Quad leaders will welcome a major maritime initiative: the Indo-Pacific  Partnership for Maritime Domain Awareness (IPMDA). In close consultations with regional partners, IPMDA will offer a near-real-time, integrated, and cost-effective maritime domain awareness picture. This initiative will transform the ability of partners in the Pacific Islands, Southeast Asia, and the Indian Ocean region to fully monitor the waters on their shores and, in turn, to uphold a free and open Indo-Pacific. Quad countries are committed to contributing to the region’s maritime domain awareness—a fundamental requirement for peace, stability, and prosperity—through an investment in IPMDA over five years. The partnership will innovate upon existing maritime domain awareness efforts, rapidly bringing emerging technologies to bear for the greater good of the Indo-Pacific community.

IPMDA will build a faster, wider, and more accurate maritime picture of near-real-time activities in partners’ waters. This common operating picture will integrate three critical regions—the Pacific IslandsSoutheast Asia, and the Indian Ocean region—in the Indo-Pacific. The benefits of this picture are vast: it will allow tracking of “dark shipping” and other tactical-level activities, such as rendezvous at sea, as well as improve partners’ ability to respond to climate and humanitarian events and to protect their fisheries, which are vital to many Indo-Pacific economies. IPMDA will do so by:

  • Harnessing commercially-available data using existing technologies. Through a combination of Automatic Identification System and radio-frequency technologies, Quad partners can provide an unprecedented “common thread” of activities. Because of its commercial origin, this data will be unclassified, allowing the Quad to provide it to a wide range of partners who wish to benefit.                 
  • Extending support for information-sharing across existing regional fusion centers, such as the Information Fusion Center-Indian Ocean Region, based in India; the Information Fusion Center, based in Singapore; the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency, based in the Solomon Islands, and the Pacific Fusion Center, based in Vanuatu, both of which receive support from Australia.

Quad partners will begin immediate consultations on this opportunity with partners in the region. As the initiative proceeds, the Quad will identify future technologies of promise, allowing IPMDA to remain a cutting-edge partnership that promotes peace and stability throughout the region. 

More on the Quad here.

If this works, similar systems should be extended over the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific as well. In addition to countering Illegal, Unreported, Unregulated (IUU) fishing, such systems have potential for SAR, MEP, interdiction of smuggling activities, counter piracy, disaster response, and sanctions enforcement.

In wartime such systems would have significant implications for Naval Control of Shipping and might alert us to sinkings. Access to this information would, of course, also be useful to our enemies seeking to target ships. Presumably there is planning for these eventualities.

Thanks to Paul for bringing this to my attention.

5 thoughts on “The Indo-Pacific Partnership for Maritime Domain Awareness

  1. Webber class FRC Cutter Myrtle Hazard (WPC 1139) assists Solomon Islands vs IUU fishing.

    News Release
    U.S. Coast Guard 14th District Hawaii and the Pacific

    Coast Guard assists in patrolling Solomon Islands exclusive economic zone

    HONOLULU — The Coast Guard assisted the Solomon Islands this week by patrolling their exclusive economic zone while maintenance was being conducted on the Royal Solomon Islands Police Vessel Taro.

    The Coast Guard Cutter Myrtle Hazard (WPC 1139) crew helped to fill the operational presence needed by conducting maritime surveillance to deter illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing in the northern Solomon Islands.

    “Through Operation Blue Pacific, the United States Coast Guard looks for opportunities to assist our regional partners with maritime governance and security,” said Capt. Craig O’Brien, chief of response of Coast Guard District 14. “Working closely with the Forum Fisheries Agency and the government of Solomon Islands, it was a privilege for the United States Coast Guard to assist the Solomon Islands while their police vessel was down for maintenance.”

    This operation was made possible by coordination between the Coast Guard, the Solomon Islands’ Commissioner of Police, Assistant Commissioner of Police, and the Deputy Commissioner for National Security and Operations.

    Before diverting to the Solomon Islands, the Myrtle Hazard was already deployed on an expeditionary patrol spanning five different Pacific Island Countries (PIC) and the high seas in support of Operation Blue Pacific.

    Operation Blue Pacific is an overarching multi-mission Coast Guard endeavor promoting security, safety, sovereignty, and economic prosperity in Oceania while strengthening relationships between partners in the region with an emphasis on deterring IUU fishing.

    IUU fishing has replaced piracy as the leading global maritime security threat and has the potential to jeopardize the efforts of PICs to conserve fish stocks, an important renewable resource in the region.

    “Maintaining maritime governance in Oceania with our partners is essential in ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific,” said O’Brien. “It is through this collaborative effort and our ability to join forces that we are able to support regional economic prosperity and individual sovereignty.”

    With a population of approximately 40 million people covering an area of 12.2 million square nautical miles, the Coast Guard and its international partners regularly patrol Oceania to protect and support those who call it home.

  2. Pingback: THE QUAD GOES TO SEA – CVD

  3. Pingback: THE QUAD GOES TO SEA | Đọt Chuối Non

  4. Pingback: “U.N. campaign targets illicit fishing” –Indo-Pacific Defense Forum | Chuck Hill's CG Blog

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