The Coast Guard is proud to announce the opening of the solicitation period for nominations of the Rear Admiral Richard E. Bennis Award for Excellence in Maritime Security. Nominations will be accepted until March 31, 2023. This biennial award serves to highlight and recognize outstanding achievements and contributions of the maritime community with regards to implementation of Maritime Transportation Security Act, or MTSA, requirements and other maritime security best practices in safeguarding our nation’s marine transportation system.
This award recognizes organizations demonstrating a true comprehensive culture of security and encourages all regulated organizations to assess their overall security program to identify strengths and weaknesses, seek creative solutions for addressing known risks, build a system of continuous improvement and share best practices that would benefit similar organizations.
Any marine transportation-related organization owning, operating, or otherwise managing vessels, waterfront facilities, fleeting areas, or other entities engaged in maritime operations subject to Coast Guard maritime security regulations from January 2021 through December 2022 is eligible. Award categories are as follows:
- Port Authority of the Year: Any port authority geographically located within the United States (to include U.S. territories) engaged in maritime operations.
- Company of the Year (Large Business – 50 or more employees): Any company with offices located in the United States where at least 25 percent of its fleet called on U.S. ports during the award period, and/or at least 25 percent of its MTSA regulated facilities are geographically located within the United States (to include U.S. territories).
- Company of the Year (Small Business – less than 50 employees): Any company with offices located in the United States where at least 25 percent of its fleet called on U.S. ports during the award period, and/or at least 25 percent of its MTSA regulated facilities are geographically located within the United States (to include U.S. territories).
- Facility of the Year (Large Business – 50 or more employees): Any MTSA regulated facility geographically located within the United States (to include U.S. territories).
- Facility of the Year (Small Business – less than 50 employees): Any MTSA regulated facility geographically located within the United States (to include U.S. territories).
Applications will be evaluated on the following categories:
- Partnerships: How the organization leads, develops, promotes and/or engages via maritime leadership and partnership activities to enhance Maritime Domain Awareness and share information with local, state, and federal agencies and other commercial entities. Additionally, the organization’s ability and efforts to promote supply chain security and contribute to an integrated security system with its customers, vendors and suppliers may be considered. Examples of this include, but are not limited to, participation with the Area Maritime Security Committees, agreements with local response and law enforcement organizations, sharing of best practices with other port operators and incorporating security into contracts with suppliers, service providers, and other business partners.
- People: How the organization instills a “culture of security” with employees throughout all levels of the organization. In other words, how the organization ensures employees understand security policies, appreciate their role in the overall security of the facility, and incorporate that into their everyday responsibilities. Examples of this include, but are not limited to, training programs for security and non-security related personnel, participation in professional security certification programs, drill and exercise programs and review of procedures and policies following any incidents.
- Process: How the organization develops, manages, implements the plans, policies and procedures related to security. This also includes an organization’s ability to respond to changing conditions and continuously evaluate and measure the effectiveness of its security program and respond appropriately. Examples of this include, but are not limited to, quality management programs, 3rd party audits, use of industry standards or guidelines, and adapting to and incorporating new government regulations and policies.
- Physical Security: This category considers factors such as the organization’s innovation, initiative and integration of physical security measures to meet specific security objectives and address identified vulnerabilities. Examples of this include, but are not limited to, effective use of fencing, cameras, alarms, Transportation Worker Identification Credential and other physical security measures designed to safeguard personnel, prevent unauthorized access to equipment, installations, material and documents and to safeguard against terrorism, espionage, sabotage, damage and theft.
- Other Security Activities: This category takes into consideration the spectrum and scope of different security requirements appropriate for the various marine transportation related facilities regulated under MTSA that may not be captured within the other categories. These include but are not limited to such topics as: information and cyber security, promoting seafarers access, balancing security with employee/customer privacy, anti-piracy efforts, and port/facility resiliency and recovery capabilities.
- Applications shall be submitted via email to [email protected] or mailed to: Commandant (CG-FAC) Office of Port and Facility Compliance, ATTN: Rear Admiral Bennis Award, US Coast Guard Stop 7501, 2703 Martin Luther King JR Ave SE, Washington, DC 20593-7501
- Applications will be accepted until March 31, 2023. Awards will be announced in April.
If you have any questions, or comments please contact the program coordinator at [email protected] or call (202) 372-1108.