Threat is found in all sorts of places and even in the smallest of places such as small boats. These craft come in all shapes and sizes, from smaller pleasure craft all the way to speedboats, and a thousand other private and commercial platforms. The U.S. Coast Guard and the Department of Homeland Security faces a difficult task in trying to track, control and mitigate the risks posed by the millions of small boats that regularly operate in U.S. waters. Small boats pose a serious threat to U.S. coastlines from possible smuggling of material and terrorists. Now there are efforts being made to install tracking devices on small boats.

The meaning of a “small-boat threat” includes a variety of possible weapon-delivery vehicles, tactics, and payloads. An attack could involve suicide bombers, as in the case of the attack on the USS Cole in 2000 that was harbored in the Yemeni port of Aden. Also, improvised explosive devices could be easily delivered or emplaced by boats or swimmers.

Congress and the Administration should invest in assets that improve the overall security of the maritime domain. In particular, the risk associated with boats is “complex.” Therefore, in order to keep our nation safe, free, and prosperous, Congress must take a long-term view of the small-boats threat.

Some recommendations include:

• Address economic competitiveness
• Insist on programs that best enhance the overall security of the maritime domain
• Invest more in Coast Guard modernization

In order to address the small boat threat, the U.S. should develop plans to improve U.S. situational awareness and protect the sector that serves as a source of enjoyment and work for millions of Americans. Read more in “Small Boats, Big Worries: Thwarting Terrorist Attacks from the Sea.”