Air and Marine Provides Critical Air Domain Awareness as Part of Operation Safe Return
By Jaime Ruiz
More than 3,000 miles away from the devastation in Haiti, inside of a dim room equipped with massive screens and state-of-the-art radar tracking technologies, a dedicated and highly trained group of enforcement and Field Operations officers at CBP Air and Marine Operations Center in Riverside, Calif. have been working around the clock.
Every minute, every second, 24 hours a day, since the catastrophic earthquake, they track radar data, analyze air traffic reports and provide command and control for the massive flow of aircraft flying in and out of the Caribbean corridor. Unified, they contribute to the CBP Office of Air and Marine's support for Operation Safe Return.
The task is complex, from UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters transporting medical supplies, equipment, and personnel from San Isidro AFB, Dominican Republic to the U.S. Embassy Port-au-Prince, to P-3 Airborne Early Warning Aircraft providing airspace de-confliction and radio relay, AMOC's air space domain ability helps streamline air mobility traffic for OAM missions in Haiti.
AMOC's radars are also providing airspace clearance support for DHC-8 missions. OAM Bombardier Dash 8 has been a critical asset in the airlift of maintenance personnel, medical supplies, and equipment from Puerto Rico and Homestead ARB to San Isidro AFB, Dominican Republic in support of CBP OFO, Department of State and Department of Defense.
When FEMA Regional Response Coordination Center in Atlanta, Ga. requested information regarding flights departing Haiti, Dominican Republic and Guantanamo, the unique capabilities of AMOC in providing radar and flight plan information on every aircraft coming into the United States, made this one-of-a-kind facility the perfect resource.
Every 30 minutes, AMOC provides FEMA a report containing the tail number, departure point, destination, and estimated time of arrival of all military and general aviation flights departing Haiti, Dominican Republic, and Guantanamo, for any or all airports in the United States. This information helps FEMA to stage Disaster Assistance Employees to provide relief to passengers that might be in need.
"The AMOC team is deeply gratified to be able to support Operation Safe Return in conjunction with our DHS partners," said Tony Crowder, director of AMOC. "CBP and OAM are using their core skills to bring humanitarian relief to Haiti. As part of Customs and Border Protection and the Office of Air and Marine, AMOC plays a vital role in the daily security of our nation."
AMOC also provided a report to CBP Office of Field Operations on all commercial, private and military aircraft departing Hispaniola coming in to the United States. The report was used to notify officers at the air ports of entry of the expected arrival of the aircraft from Haiti and Dominican Republic in case any assistance was needed.
Operation Safe Return involves logistics support, personnel transport, airspace de-confliction, flight advisories, flight following communication/radio relay, and Imagery. CBP OAM has responded to this humanitarian crisis with professionalism and compassion.
When every second counts, when a timely response is crucial CBP OAM unified front is committed to continue its mission in bringing air logistics and transportation supporting the victims of the catastrophe.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.