EVALUATION OF FISHERIES AND OCEANS CANADA / CANADIAN COAST GUARD'S PARTICIPATION IN THE COASTAL MARINE SECURITY OPERATIONS CENTRES (MSOCS)

FINAL REPORT
JANUARY 23, 2015

EVALUATION DIRECTORATE


Table of Contents

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS AND ACRONYMS


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The Evaluation Directorate would like to thank all individuals who provided input to this evaluation of Fisheries and Oceans Canada / Canadian Coast Guard’s Participation in the Coastal Marine Security Operations Centres. In particular, the Directorate acknowledges with gratitude the time and effort of key informants who shared information and opinions during interviews.

ACRONYMS


List of acronyms
ADM Assistant Deputy Minister
AIS Automatic Identification System
C&P Conservation and Protection
CBSA Canada Border Services Agency
CCG Canadian Coast Guard
COA Courses of Action
DFO Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada
DND Department of National Defence
EIL Entity of Interest List
FTE Full-time Equivalent
GLSLS Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway
GOC Government Operations Centre
GoC Government of Canada
HQ Headquarters
I&W Indications and Warnings
IMO International Maritime Organization
IMSWG Interdepartmental Marine Security Working Group
INNAV Information System on Marine Navigation
IOC Initial Operational Capability
IPRB Interdepartmental Project Review Board
IT Information Technology
ITAC Integrated Threat Assessment Centre
KI Key Informant
LRIT Long Range Identification and Tracking
MIDG MSOC Interdepartmental Directors Group
MOU Memorandum of Understanding
MSOC Marine Security Operations Centre
NCR National Capital Region
NOSs National Operating Standards
NRWG National Representatives Working Group
RCMP Royal Canadian Mounted Police
RFI Requests for Information
RPP Report on Plans and Priorities
TC Transport Canada
TRA Threat Risk Assessment
UK United Kingdom
US United States
VEEC Vessels Entering Eastern Canada
VEWC Vessels Entering Western Canada
VMS Vessel Monitoring System

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY


Background

The objective of this evaluation is to assess the relevance and performance of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans/Canadian Coast Guard’s (DFO/CCG) participation in Coastal Marine Security Operations Centres (MSOCs). The evaluation was conducted by the consulting firm Goss Gilroy Inc. between May and October 2014, and covers the period from 2009-2010 through to 2013-2014.

The mission of the overall MSOC project is to generate maritime situational awareness by combining the knowledge and skill sets of the government agencies and departments engaged in, or in support of, marine security.

The MSOC project involves five MSOC partners: DFO, Department of National Defence (DND), Transport Canada (TC), Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), and Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). It operates from MSOC centres that are located at existing DND facilities in Halifax, Nova Scotia and Esquimalt, British Columbia. DFO/CCG contributes to MSOC by collecting and compiling data on maritime traffic from various sensors and databases. These data and value-added maritime expertise and analysis are used by the MSOC partners to enhance risk assessment processes and feed into the development of the National Maritime Picture.  DFO was allocated about $3.3 million each year for its participation in MSOC, for a total allocation of $16.89 million over the five year cycle covered by this evaluation.

The evaluation is based on a document and literature review, as well as key informant interviews (n=15).

Findings

Relevance. There is a continued need for DFO/CCGs participation in the MSOCs to address ongoing risks of vessels conducting illegal activities that can pose a threat to Canadians, Canada’s resources and Canada’s infrastructure. Most of the data and maritime expertise resides within CCG and DFO’s Conservation and Protection (C&P) activity area, and the department’s contribution is viewed as integral by MSOC partners. There is no evidence of overlap or duplication.

MSOCs are aligned with federal government priorities related to safety, security and the protection of Canada’s sovereignty as stated in the Government of Canada’s outcome statements and various Throne Speeches. MSOCs are also part of Canada’s Counter-terrorism Strategy. DFO/CCG’s role in the MSOCs is aligned with DFO’s strategic outcome related to maritime safety and security. It is also consistent with the CCG’s mandate to provide services to support other federal departments as outlined in the Oceans Act.

Performance. DFO/CCG’s participation in the MSOCs is contributing to addressing intended outcomes of the MSOCs. The department provides timely, relevant and comprehensive information and analytical products through scheduled reports and responses to Requests for Information (RFIs). The number of reports and responses has increased dramatically over the last two years. DFO/CCG service standards for timeliness are consistently and successfully met. There is evidence that DFO/CCG information and analysis, integrated with other MSOC resources, has contributed to advance warning and partners’ effective and efficient decision-making to respond to various types of threats. Findings indicate that DFO/CCG-MSOC helped ensure secure waters, increase maritime domain awareness and contribute to a cohesive interdepartmental approach to security surveillance. DFO/CCG’s contribution to the MSOCs has had positive unintended outcomes in terms of leveraging MSOC capabilities to meet other aspects of the departmental mandate. MSOC capacity could be harnessed further to provide additional benefits to external users.

The MSOC’s infrastructure was generally implemented as planned. Implementation challenges included insufficient space for all MSOC partners to be co-located as was envisioned, and challenges with privacy and data sharing. The objectives of the MSOCs have evolved over time, with MSOCs supporting responders dealing with safety, environmental and other issues unrelated to national security.

Governance and accountability with respect to DFO/CCG’s role and participation in the MSOCs is clear and is currently centralized in the sense that staff report to Headquarters. This has facilitated the development of guidelines and standards on how to manage information and process RFIs. At the level of the MSOC project, oversight is provided by an interdepartmental ADM committee. The lack of a more formalized structure has reportedly had a negative impact on some of the decision-making processes for the MSOCs, due to a lack of clear guidelines, directive and priorities from an overarching authority. MSOC would benefit from a single-department governance structure (e.g., to improve information sharing).

DFO/CCG provides performance reports that allow management to monitor the key outputs of the department and the extent to which they meet their delivery targets. Currently, there is no monitoring of the impacts of MSOCs although there is ongoing work to develop a survey of MSOC users. While some lessons learned from specific events have been recorded, there is no formal system to gather lessons learned related to operations.

Overall, the evidence indicates that MSOCs operate efficiently. There are opportunities to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of MSOCs, including improved workspace that would foster stronger teamwork. There is also an opportunity to conduct more outreach activities to improve awareness of MSOCs among responders and information providers.

Recommendations

  1. Evaluation findings indicate that there is currently no monitoring of the impacts of the MSOC initiative. Findings also indicate that there is an opportunity to gather lessons learned in a more systematic fashion. It is recommended that DFO/CCG MSOC complete as planned its implementation of a mechanism to monitor the impacts of MSOCs. It is also recommended that a formal mechanism be implemented to gather lessons learned on specific challenges that may occur during MSOC operations.
  2. Evaluation findings have revealed the need for a more formal overarching MSOC governance structure to provide clear guidelines, directive and priorities. It is recommended that, through DFO/CCG representation on the Interdepartmental MSOC Policy Working Group, governance options and recommendations be developed for the approval of ADMs in order to establish a clear MSOC Governance Structure.
  3. The evaluation found that there is an opportunity to conduct more outreach activities to improve awareness of MSOCs among responders and information providers. It is recommended that an outreach strategy be developed by DFO/CCG MSOC to inform internal and external response agencies and potential information-providers, including CCG and C&P staff, about the MSOCs and their roles in maritime awareness.

1. INTRODUCTION


The purpose of this document is to present the findings from an evaluation of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans/Canadian Coast Guard’s (DFO/CCG) participation in and contribution to the Coastal Marine Security Operations Centres (MSOCs). The evaluation examines the relevance and performance of DFO/CCG’s participation in MSOCs.  The evaluation was conducted by the consulting firm Goss Gilroy Inc. between May and October 2014, and covers the period from 2009-2010 through to 2013-2014.

The remainder of this document is organized as follows: Section 2 provides background information in the form of an MSOC program profile and logic model. Section 3 describes the evaluation scope and methodology. Section 4 presents the findings, followed by the conclusions and recommendations in Section 5. A detailed evaluation matrix and a list of the main documents reviewed can be found in the appendices.

2. PROGRAM PROFILE AND LOGIC MODEL


2.1 PROGRAM OVERVIEW1

Canada's National Security Policy, Securing an Open Society: Canada's National Security Policy (2004) provided federal government direction to strengthen transportation security. One of the key elements of the Transportation Security chapter of the National Security Policy was the inclusion of a plan to strengthen marine security by establishing Marine Security Operations Centres (MSOCs). The National Security Policy advocated an integrated approach to addressing security issues across government and provided a strategic framework and action plan designed to ensure that Canada is prepared for, and has the capacity to respond to, current and future threats.

The MSOC mission is to generate maritime situational awareness by combining the knowledge and skill sets of the government agencies and departments engaged in, or in support of, marine security. It will accomplish this through the collection, integration and analysis of the information sources of partner agencies and departments thereby assisting in the detection, assessment and support of a coordinated response to a marine security threat, incident, or significant marine event that could affect the safety, security, environment or economy of Canada.  While MSOCs were originally established for maritime security purposes, they have evolved incrementally and now fulfill a much broader purpose. The vast majority of MSOC activities, in fact, support partners’ broader mandates, including law enforcement, customs and immigration and regulatory enforcement, as well as mandates beyond those of the five partners.

The MSOC project was established in 2005 with an Ottawa-based Project Office charged with implementing the coastal MSOC capability, as well as integrating, testing and installing a technical solution. The Coastal MSOC project is delineated by three milestones:

  • Initial Operational Capability Phase 1 (completed in 2009, providing renovated accommodations including improved access to individual/departmental unclassified networks);
  • Phase 2 (2010-2013, introducing common designated and secret networks and an Integrated Information Environment within further renovated space in existing infrastructure, having access to marine security information); and
  • Full Operational Capability (expected in 2014).

The coastal MSOCs are located at existing Department of National Defence (DND) facilities in Halifax, Nova Scotia and Esquimalt, British Columbia2 and represent a new and unique level of integration and co-operation between government departments and agencies with an interest in maritime security, and bring together civilian and military interagency staff. Partners include:

  • DND;
  • Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA);
  • DFO / CCG;
  • Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP); and
  • Transport Canada (TC).

The Coastal MSOCs are administratively led by DND. Post-Full Operational Capability, a Capability Management Organization will be responsible for the management and support of MSOC capability moving forward.


1 The text in Section 2 is drawn from: Government of Canada. The Marine Security Operations Centres Project Performance Measurement Strategy, 2013 and the Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Maritime Security Performance Measurement Strategy, 2012.

2 An MSOC, led by the RCMP, was later established in the Great Lakes region, the Great Lakes - St. Lawrence Seaway (GLSLS) MSOC, on July 31, 2005.

2.2 DFO/CCG ROLE

CCG, a Special Operating Agency of DFO, is the departmental lead for maritime security within DFO. As the owner/operator of Canada’s civilian federal government maritime fleet, CCG is mandated by the Oceans Act to provide support to other federal government departments including support for the realization of Canada’s maritime security priorities. CCG provides on-water platform capacity, maritime expertise and maritime-related information to federal enforcement and intelligence communities. 

DFO/CCG contributes to MSOC by collecting and compiling data on maritime traffic from various sensors such as radar, vessel-reporting regimes, Automatic Identification System (AIS), Long Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) and information collected by Conservation and Protection (C&P) aerial surveillance flights and Vessel Monitoring System (VMS). These data and value-added maritime expertise and analysis are used by the MSOC partners to enhance risk assessment processes and feed into the development of the National Maritime Picture. Through the MSOC, departmental representatives enhance their understanding of real or potential threats to Canada’s maritime security through the collection, analysis and dissemination of accurate, coherent and timely information.

In support of national security, DFO/CCG is committed to activities such as:

  • Collaborating with and enhancing working relationships with other agencies and departments in support of maritime and national security operations, as well as policy and regulatory development;
  • Contributing to Canada’s maritime domain awareness through the sharing of information collected from existing programs.  As mentioned above, these include Marine Communications and Traffic Service’s vessel traffic management system sensors (RADAR, AIS, radio positions reports), LRIT, DFO’s aerial surveillance program and VMS and information provided through CCG Fleet on-water presence;
  • Supporting on-water enforcement and responsiveness by providing well-equipped crews and vessels on an on-going basis, as is the case with the RCMP/CCG Marine Security Enforcement Teams, and on a contingency event basis (i.e., the 2010 Olympics/ Paralympics); and
  • Leveraging DFO’s aerial surveillance program to gather information and produce intelligence on the activities of vessels operating off Canada’s coasts.

Since 2011, CCG has maintained a 24/7 presence in both Coastal MSOCs. Information is shared through a secure information exchange environment that includes comprehensive procedures and established protocols. A suite of National Operating Standards have been developed to support Centre operations including, for example, notification procedures, performance reporting and training and staffing.

2.3 PARTNERS AND STAKEHOLDERS

2.3.1  MSOC Partners

For each partner, the following responsibilities within the MSOC program have been identified:

  • DND. DND’s role is generally to provide relevant and credible capacity to meet the defence and security commitments of Canada. Specifically related to the MSOC initiative, DND’s commitments are as follows:
    • Sharing all related information with the core partners as required and permitted under law;
    • Leading the development of the National Maritime Picture; and
    • Supporting and managing the facilities and infrastructure necessary for the operations of the MSOC.
  • TC. TC generally has a leadership and coordination role in the maritime security domain. Specifically related to the MSOC program, TC’s commitments are as follows:
    • Vessel targeting;
    • Sharing and contributing intelligence products (i.e., marine intelligence reports) to other core partners on potential threats and trends relating to Canada’s marine transportation system and the global domain;
    • Providing Vessels Entering Eastern and Western Canada (VEEC and VEWC) Lists for the National Maritime Picture; and
    • Identifying any trends in maritime security informed, in part, by information received from other core partners.
  • RCMP. The RCMP’s general role in relation to Canadian marine security is to enforce the laws that deal with national security, organized crime, and other federal statutes such as those involving smuggling, illegal drugs and immigration. The development of intelligence products related to criminal intelligence in support of Border Integrity and substantive investigative units, for example, RCMP drug sections, is the primary role of the RCMP, while National Security is a secondary role. Specifically related to the MSOC program, the RCMP’s commitments are as follows:
    • To use information from MSOC to support their Border Integrity programs;
    • To provide, on a case-by-case basis, information and/or intelligence to other core partners within the MSOC.
  • CBSA. The CBSA is responsible for providing integrated border services that support national security and public safety priorities and facilitate the free flow of persons and goods, including animals and plants that meet all requirements under the program legislation. Specifically related to the MSOC program, the CBSA’s commitments are as follows:
    • The provision of intelligence functions in support of the CBSA mandate and to provide where appropriate, a contribution to the MSOC mandate in support of Maritime Domain Awareness for Canada;
    • To provide information and/or intelligence to other core partners within the MSOC as legally and situationally appropriate;
    • To provide CBSA Headquarters and Regional Headquarters, with marine intelligence products derived from the collaboration of core partners in the MSOC Initiative; and
    • To develop and deliver an Outreach Program to educate and inform regional and national CBSA marine operational and intelligence units on the MSOC initiative and to encourage the active exchange of information/intelligence.

2.3.2  DFO/CCG Departmental Stakeholders

A number of key departmental program partners, including CCG Headquarters Operations, Integrated Technical Services, and DFO C&P work to assist DFO/CCG meet its MSOC commitments.

2.4 BENEFICIARIES

2.4.1  Primary Beneficiaries

Direct beneficiaries of DFO/CCG’s contribution to the MSOCs are the MSOC partners, and the primary audiences for MSOC products are their regional operations staff. Another direct beneficiary is the Government Operations Centre (GOC), Department of Public Safety through communications arising with the MSOC partners. The GOC is informed of developing marine situations ensuring that the Department of Public Safety is updated from a national security/organized crime perspective via its participating agencies (CBSA/RCMP), which will in turn feed into Government of Canada strategic decisions in these areas.

At another level, any federal department or agency with marine security responsibilities, such as the 17 member departments of the Interdepartmental Marine Security Working Group (IMSWG) will benefit at a direct or indirect level depending upon the situation at hand and their level of interaction with the MSOC partners.

As well, depending upon their level of interaction, other organizations could benefit indirectly from the DFO/CCG’s contribution to the MSOC program. These include: Emergency Preparedness Units, provincial/municipal authorities, allies such as the U.S. Coast Guard, local Port Authorities, or any other organization that is designated as the lead organization necessary for a maritime response. Other RCMP initiatives that have linkages to the MSOC Initiative could benefit such as the National Waterside Security Coordination Program, and Marine Security Enforcement Teams and the National Ports Enforcement Teams of which CBSA is also a member.

2.4.2    Other Beneficiaries

Other groups that could benefit from DFO/CCG’s contribution to MSOCs include federal departments or agencies not involved in national security issues. For example, Public Health Agency of Canada and Environment Canada may receive information necessary for a tactical response to a potential pandemic or environmental threat, working closely with the lead agency/department on a case-by-case basis.

Additionally, the security and intelligence community in Canada and the Five Eyes3 will benefit from the strategic intelligence products produced collaboratively by the MSOC.

Finally, the Government of Canada and its citizens benefit from contributions to enhanced marine peace, security and stability made by the MSOC program. More specifically, these could include Canadian communities and industries affected by marine security.


3 Alliance comprising Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.

2.5 GOVERNANCE

The MSOC project uses a horizontal governance structure which requires consensus among the five core partner departments/agencies. The three key inter-departmental governance bodies are:

  • Interdepartmental Project Review Board (IPRB) consists of Directors General, or their delegates, from each of the MSOC core partners, as well as a representative from Public Safety Canada and a representative from the Treasury Board Secretariat. The role of the IPRB is to provide strategic guidance to the MSOC program in order to address issues that are inter-agency or policy related.
  • National Representatives Working Group (NRWG) consists of management representatives from each of the MSOC core partners and a representative from Public Safety Canada. The role of the NRWG is to provide guidance on those issues that affect the MSOC program day-to-day activities.
  • Finally, from a whole-of-government perspective, a key element of Canada’s multi-agency approach to strengthening maritime security is the aforementioned IMSWG. Chaired by TC and including representatives from each of the MSOC core partners, the IMSWG is a forum for identifying federal government actions in support of the Government of Canada’s maritime security program, as well as facilitating cooperation amongst members. The IMSWG is not an MSOC program governing body, but is influential in establishing Canada’s maritime security priorities and as such may affect policies applicable to MSOC.

Individual MSOC core partners manage their respective aspects (financial, staffing etc.) of the program.

2.6 RESOURCES

For each MSOC, eight CCG FTEs and four DFO (C&P) FTEs are allocated. In addition, DFO/CCG headquarters staff  (one FTE) provides policy support and coordination. The overall cost of the implementation phase of the MSOC project (2010-11 to 2014-15) is $239,130,470. This includes overall operating costs of the project of $119,515,906 and capital costs of $119,614,564.

Resources for DFO/CCG are summarized below. The department was allocated about $3.3 million each year for a total allocation of $16.89 million over the five year cycle covered by the evaluation. Ongoing funding to the department has been established at the same level. Actual expenditures were below budget between 2010-2011 and 2012-2013. Further discussion about budgeted and actual expenditures appears in the findings section (under performance).

Table 1 : DFO/CCG MSOC Resources Vote 1 Operating Expenditures

Table 1
  2010-2011 2011-2012 2012-2013 2013-2014 2014-2015 Totals
Budget            
Personnel $1,838,739 $1,982,241 $1,835,097 $1,835,097 $1,835,097 $9,326,271
O&M $888,791 $1,458,791 $1,116,001 $1,116,001 $1,116,001 $5,695,585
EBP $367,748 $396,449 $367,019 $367,019 $367,019 $1,865,254
Total $3,095,278 $3,837,481 $3,318,117 $3,318,117 $3,318,117 $16,887,110
Expenditures $2,395,053 $2,637,480 $3,084,117 $3,318,117 --  

Source: DFO Financial Information

2.7 LOGIC MODEL

The anticipated results chain for the MSOC program as a whole is depicted in the logic model shown in the following exhibit. The logic model presents the causal linkages between the primary activities, the results they are intended to achieve, and how these results contribute to the enhanced marine transportation security outlined in the National Security Policy through this horizontal initiative.

Figure B-1 : MSOC Initiative Logic Model

Logic Model

3. EVALUATION SCOPE AND METHODOLOGY


3.1 PURPOSE AND SCOPE OF THE EVALUATION

The evaluation addresses a Treasury Board requirement to evaluate the DFO-CCG participation in MSOC. A risk assessment conducted for the purposes of funding approvals indicated the overall risk for the MSOC project has been assessed as high. Risk factors are:

  1. Cost. Unanticipated customization of products may result in higher implementation and in-service support costs.  Mitigation: continuous planning regime and allocation of contingency funds.
  2. Schedule, due to the need for coordination of approval from multiple departments, changes in core partners’ departmental representatives, revisions and or development MSOC processes. Mitigation: detailed program oversight regime, detailed definition activities throughout life of the project.
  3. Legal, due to issues of mandate and exchange of information across departments. Mitigation: review by Interdepartmental Marine Security working group legal committee.
  4. Technical and procurement requirement for integrated information environment and information exploitation capability solutions unlikely to come from single supplier. Project deliverables will require development and testing, which then must achieve interdepartmental certification and accreditation for use in the MSOC prior to being fielded. Mitigation: contract for a consortium of consultants with the required skills set, knowledge and experience.

In this context, the evaluation of DFO/CCG’s participation in MSOC examines the following two areas as per the 2009 Treasury Board Policy on Evaluation:

  • Relevance: The extent to which DFO/CCG’s participation in the MSOC addresses a continued need, is aligned with government and departmental priorities, and is aligned with federal roles and responsibilities; and
  • Performance: The extent to which DFO/CCG’s participation in the MSOC has achieved its expected outcomes, and demonstrates efficiency and economy.

The evaluation covers the period from 2009-2010 through to 2013-2014.

3.2 EVALUATION ISSUES AND QUESTIONS

The core evaluation issues and questions that guided the evaluation are outlined below4.

Core Issues to be Addressed in Evaluations
Relevance
Issue #1: Continued Need for program Assessment of the extent to which the program continues to address a demonstrable need and is responsive to the needs of Canadians
Issue #2: Alignment with Government Priorities Assessment of the linkages between program objectives and (i) federal government priorities and (ii) departmental strategic outcomes
Issue #3: Alignment with Federal Roles and Responsibilities Assessment of the role and responsibilities for the federal government in delivering the program
Performance (effectiveness, efficiency and economy)
Issue #4: Achievement of Expected Outcomes Assessment of progress toward expected outcomes (incl. immediate, intermediate and ultimate outcomes) with reference to performance targets and program reach, program design, including the linkage and contribution of outputs to outcomes
Issue #5: Demonstration of Efficiency and Economy Assessment of resource utilization in relation to the production of outputs and progress toward expected outcomes

The evaluation matrix is presented in Appendix A.


4 Treasury Board (2009) Directive on the Evaluation Function

3.3 METHODOLOGY

This evaluation adopted a theory-based approach whereby program performance was measured against intended results articulated in the program logic model. The chosen design was able to demonstrate the extent to which the program is achieving issues of relevance, efficiency and economy. The analytical methods used for this evaluation were tailored to the nature and availability of the data which were in turn linked to the evaluation questions. When feasible, triangulation was undertaken as an analytical method, where multiple lines of evidence helped corroborate findings. At the very least, one-off findings were validated through follow-up interviews.

3.3.1  Lines of Evidence

The evaluation of DFO/CCG’s participation in the MSOCs was based on multiple lines of evidence:

Document Review and Focused Literature Review

Program documentation and additional departmental and Government of Canada policy and priorities materials were reviewed to develop a sound understanding of the MSOC initiative and to address evaluation questions related to program relevance and performance. Documents were reviewed systematically using an electronic template organized by evaluation question and indicator.

Administrative Data Review

Administrative data includes performance and financial data which were analyzed also using an electronic template organized by evaluation question. A data assessment was conducted to ensure that data were free of apparent errors and outliers. Information from the administrative data review and financial data review were organized into summary tables.

Key Informant Interviews

In total, 15 key informant (KI) interviews were conducted, which is a key source of evidence to address all evaluation question. Respondents were selected to obtain representation from key MSOC partners, as well as respondents working within and outside of the MSOC centres. There were two groups of key informants:

  • DFO (C&P)/CCG staff assigned to the MSOCs and National Capital Region (NCR)  management team/policy area representatives (n= 12); and
  • External (to the MSOCs) representatives from DFO/CCG (e.g., Fleet) and MSOC partner departments (DND, RCMP, CBSA) (n=3).

All interviews were conducted in the official language of choice of the respondent. All key informant interview evidence was summarized according to the evaluation questions and by respondent group.

The key informant interviews were analyzed using qualitative techniques, focusing mostly on factual information that supports views and opinions. When reporting findings, the evaluation team used the following scale:

  • Some/minority of respondents: Less than 50%
  • Half of respondents: 50% of respondents
  • Most: 50% to 80% of respondents
  • Strong majority: 80% of respondents or more

However, in some instances, only a few respondents could provide answers to specific questions due to their status (e.g., questions about overall governance issues were not asked of staff involved strictly in MSOC operations). In these situations, the evaluation team did not refer to proportions of respondents. Rather, findings were confirmed through follow-up interviews and searches to ensure robust results.

3.3.2  Limitations

There are two key limitations to this evaluation:

  • Most of the evidence was gathered through a limited set of interviews with DFO and other government respondents. Mitigation: findings from interviews were validated with documentation and follow-up interviews.
  • The fact that MSOCs will only soon reach full operational capability prohibited the evaluation team from assessing the longer term successes of MSOCs. While there are short-term successes and challenges reported, as MSOCs become better known by responders and partners, it is likely that the impacts of MSOC will expand to a much wider range as documented in this report. Mitigation: the evaluation focused on operational issues and short term outcomes. Only the likelihood of longer-term outcomes is assessed.

Finally, it should be mentioned that while this evaluation is intended to focus on DFO/CCG’s participation in the MSOCs, the impact of the MSOCs are the result of the work of five participating partners (DFO, RCMP, DND, TC, CBSA) and in some instances, it was not possible (or advisable) to untangle the roles and contribution of each of the partners.  The intent was not to evaluate the role of the other partners but rather to better explain the linkages between DFO/CCG’s contribution and the results of the MSOCs.

4. FINDINGS


4.1 RELEVANCE

4.1.1  Is there a continued need for DFO/CCG's participation in the MSOCs?

Key Findings

There is evidence that there is a continued need for DFO/CCGs participation in the MSOCs. There is an ongoing risk of vessels conducting illegal activities that can pose a threat to Canadians, and Canada's resources and infrastructure. As there is no single best source of monitoring data about vessels and vessel activity, there is a need for a structure such as the coastal MSOCs to provide an integrated approach to access, analyze and provide information related to vessel activity. As most of the maritime data and expertise resides within DFO (CCG and C&P), there is an ongoing need for DFO/CCG involvement in the MSOCs. There is no evidence of duplication between DFO/CCG's participation in the MSOCs and other security initiatives and data sources.

With three oceans bordering a large mass of land, Canada is listed as the country with the longest coastline in the world (202,080 km), which places a particular importance on maritime security. Canada’s ocean estate covers a surface area of approximately 7.1 million square kilometers. This represents an area equivalent to about 70 percent of Canada's land mass. About 0.5 million vessels use Canadian waters every year for commercial, non-commercial and government purposes. As explained by government respondents, the extent of Canada’s coastline and ocean estate, which offers numerous entry-points for those with illegal intentions, places the country at risk.

The risk level associated with this geographical reality became more of a concern after the terrorist event in September 2001. Following the September 2001 attack and subsequent events (e.g., most recently terrorist threats from the Middle East), the federal government developed a number of initiatives to reinforce Canada’s security, including the National Security Policy (2004). As part of the Policy, a plan was developed to strengthen marine security. At the time, a number of deficiencies in Canada’s marine security existed and required attention. These included the absence of an overall framework for marine security, as well as lack of clarity in roles and responsibilities among the various actors involved.5  The federal government responded to the need for increased collaboration to support maritime security by announcing the creation of the MSOCs in the 2004 National Security Policy. 

Interview respondents for this evaluation explained the nature of the risk which includes vessels carrying illegal merchandise that can pose a threat to Canadians and Canada’s infrastructure and vessels conducting illegal activities that can pose a threat to Canadians and Canada’s resources. Examples include vessels carrying illegal goods/immigrants and vessels conducting illegal fishing activities. While vessels do not move as fast as aircraft, they are present in large numbers in the vast bodies of water bordering Canada.

The size of the area poses particular challenges in terms of monitoring. Many systems and sources of information can be used for monitoring purposes. It was explained that prior to the creation of MSOCs, several systems were maintained and used by various government bodies, including DND and DFO. Today, several data and information systems provide information related to surface vessels and shipping activity, including:

  • The AIS, which is an automatic tracking system used for identifying and locating vessels. AIS allows ships and other authorities to view marine traffic in their area and to be seen by that traffic.
  • The LRIT system was established through regulation by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in 2006. According to this IMO regulation6, the following ships must report their position in international voyages through LRIT:  all passenger ships including high-speed craft, cargo ships, including high-speed craft of 300 gross tonnage and above, and mobile offshore drilling units. Positions are reported through a satellite communications system.
  • The Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS) provide data to environmental and fisheries regulatory organizations to monitor the position, course and speed of fishing vessels.  VMS is based on technology on board vessels which periodically sends information, usually by satellite, to a monitoring station ashore.

DFO/CCG uses the Information System on Marine Navigation (INNAV), an information system that seamlessly collects, processes, displays, distributes and stores an expanding array of information. It should also be mentioned that DND, DFO, CCG and other stakeholders can potentially provide information through various other sources, including on water observations vessels in operation, aerial surveillance, documentation and files, and port staff.

Interview respondents explained that when the MSOCs were created, there was a clear need to establish a structure to gather and analyze information from these disparate sources. Many respondents from DFO and DND explained that each information has its strengths and weaknesses, depending on the type of vessel, vessel location and type of information requested. Data quality will vary (e.g., level of precision versus frequency of updates) depending on the system. In addition, no single department can provide all sources of information from the above systems. Each department also brings in specific expertise to interpret the data and identify threats, as well as a network of information sources, such as observation reports from CCG Fleet. There was therefore a need to create an environment that would enable access to these various information sources, and that could involve some of the key users of the information, including DND and RCMP. 

The MSOC Project involved the implementation of MSOCs (East and West), where co-located staff from partner respondents (DND, DFO, CBSA, RCMP and TC) can work together to access and track information from the various information systems. Interview respondents mentioned that response agencies need the best information available and analytical expertise to analyze this information to meet their mandates.

Most respondents also mentioned that the purpose of the MSOCs has evolved far beyond its initial mandate. As explained earlier, the MSOC project was created to integrate various data sources and expertise to monitor the oceans for security reasons. However, it was later recognized that the quality and richness of the data/expertise could be used for other purposes, including threats that are not related to terrorism, including safety. DFO, RCMP, CBSA and other federal stakeholders have used the MSOCs for a variety of purposes related to their mandates that are beyond national security.  These response agencies need MSOCs to locate specific vessels, and receive information from MSOCs when abnormal vessel activity is detected.

About DFO specifically, there is a need for its participation in MSOCs as it is recognized that DFO/CCG is well-positioned to provide valuable information and expertise. DFO currently provides most of the data that is the basis of the MSOC data integration (DND and DFO respondents estimate that 80% of the National Maritime Picture system used by MSOC comes from DFO/CCG). DFO has also provided analytical expertise to the MSOC centres. For example, MSOCs receive information from TC about expected vessel activity in each of the maritime areas (large vessels are required to report their expected trajectories). MSOCs compare the expected vessel activity with what is detected by the systems. When discrepancies (anomalies) are detected, CCG expertise and knowledge is useful to identify likely threat or non-threat situations.

Overlap/Duplication

Interview respondents were asked if the MSOC project and DFO/CCG’s participation in the MSOCs duplicate or overlap other activities or centres of information. The vast majority of respondents agreed that there are no other centres or single information sources that duplicate MSOCs. Some mentioned that MSOCs actually prevent duplication as it brings all information sources and expertise together in co-located centres. Only one respondent mentioned that MSOCs potentially duplicate the efforts of the Integrated Threat Assessment Centre (ITAC). However, the same respondent said that RCMP and DND liaises with this group. Another respondent said that staff at DND, TC and RCMP also conduct aerial surveillance within their organizations, but only for their own purposes/mandates.  Most DFO/CCG respondents indicated that there are no other initiatives within the department that duplicate the contribution to MSOCs. In fact, MSOCs have linkages with various DFO components (CCG, Fisheries Enforcement, etc.) to gather or provide information.

As for the availability of alternative sources of information provided by DFO/CCG, there are reportedly some commercial sources of information that each department could use directly, but all respondents agreed that these sources are either incomplete or not updated as frequently as the information contributed by DFO/CCG to the MSOCs.


5 Strategic Overview Of The Marine Security Operations Centres Concept Of Operations For Initial Operational Capability (IOC), 2007

6 SOLAS regulation V/19-1

4.1.2  Is DFO/CCG’s participation in the MSOC’s aligned with federal priorities?

Key Findings

DFO/CCG’s role in the MSOCs is aligned with Canada’s priorities and DFO/CCG’s strategic outcomes related to security. It is also part of Canada’s Counter-terrorism Strategy.

Based on the documentation reviewed, MSOCs are aligned with federal priorities. The Government of Canada’s 16 outcomes areas include “A safe and secure Canada” (under social affairs), which specifies that the federal program activities aim to maintain the safety and security of Canada and its citizens through crime prevention, law enforcement, the securing of Canadian borders, and emergency preparedness.  MSOC’s objectives related to maritime security can be directly linked to this outcome area, as well as its broader mandate related to law enforcement and customs and immigration enforcement. Multiple Throne Speeches have mentioned that safety and the protection of Canada’s sovereignty was a priority for the Government of Canada, including speeches in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014.

MSOCs are also formally part of Canada’s Counter-terrorism Strategy7. The strategy indicates that an effective approach to counter-terrorism requires that the intelligence resulting from collection and analysis activities be shared promptly with those who need it. In this context, the Strategy specifically mentions that the purpose of MSOCs is to collect and share information on the marine environment to support and enhance maritime domain awareness.

DFO/CCG’s role in the MSOCs is aligned with DFO/CCG’s stated priorities and expected outcomes. DFO/CCG’s priorities are described in the department’s Reports on Plans and Priorities (RPPs). According to the 2014-2015 RPP8, DFO/CCG’s expected outcomes include “Safe and Secure Waters” (strategic outcome 3 of Program Alignment Architecture). According to the RPP, DFO/CCG’s primary goal is “to maintain and improve maritime safety and security by ensuring safe navigation throughout Canadian waters. In doing so, the Department also seeks to balance the demand for safe navigation with the responsibilities of providing responsible environmental stewardship and contributing to Canada’s Northern sovereignty”. The RPP also states that DFO/CCG contributes to maritime safety through the provision of maritime infrastructure, information, products, and services necessary to ensure safe navigation and the protection of life and property. The document further mentions that DFO/CCG is often relied upon to support security and law enforcement activities.  The RPP specifically mentions that “departmental personnel in Canada’s Marine Security Operations Centres access information systems and use their expertise to identify and assess potential threats on Canada’s waters”.


7 http://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/pblctns/rslnc-gnst-trrrsm/index-eng.aspx#s7

8 http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/rpp/2014-15/SO3/so-rs-3-eng.html

4.1.3  Are the MSOCs aligned with federal roles and responsibilities?

Key Findings

Documentation indicates that MSOCs are aligned with federal roles and responsibilities as outlined in DFO/CCG’s RPP and the Oceans Act.

Federal government documentation confirms that DFO/CCG’s role in the MSOCs is aligned with DFO/CCG’s roles and responsibilities. According to the DFO/CCG RPP (2014-15), DFO/CCG’s mission statement is the following: Through sound science, forward-looking policy, and operational and service excellence, Fisheries and Oceans Canada employees work collaboratively toward the following strategic outcomes: Economically Prosperous Maritime Sectors and Fisheries; Sustainable Aquatic Ecosystems; and Safe and Secure Waters. In the roles and responsibilities statement of DFO/CCG’s RPP, it is specified that these include maritime security provided by CCG.

The RPP also specifies that the legal basis or authority for the Maritime Security program is found primarily in the Oceans Act. The Act states that the CCG has a mandate to support departments, boards and agencies of the Government of Canada through the provision of ships, aircraft and other marine services. This would include the provision of information and advice to MSOCs for the purposes of DND (safety and Canadian sovereignty), as stated in the MSOC’s original mandate. However, as mentioned earlier, MSOC information has been used in many more areas, including marine safety, which is directly linked to DFO/ CCG’s mandate.

4.2 PERFORMANCE


4.2.1  To what extent have intended immediate, intermediate and long-term outcomes been achieved?

The evaluation examined the extent to which the program has achieved its expected outcomes.

Key Findings

DFO/CCG's participation in the MSOCs addressed the intended immediate outcomes of providing timely, relevant and comprehensive information and analytical products. DFO/CCG service standards for scheduled reports and responses to requests for information (RFIs) from MSOC partners are consistently and successfully met. There appears to be a growing demand for DFO/CCG data and MSOCs services to assist response agencies address risks, including responses to security, safety, non-terrorist security and environmental risks and events. In terms of intermediate outcomes, there are many examples where DFO/CCG information and analysis, integrated with other MSOC resources has contributed to advance warning and partners effective and efficient decision-making to respond to various types of threats. Finally, findings indicate that DFO/CCG-MSOC helped ensure secure waters, increase maritime domain awareness and contribute to a cohesive interdepartmental approach to security surveillance.

Immediate Outcome Information and Analytical Products

As noted above, DFO/CCG contribute significant data to develop the MSOC National Maritime Picture using a variety of sensors, including automated on-board and satellite-based sources, aerial surveillance and observation on the water. These data are compiled and analyzed by CCG analysts located 24/7 on the MSOC ‘watchfloor’ in the form of scheduled reports (daily, weekly) and responses to RFIs from partners.  These data are compiled for vessel identification and tracking, and analyzed to distinguish “normal” or suspicious vessel behaviour.

Documentary sources and key informant views agree that DFO/CCG participation in the MSOCs has contributed important sources of data to MSOCs, leading to high-quality and integrated MSOC intelligence products. Specifically, based on performance data assembled by DFO/CCG, the department provides or contributes to thousands of scheduled reports each year for MSOC partners. The number of scheduled reports delivered in 2013-14 was 9,762 compared to 5,533 in 2012-13 (an increase of over 40%), the majority delivered by the East Coast MSOC. Virtually all scheduled reports were delivered on time.

Table 2: Scheduled Reports: Performance Measures Summary

Table 2
2012-13
  # of scheduled reports # delivered on time Percentage
Q1 1147 1147 100%
Q2 1323 1298 98%
Q3 1796 1780 99%
Q4 1267 1267 100%
Total 5533 5492 99%
2013-14
  # of scheduled reports # delivered on time Percentage
Q1 2276 2204 97%
Q2 2213 2201 99.5%
Q3 2624 2608 99.4%
Q4 2649 2559 96.6%
Total 9762 9572 98%

Source: MSOC Performance data

In addition to scheduled reports, DFO/CCG responds to RFIs (requests for information) from their MSOC partners (most frequently by DND), as well as external parties from time to time. The number of RFIs has increased dramatically over the two years for which data were available: from 1,719 in 2012-13 to 5,152 in 2013-14 (again, the majority delivered by the East Coast MSOC) (see Figure 1 ). DFO/CCG performance data also show that RFIs are responded to consistently in a timely fashion – almost 100 per cent of RFIs receive a response within 30 minutes which is the current service standard. In key informant interviews, partners confirm that DFO/CCG has been very responsive in meeting their needs, supplying positional information and expertise.

Figure 1: Responding to Requests for Information: Performance Measures Summary (2012-2014)

Figure 1

Source: MSOC Performance data

With respect to accessibility, all scheduled reports and responses to RFI’s are provided under a data sharing protocol that was established through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) among the MSOC partners. Data elements accessible for partners have been identified and while partners generally feel DFO/CCG has contributed well to support MSOC partners, data sharing remains a challenge (discussed in more detail in the section dealing with efficiency).

According to key informants and mentioned above, DFO/CCG data are estimated to represent 80 to 90 per cent of the data that are used in the National Maritime Picture. In fact, a common theme among DFO/CCG key informants was that they were surprised how much the department had to offer the MSOC partners to meet their security mandates, given that the department does not have a regulatory or criminal enforcement mandate, and has had limited intelligence gathering capacity. Depending on where the vessels are located and the type of vessels, some systems will be better than others for tracking purposes, and there are strengths and limitations associated with each of these systems. However, it is the totality of the information and the expertise in interpreting data and understanding the maritime environment – local coastal waters and ports – which is considered a key contribution. Partners agree that DFO/CCG data is integral to the MSOC analytical and intelligence products.

Intermediate Outcome – Advance Warning and Decision-making

The DFO/CCG role in the MSOCs is a supportive one, providing information on vessels, typically within 96 hours of arrival in a Canadian port. Other MSOC partner departments such as RCMP, CBSA and TC assume the leadership role in tactical response and enforcement according to their mandate. This is also the case for C&P as they are responsible for fisheries enforcement. According to one key informant, DFO/CCG has been an active contributor for every threat that has been assessed by the MSOCs, contributing to situational awareness. As mentioned previously, while initially established to address threats to national security, the MSOCs have since evolved to address situations involving various kinds of threats such as illegal immigration, transportation of illegal or dangerous goods and environmental interventions. 

The quality of the intelligence depends on the type of information that is of interest. For example, information for cargo ships and large fishing vessels through automated tracking systems is very good, while information for recreational vehicles is less complete, given the private nature of these vessels. However, the consolidation across data sources and incorporation of partner data, where available in picture format, has improved the quality of the information and maritime awareness according to most.

According to key informants, the vessel identification and positioning information, as well as DFO/CCG intelligence and maritime experience provided value added in the MSOC decision-making process by:

  • Providing information that allows MSOC partners time to respond through advance warning and tracking of vessel location and movements;
  • Efficient and effective deployment of assets to respond to potential threats based on knowledge of the position of vessels/ level of risk; and
  • Knowledge of vessel history and capability to develop an effective response strategy to the situation.

In addition to the examples noted above, key informants also noted the following illustrative impacts of MSOCs on decision-making:

  • CCG Environmental Response relied on MSOCs for information and analysis about a shipwreck that was leaking oil. Integrated data supplied by the MSOC based on information available from a sister ship allowed CCG to develop a strategy to assess the situation.
  • In the case of a vessel carrying irregular migrants, DFO/CCG data allows partners the time for advance preparation to respond - e.g., tracking of vessel movements, identification of vessels capable of an on-ocean rendezvous. DFO/CCG also contributes an understanding of the local coast and, if the irregular migrant vessel enters the harbour, what are the issues that MSOC security partners should be aware of (e.g., fishing activity, vessels, nets).
  • Fisheries data with vessel history allowed partners to undertake enforcement actions against vessels that landed in a foreign country but did not report in (a requirement under the Act administered by CBSA).
  • There was a missing person situation on one of the coasts where the MSOC played a role in using vessel information to locate the vessel in port where the individual was residing. Within hours, the missing person was located by the RCMP.
  • In Newfoundland, RCMP was looking for a fishing vessel carrying several tons of hashish coming from North Africa. The vessel was intercepted using MSOC information.
  • A vessel from the U.S. was known to be carrying illegal immigrants. With MSOC information, the RCMP could accurately estimate the time of arrival in Canada and use this information to coordinate a timely intervention as the vessel entered the port (see box).

Final and Ultimate Outcomes – Safe and secure waters; highly developed maritime domain awareness; Coherent and cohesive interdepartmental approach to marine security surveillance and response

The RCMP was searching for a fishing vessel that was suspected would deliver illegal goods to an East Coast community. The RCMP asked the MSOC for assistance to locate the vessel. Using data gathered and integrated by the MSOC partners, the location of the vessel was transmitted to the RCMP which allowed them to intercept the vessel at its arrival at the port.

Given that DFO/CCG-MSOC is still in its infancy, it is still early to tell whether it will significantly increase the safety and security of Canadian waters. Interview findings indicate cases where DFO/CCG-MSOC contributed to ensure secure waters, increase maritime domain awareness and contribute to a cohesive interdepartmental approach to security surveillance. For example, MSOCs were asked by RCMP to locate and monitor the movements of a vessel carrying illegal goods in the Atlantic. The information provided ultimately led to arrests made by the RCMP (see box).

This and other evidence presented earlier in this section indicates that DFO/CCG’s contribution to the MSOCs is likely to lead to safe and secure waters, and higher maritime domain awareness. There is evidence that DFO/CCG-MSOC has contributed to developing a coherent and cohesive interdepartmental approach to marine security surveillance and response.

4.2.2  Have there been any unintended outcomes, either positive or negative, of DFO/CCG's participation in the MSOCs?

Key Findings

DFO/CCG's contribution to the MSOCs has had positive unintended outcomes in terms of leveraging MSOC capabilities to meet other aspects of DFO/CCG's departmental mandate.

As noted above, the objectives of coastal MSOCs evolved during the implementation of the project, addressing issues such as illegal immigration and importation which were not originally intended during the inception of the project which was focused on addressing threats to security.

Key informants noted that they are sharing the information they produce for the MSOCs (leveraging information from partners) with other DFO/CCG branches, including the regions. Although there is no formal mechanism to disseminate routine situational awareness products beyond MSOC partner departments and agencies, the improved products created for the MSOCs have been used, for example, for fisheries enforcement (targeting patrols based on vessel location trend data and supporting investigation / prosecution files). DFO/CCG data and analytical products are also used to respond to corporate requests for information more accurately and with greater analytical value than before. Some external key informants feel that the information and analytical products generated by the MSOCs could be further harnessed for departmental purposes. According to these respondents, the MSOC information could be more widely known, by CCG Fleet for example, to enhance their operations.

4.2.3  Are there external factors and/or challenges that have impacted the achievement of intended outcomes?

Key Findings

Challenges associated with space allocation within the MSOCs and the IT infrastructure were some of the few external factors or challenges that have impacted MSOC operations.

Apart from budgetary constraints stemming from the federal government’s efforts to reduce the deficit, the following factors that affected the MSOC operations include:

  • Space allocation: the MSOCs on both coasts are located in DND buildings that are not deemed optimal. As explained later (under the efficiency section), these offices do not actually allow for all staff from all MSOC partners to be co-located. Staff mentioned that these layouts are not conducive to team work and optimal communications.
  • IT infrastructure: the bandwidths of the IT networks used by the MSOC partners are limited and staff have complained about download speed (slow uploading). However, as explained later, this has not significantly affected the effectiveness of MSOCs (the few minutes delay does not affect responders’ performance as the slow movement of vessels provide ample time for MSOCs to provide the information to responders).
  • MSOCs were implemented more slowly than planned. Staffing the positions took longer than expected.

These factors are further discussed in the section covering efficiency (Section 4.2.7).

4.2.4  Has DFO/CCG's role in the MSOCs been implemented as designed and intended? What have been the challenges?

Key Findings

Apart from various delays associated with staffing and privacy and data sharing issues, the MSOCs infrastructure were generally implemented as planned. By supporting response agencies dealing with safety, environmental and other issues unrelated to national security, MSOCs have provided support to a much wider group of stakeholders than expected.

Apart from delays due to staffing and data sharing and privacy issues, the MSOCs infrastructure was generally implemented as planned.  The project started in 2008 but the staffing of the DFO/CCG positions at the MSOCs took several months. Full staffing was completed in 2011-2012.

The partners worked several months to analyze each system and settle the legal issues related to the sharing of information. Although an MOU has been signed to establish a protocol for data sharing (information sharing agreements), a number of DFO/CCG staff mentioned that there are unresolved issues about privacy and data sharing due to sensitivities around privacy protection and number of partners involved, and some inefficiencies when data are shared due to cumbersome procedures necessary to adhere to privacy requirements (e.g., need to strip identifying information). A partner department representative noted that while guidelines around sharing of information have been signed off at the national level, these principles are still open to interpretation.

Finally, as mentioned earlier, MSOCs have provided support to a much wider group of response agencies than initially anticipated. While its creation was mostly motivated by national security issues, MSOCs’ data and analytical products were found to have several other usages, including: support for RCMP operations unrelated to terrorism; safety-related activities (anticipate and support search and rescue operations); environmental risks and interventions; and support for tracking illegal fishing activity. For this reason, the MSOCs’ mission has since evolved to support and enhance Maritime Domain Awareness (Search and Rescue and Environmental Response).

4.2.5  Are effective governance and accountability structures in place to support the achievement of results?

Key Findings

Compared to the structure used by the other partner departments, the CCG MSOC governance and accountability structure is centralized in the sense that staff report directly to DFO/CCG headquarters in the NCR (HQ). This has facilitated the development of guidelines and standards to process RFIs and manage information. CCG is considering decentralizing the CCG MSOC governance structure to reflect CCG's regionalized structure. There are reported pros and cons to national and regionalized structures. At the national level, MSOC is informally governed by an interdepartmental Assistant Deputy Minister (ADM) committee. The lack of a more formalized structure has impacted some of the decision-making processes for the MSOCs, due to a lack of clear guidelines, directive and priorities from the overarching authority. While this has not prevented the MSOCs from fulfilling their mission, there are ongoing concerns regarding information-sharing and the implementation of the upcoming shared IT system. There is a widely-shared view among interview respondents that MSOCs would benefit from a single-department reporting structure.

The governance and accountability structures include an overall MSOC level, a DFO/CCG MSOC level, and the individual MSOCs on each coast. The overall MSOC level is informally governed by  an interdepartmental ADM committee that includes representatives from the five partner departments.  The DFO/CCG MSOC governance structure is centralized in the sense that DFO/CCG’s participation in the MSOCs is under the authority of  the Director General of Operations for CCG and DG Enforcement for C&P. The Directors responsible for the MSOCs sit at HQ. At the MSOC centre level (East and West), DFO/CCG lead officers oversee the Coastal DFO/CCG staff at MSOCs. Coastal MSOC lead officers report to their Director at HQ through a national Manager.

Views about DFO/CCG MSOC Governance

Compared to the structure used by the other partner departments, the DFO/CCG MSOC governance and accountability structure is centralized in the sense that staff report directly to HQ. Guidelines and standards are also developed at HQ. CCG is currently exploring the option of decentralizing this structure to better reflect the CCG regionalized structure. MSOC respondents noted a few advantages and disadvantages of a more decentralized structure: while it may allow MSOCs to be tailored to the regional realities, it could also lead to inconsistencies. The centralized structure is comprised of a specialized team at HQ with backgrounds in security, while a decentralized structure may lead to managerial oversight that is not specialized and not working full-time on security issues.  On the other hand, it was mentioned by a DFO respondent that if the MSOCs were more integrated into the regional line management, it would facilitate communications and the management side of the MSOCs.

National Governance

At the overall MSOC level, the governance and accountability structure is “shared” by members of the ADM committee.  Most DFO/CCG respondents mentioned that this structure reflects the fact that MSOCs are not a recognized entity and have no legislative foundation. According to key informants, there is a lack of MSOC program authority and formal governance structure beyond the co-location of departmental staff under the guidance of an interdepartmental committee. Respondents said that this has impacted some of the decision-making processes for the MSOCs. The lack of a clear governance structure has delayed a number of decisions in the past, including decisions and guidelines about privacy issues associated with data sharing.

Another governance issue relates to the new IT platforms that are due to arrive at the MSOCs. The platform will be used by all MSOC centres. Guidelines will need to be established for their usage, but there is no national structure to oversee this. This may become an irritant for departmental staff at the MSOCs, even though this has not prevented the MSOCs from fulfilling their core supporting role. Note that DFO/CCG staff at HQ have taken a leadership role in policy development work to clarify the governance of the MSOCs.

The partner departments have signaled that no additional resources would be allocated to the MSOCs. Senior interview respondents agreed that if this position is maintained, an operating agency status for the MSOC is not likely to be a feasible option to clarify the governance issue.  Most respondents agreed that if the MSOCs were placed under the authority of a single department, it would clarify the governance structure and facilitate national decision-making (e.g., about guidelines, standards, procedures and priorities).  Only one respondent said that the MSOC governance structure is appropriate as is, but could be reviewed if the MSOCs get further involved in what are now exceptional cases requiring special access to data.

Roles and Responsibilities

A strong majority of interview respondents generally agreed that roles and responsibilities are clear among partners. Roles and responsibilities are clarified in documentation. TC basically provides regulatory information as well as information about in-coming vessels. DFO/CCG and DND provide most of the data and contribute to the analysis. One of the issues that was raised is that some departments have not provided a 24/7 presence at the MSOC centres. Only CCG and DND provide 24/7 presence.

One respondent from a partner organization said that roles and responsibilities are not yet clear with respect to the general coordination of the MSOCs. The respondent said that there are no clear directives coming from the five partner departments, and that local MSOCs have been developing some priorities based on their own initiative. For example, some MSOCs have been attentive to vessels that could potentially carry passengers with Ebola, much before any national direction about this took place within MSOC. This is an example of a “bottom-up” initiative that could have been a top-down directive.

4.2.6  Are appropriate performance and financial data being captured and reported for DFO/CCG's contribution to the MSOCs?

Key Findings

DFO/CCG provides performance reports that allow management to monitor the key outputs of the MSOCs and the extent to which they meet their delivery targets. There is an opportunity to improve the monitoring of the impacts of the MSOCs, as well as the lessons learned from specific events. Currently, there is no monitoring of the impacts of MSOCs although there is ongoing work to develop a survey of MSOC users. While some lessons learned from specific events have been recorded, there is no formal system to gather lessons learned related to operations.

A performance framework exists for DFO/CCG’s participation in the MSOCs, including standards and targets for queries and reports. At the operational level, MSOCs have a target for acknowledging receipt of an RFI, which is 30 minute maximum waiting time to respond to someone making a request for information. Monthly reports are produced to report on achievement of this target. Ad hoc lessons learned documents are also produced following specific key incidences to inform and adapt National Operating Standards, however, this is largely conducted informally. Financial information is well-tracked according to key informants.
Most respondents said that the current performance information was adequate. A few respondents noted that the performance information currently does not report on the impact of the MSOC information, which is why DFO/CCG is currently developing a user survey that would be distributed every 3 months.

4.2.7 Is DFO/CCG undertaking activities and delivering products in the most efficient and economical manner?

Key Findings

Overall, the evidence indicates that MSOCs operate efficiently. There are nevertheless a few opportunities to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of MSOCs, including improved workspace that would foster stronger teamwork. There is also an opportunity to conduct more outreach activities to improve awareness of MSOCs among responders and information providers.

For the purposes of this study, the evaluation team gathered evidence to assess the economy and operation efficiency of DFO/CCG MSOC.

Economy

This line of enquiry focusses on the appropriateness of inputs, including equipment, data and human resources. Currently, the MSOCs are located in DND on the East and West coasts. Key informants report that these offices do not actually allow for all MSOC local staff to sit together: some staff are located in different buildings (East), and in the West, staff are located in the same building, but in individual offices (vs. an open-space environment). In both cases, staff mentioned that these layouts are not conducive to team work and optimal communications.

While some mentioned that the MSOCs were efficient in terms of leveraging pre-existing resources, most staff mentioned that the current technological infrastructure has limitations. Data is now fragmented but an integrated IT solution is to be implemented soon which is expected to increase efficiency. On the other hand, the bandwidths of the IT networks are limited and a few DFO/CCG staff have reported issues with download speed. Other respondents believe that this does not have a significant impact on the effectiveness of the MSOCs given the speed of the vessels (threats are not seconds or minutes away). Given that vessels typically take several hours (days in most cases) to reach the Canadian shoreline, there is ample time for MSOCs to conduct the required analyses. 

From a human resources perspective, DFO/CCG staffing at the MSOCs is deemed appropriate by DFO/CCG managers. A few respondents mentioned that additional technical training could be used to increase the analytical capacity of the team. It was explained that the analysts (not all MSOC staff are analysts) do not provide a 24/7 presence at the centres.

Operational Efficiency

Respondents generally agreed that resources available to DFO/CCG for participation in the MSOCs are adequate and not in excess. Some mentioned that the staff resources are not sufficient to conduct needed outreach activities. These respondents explained that their duties have not allowed the MSOCs to meet response agencies, including CCG vessel staff, to explain the purpose of MSOCs and how they could use/provide information to the centres. A few respondents said that MSOCs would likely expand their access to information and user base if more outreach was conducted. DFO/CCG analysts also have limited development time to see how they could make best use of the data. For example, Search and Rescue (at CCG) could make more use of MSOC information.  Depending on where the distressed vessel is located, MSOCs sometimes have access to better information than the Rescue Coordination Centre (at CCG).

A few respondents mentioned that it would be possible to unify the coastal MSOCs into a single operating centre or program, including the Great Lakes MSOC. However, the perception was that there would be no real economies of scale achieved; that is, the same number of operational staff is likely to be required though there may be other benefits in strengthening the linkages between the coastal and Great Lakes MSOCs to enhance consistency.

Financially, results indicate that the MSOCs were implemented gradually and, as mentioned above, were impacted by delays in staffing. As shown in Table 3, MSOC has underspent allocated funds by $200,000 (including carry forward) the first year, by $1.6 million the second year, $1.2 million the third year, and $234,000 the fourth year. Balance was achieved in 2013-14.

Table 3: Coastal MSOC Spending (in $)9

Coastal MSOC Spending Chart
  2009/10 2010/11 2011/12 2012/13 2013/14
Budget Allocation 1,425,780.0 3,099,153.0 3,033,380.0 3,318,117.0 3,318,117.0
Carry Forward 0.0 100,000.0 804,100.0 0.0 0.0
Total Budget 1,425,780.0 3,199,153.0 3,837,480.0 3,318,117.0 3,318,117.0
Expenditures (includes transfers out) 1,325,780.0 2,395,053.0 2,637,480.0 3,084,117.0 3,318,117.0
Variance 100,000.0 804,100.0 1,200,000.0 234,000.0 0.0

Finally, a few respondents noted that the MSOC model, that is, the use of an inter-departmental team to fuse data and expertise, is unique. The U.S. model is more fragmented, as well as most European countries. The Dutch are exploring the MSOC model for their own purposes. Part of the UK model was mentioned as a model to consider: In the UK, there is a Maritime Security and Oversight Group (MSOG)10, a structure that does not exist for MSOC. This committee provides national direction about priorities. One respondent mentioned that this model could be considered for MSOCs, although there may be other mechanisms in place to provide this function.


9 Full allocation (Salary, O&M & EBP) versus what was spent by Coast Guard and DFO C&P as a whole (i.e. via DND Quarterly Reports).

10 “In 2010, the (UK) Government sought to provide "strengthened strategic oversight" by establishing the Maritime Security and Oversight Group (MSOG) whose membership is made up of "key representatives of core departments, agencies and the Cabinet Office, and is the senior-level decision making group for maritime issues". The Ministry of Defence described the role of the group as providing ‘strategic oversight and direction of all cross-cutting maritime security issues and programmes, including aspects of maritime surveillance [and] is responsible for the Maritime Security vision, strategic objectives and risks, reviewing them as circumstances require, and allocating priorities in order to use a framework to drive and coordinate day-to-day policy on cross government programmes of work’ ".  Source: UK Commons Select Committees (http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmselect/cmdfence/110/11008.htm#n152)

5. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS


5.1 CONCLUSIONS

Relevance

The evaluation evidence confirms that there is a continued need for DFO/CCG’s participation in the MSOCs to address ongoing risks of vessels conducting illegal activities that can pose a threat to Canadians, Canada’s resources and Canada’s infrastructure. Most of the data and maritime expertise resides within CCG and C&P, and the department’s contribution is viewed as integral by MSOC partners. There is no evidence of overlap or duplication. DFO/CCG’s role in the MSOCs is aligned with DFO/CCG’s strategic outcome related to maritime safety and security. It is also consistent with the CCG’s mandate to provide services to support other federal departments as outlined in the Oceans Act.

Based on a review of documentation, MSOCs are aligned with federal government priorities related to safety, security and the protection of Canada’s sovereignty as stated in the Government of Canada’s outcome statements and various Throne Speeches. MSOCs are also part of Canada’s Counter-terrorism Strategy.

Performance

According to evidence, DFO/CCG’s participation in the MSOCs is contributing to addressing intended outcomes of the MSOCs. The department provides timely, relevant and comprehensive information and analytical products through scheduled reports and responses to RFIs. The number of reports and responses has increased dramatically over the last two years. DFO/CCG service standards for timeliness are consistently and successfully met. There are many examples where DFO/CCG information and analysis, integrated with other MSOC resources, has contributed to advance warning and partners’ effective and efficient decision-making to respond to various types of threats. Findings indicate that DFO/CCG-MSOC helped ensure secure waters, increase maritime domain awareness and contribute to a cohesive interdepartmental approach to security surveillance.

DFO/CCG’s contribution to the MSOCs has had positive unintended outcomes in terms of leveraging MSOC capabilities to meet other aspects of the departmental mandate. MSOC capacity could be harnessed further to provide additional benefits to external users.

The MSOCs infrastructure was generally implemented as planned. Implementation challenges included insufficient space for all MSOC partners to be co-located as was envisioned, and challenges with the IT capacity. The objectives of the MSOCs have evolved over time, with MSOCs supporting responders dealing with safety, environmental and other issues unrelated to national security.

With respect to governance and accountability, DFO/CCG’s role and participation in the MSOCs is clear and is currently centralized in the sense that staff report directly to HQ. This has facilitated the development of guidelines and standards. At the level of the MSOCs, the centres are informally governed by an interdepartmental ADM committee. The lack of a more formalized interdepartmental structure has reportedly had a negative impact on some of the decision-making processes for the MSOCs, due to a lack of clear guidelines, directive and priorities from an overarching authority. A majority of interview respondents stated that MSOC would benefit from a single-department governance structure such as improving information sharing.

In the area of monitoring, DFO/CCG provides performance reports that allow management to monitor the key outputs of the department and the extent to which they meet their delivery targets. There is an opportunity to improve the monitoring of the impacts of the MSOC, as well as the lessons learned from specific events. Currently, there is no monitoring of the impacts of MSOCs although there is ongoing work to develop a survey of MSOC users. While some lessons learned from specific events have been recorded, there is no formal system to gather lessons learned related to operations.

Overall, the evidence indicates that MSOCs operate efficiently. There are opportunities to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of MSOCs, including improved workspace that would foster stronger teamwork. There is also an opportunity to conduct more outreach activities to improve awareness of MSOCs among responders and information providers.

5.2 RECOMMENDATIONS

The following recommendations are proposed:

  1. Evaluation findings indicate that there is currently no monitoring of the impacts of the MSOC initiative. Findings also indicate that there is an opportunity to gather lessons learned in a more systematic fashion. It is recommended that DFO/CCG MSOC complete as planned its implementation of a mechanism to monitor the impacts of MSOCs. It is also recommended that a formal mechanism be implemented to gather lessons learned on specific challenges that may occur during MSOC operations.
  2. Evaluation findings have revealed the need for a more formal overarching MSOC governance structure to provide clear guidelines, directive and priorities. It is recommended that, through DFO/CCG representation on the Interdepartmental MSOC Policy Working Group, governance options and recommendations be developed for the approval of ADMs in order to establish a clear MSOC Governance Structure.
  3. The evaluation found that there is an opportunity to conduct more outreach activities to improve awareness of MSOCs among responders and information providers. It is recommended that an outreach strategy be developed by DFO/CCG MSOC to inform internal and external response agencies and potential information-providers, including CCG and C&P staff, about the MSOCs and their roles in maritime awareness.

APPENDIX A: EVALUATION MATRIX


Core Evaluation Issues and Questions to Address

Core issues and questions
Core Issue Question
  • 1.   Continued Need for DFO/CCG's Participation

1. Is there a continued need for DFO/CCG’s participation in the MSOCs?

  • 2.   Alignment with Federal Government Priorities

2. Is DFO/CCG's participation in the MSOC's aligned with federal priorities?

  • 3.   Alignment with Federal Roles and Responsibilities

3. Are the MSOCs aligned with federal government roles and responsibilities?

  • 4.   Achievement of Intended Outcomes

4. To what extent have intended immediate, intermediate and long-term outcomes been achieved?

5. Have there been any unintended outcomes, either positive or negative, of DFO/CCG's participation in the MSOCs?
6. Are there external factors and/or challenges that have impacted the achievement of intended outcomes?
  • 5.   Demonstration of Efficiency and Economy

7. Has DFO/CCG's role in the MSOCs been implemented as designed and intended? What have been the challenges?

8. Are effective governance and accountability structures in place to support the achievement of results?
9. Are appropriate performance and financial data being captured and reported for DFO/CCG's contribution to the MSOCs?
10. Is DFO/CCG undertaking activities and delivering products in the most efficient and economical manner?
Issues and Indicators
Issue/Question Indicators Doc Review Admin Data Review Key Informant Interviews
Relevance
Issue 1: Continued Need for the DFO/CCG’s participation
  • 1. Is there a continued need for DFO/CCG’s participation in the MSOCs?
  • Demonstration of safety / security needs addressed by DFO/CCG’s participation in the MSOCs
  • Views on need for DFO/CCG’s participation in the MSOCs
  • Presence/absence of other marine security initiatives that complement or duplicate
checkmark   checkmark
Issue 2: Alignment with federal and departmental roles and priorities
  • 2. Is DFO/CCG’s participation in the MSOC’s aligned with federal priorities?
  • Degree of alignment of MSOCs with DFO and federal priorities
checkmark   checkmark
Issue 3. Alignment with Federal Roles and Responsibilities
  • 3. Are the MSOCs aligned with federal government roles and responsibilities?
  • Degree of alignment of MSOCs with Government of Canada (GoC) roles and responsibilities
checkmark    
Issue 4: Performance – Effectiveness
  • 4. To what extent has DFO/CCG contributed to the intended immediate, intermediate and long-term outcomes of the MSOCs?

Immediate

  • Accessible, timely, accurate and comprehensive National Maritime Picture information
  • Timely, relevant and well integrated MSOC Analytical Products
  • More complete and well-informed intelligence products
  • Leveraged partner resources
  • Well-informed decisions based on common understanding

Intermediate

  • Sufficient advance warning of situations or impending threats
  • Improved access to and exchange of useable marine intelligence
  • Strong partnerships and networks based on common understanding of marine situations and confidence in partners’ abilities

Long-term

  • Highly developed maritime domain awareness
  • Coherent and cohesive interdepartmental approach to marine security surveillance and response
Evidence of / views on progress toward achievement of outcomes:
  • Achievement of performance targets (e.g., system reliability, actioned requests)
  • Satisfaction of users with data/information and value-added expertise/analytical products (comprehensiveness and coherence, timeliness, etc.)
  • Impacts of data/information and expertise/analytical products on intelligence products and maritime domain awareness, identification and addressing threats, contingency planning
    • Extent to which quality / integration of intelligence has been enhanced
    • Level of contribution from DFO/CCG to timely and effective interventions
    • Level of usefulness of advice provided by DFO/CCG to improve preparedness / contingency planning
checkmark checkmark checkmark
  • 5. Have there been any unintended outcomes, either positive or negative, of DFO’s participation in the MSOCs?
  • Evidence of / views on unintended outcomes
    checkmark
Issue 5: Performance – Efficiency and Economy
  • 6. Has DFO/CCG’s role in the MSOCs been implemented as designed and intended? What have been the challenges?
  • Project design and delivery (tasks, timelines, partners)
  • Project delivery (including divergence from plans and reasons)
  • Evidence of challenges
checkmark   checkmark
  • 7. Are effective governance and accountability structures in place to support the achievement of results?
  • Committee terms of reference / MOUs
  • Roles and responsibilities, leadership / governance clearly defined and appropriate for strategic and operational decision-making/issue resolution
  • Sufficient collaborative processes and tools in place to support the horizontal initiative decision-making / manage risk
  • Evidence of / views on existence and effectiveness of coordination and information-sharing policies, procedures and protocols
checkmark   checkmark
  • 8. Are appropriate performance and financial data being captured and reported for DFO’s contribution to the MSOCs?
  • Coverage of performance measurement framework against components of logic model
  • Coverage of data collected/reported against components of logic model
  • Views of usefulness of reporting (reliable, timely) for accountability / management decision-making
checkmark checkmark checkmark
  • 9. Is DFO/CCG undertaking activities and delivering products in the most efficient manner?
  • Budget vs. expenditures; reasons for divergence
  • Evidence of practices in place that minimize the use of resources (factors facilitating or inhibiting factors)
  • Views on how efficiency of the DFO/CCG activities could be improved
checkmark checkmark checkmark
  • 10. Is DFO/CCG’s contribution to the MSOCs achieving intended outcomes in the most economical manner?
  • Evidence of / views on extent to which program intended outcomes have been achieved at the least possible program cost
  • Evidence that DFO/CCG uses best resources (systems, tools, etc.) and makes best use of partners, including resources leveraged
  • Views on whether there are alternative program models that would achieve the same expected outcomes at a lower-cost
  • Benefits of horizontal approach
checkmark   checkmark

APPENDIX B: LIST OF DOCUMENTS


Dunne, T. Guardians of the Gateways: Maritime Security Operations Centre, Frontline Security, Vol. 6, No. 2 (Summer 2011)

Fisheries and Oceans Canada/Canadian Coast Guard. Maritime Security Contributions, 2011

Fisheries and Oceans Canada/Canadian Coast Guard. Maritime Security Performance Measurement Strategy, January 2012

Government of Canada. Marine Security Operations Centres Project.
Accessed May 2014. http://www.msoc-cosm.gc.ca/en/index.page

Government of Canada. Maritime Security Operational Centres. Performance Measurement Strategy, 2013.

RCMP. Royal Canadian Mounted Police-led Horizontal Evaluation of the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence Seaway Marine Security Operations Centre, Terms of Reference, January 31, 2013

RCMP. Horizontal Evaluation of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway Marie Security Operations Centre, Draft Report, 2014.

VanguardAdmin, Smart collaboration: Evolution of the Marine Security Operations Centres, Vanguard Magazine, January 15, 2013

APPENDIX C: MANAGEMENT ACTION PLAN


Management Action Plan
RECOMMENDATION 1

Rationale: Evaluation findings indicate that there is currently no monitoring of the impacts of the MSOC initiative. Findings also indicate that there is an opportunity to gather lessons learned in a more systematic fashion.

Recommendation 1: It is recommended that DFO/CCG MSOC complete as planned its implementation of a mechanism to monitor the impacts of MSOCs. It is also recommended that a formal mechanism be implemented to gather lessons learned on specific challenges that may occur during MSOC operations.

STRATEGY
DFO/CCG MSOC Headquarters, with input from the Centres, will continuously monitor client needs and client satisfaction with DFO/CCG MSOC products as well as ensure that lessons learned are captured in a systematic fashion. With respect to the interdepartmental MSOC lessons learned, the way forward will be dependent on the successful implementation of a new interdepartmental Governance model.
MANAGEMENT ACTIONS DUE DATE (BY END OF MONTH) STATUS UPDATE: COMPLETED / ON TARGET / REASON FOR CHANGE IN DUE DATE OUTPUT
DFO/CCG MSOC will finalize and implement its client survey to ensure that the MSOC products are meeting client needs. March 2015    
DFO/CCG will work with MSOC partners in an effort to establish an initial interdepartmental mechanism to gather and document lessons learned and develop recommendations to address them. September 2015    
RECOMMENDATION 2

Rationale: Evaluation findings have revealed the need for a more formal overarching MSOC governance structure to provide clear guidelines, directive and priorities.

Recommendation 2: It is recommended that, through DFO/CCG representation on the Interdepartmental MSOC Policy Working Group, governance options and recommendations be developed for the approval of ADMs in order to establish a clear MSOC Governance Structure.

STRATEGY
DFO/CCG will continue to represent the Department at the Interdepartmental MSOC Policy Working Group (of which CCG is the Co-chair) to develop options and recommendations to establish a clear MSOC Governance Structure for approval of ADMs.
MANAGEMENT ACTIONS DUE DATE (BY END OF MONTH) STATUS UPDATE: COMPLETED / ON TARGET / REASON FOR CHANGE IN DUE DATE OUTPUT
Partners, including DFO/CCG, will assess existing horizontal and vertical governance structures, and propose options for ADMs consideration to ensure that the MSOCs have a clear Governance Structure in place to operate effectively and efficiently using a whole-of-government approach to maritime security. September 2015    
RECOMMENDATION 3

Rationale: The evaluation found that there is an opportunity to conduct more outreach activities to improve awareness of MSOCs among responders and information providers.

Recommendation 3: It is recommended that an outreach strategy be developed by DFO/CCG MSOC to inform internal and external response agencies and potential information-providers, including CCG and Conservation and Protection staff, about the MSOCs and their roles in maritime awareness.

STRATEGY
Inform internal and external stakeholders and potential information providers of the MSOCs roles, products and capabilities.
MANAGEMENT ACTIONS DUE DATE (BY END OF MONTH) STATUS UPDATE: COMPLETED / ON TARGET / REASON FOR CHANGE IN DUE DATE OUTPUT
Update the DFO-CCG MSOC Framework to develop a formalized outreach approach. March 2015    
Identify internal and external stakeholders in the DFO/CCG MSOC Framework. March 2015    
Operationalize through the finalization and implementation of the approved DFO/CCG MSOC Communications Strategy. September 2015