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How has maritime security evolved since 2001, and what challenges exist moving forward? This report provides an overview of the current state of maritime security with an emphasis on port security. It examines new risks that have arisen over the last twenty years, the different types of security challenges these risks pose, and how practitioners can better navigate these challenges. Building on interviews with 37 individuals immersed in maritime security protocols, we identify five major challenges in the modern maritime security environment: (1) new domains for exploitation, (2) big data and information processing, (3) attribution challenges, (4) technological innovations, and (5) globalization. We explore how these challenges increase the risk of small-scale, high-probability incidents against an increasingly vulnerable Marine Transportation System (MTS). We conclude by summarizing several measures that can improve resilience-building and mitigate these risks.


About NCITE: The National Counterterrorism Innovation, Technology, and Education (NCITE) Center was established in 2020 as the Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence for counterterrorism and terrorism prevention research. Sponsored by the DHS Science and Technology Office of University Programs, NCITE is the trusted DHS academic consortium comprised of over 60 researchers across 18 universities and non-government organizations. Headquartered at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, NCITE seeks to be the leading U.S. academic partner for counterterrorism research, technology, and workforce development. Acknowledgement: This material is based upon work supported by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security under Grant Award Number 20STTPC00001‐02-01. Disclaimer: The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as necessarily representing the official policies, either expressed or implied, of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security or George Washington University.