Coast Guard opens new Seattle command center
U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Thad Allen and other dignitaries were on hand Wednesday for the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the Coast Guard Joint Harbor Operation Center in Seattle.
The $8 million block building, crowned with bristling antennae, serves as the communications headquarters and nexus for many of the agencies with responsibility for the safety of the harbor.
Required under the Safe Port Act of 2006, the center is the fourth in the nation following previous openings in San Diego, Calif.; Jacksonville, Fla.; and Norfolk, Va.
Staffed 24 hours a day, the building houses staff representing the Coast Guard, Navy, Washington State Patrol, Customs and Border Protection, and various agencies of the Department of Homeland Security, State of Washington, and other local first responder agencies.
Described by the Coast Guard as a 'nexus for marine operations, monitoring, overseeing and coordinating daily activities that ensure the maritime safety and security of the Puget Sound area,' the facility will also be used as a command center for local and regional emergency planning and response.
The building also brings all the disparate components of the Coast Guard's Sector Seattle under one roof for the first time and is the sector's official command center, communications center and vessel traffic center.
Also on hand was the new Coast Guard commander of the Pacific Northwest's District 13 region. Ensconced less than six days before, Rear Adm. John P. Currier took over from Rear Adm. Richard R. Houck, who retired after 32 years of Coast Guard service.
Currier previously served as the Coast Guard's Pacific Area Chief of Staff and Chief of Operations, Commander of USCG Air Station Miami, and Chief of Search and Rescue Operations/Director of Auxiliary for the Ninth Coast Guard District based in Cleveland. His awards and commendations include the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, Coast Guard Commendation Medal with “O” device and the Coast Guard Achievement Medal with “O” device.