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Innovation Council -
2012 Innovation Award Winners

Congratulations to the following Coast Guard individuals or teams who have created or implemented innovative solutions to Coast Guard challenges. For more detailed information, use the links on each award name.

Science or Technology

Tactical Mesh Node Network (TRIDENT) – D1(dre)

This initiative couples a mobile ad-hoc communications network (MANET) developed for DoD Deployable Specialized Forces (Delta Force, SEALs), with both the Land Mobile Radio (LMR) and Internet-Protocol Interoperability and Collaboration System (IPICS) technologies to create a fully deployable, self-creating, self-healing mobile mulit-media encrypted communications network capable of linking virtually any existing communications devices with minimal hardware and software investment. Key features are the ability to rapidly create communications networks that incorporate blue force tracking (CG and OGA), even in areas that lack existing infrastructure (e.g., post-KATRINA); immediate interoperability among previously incompatible devices (e.g., VHF Radio communicating directly with UHF Radio); and real-time full motion video transfer to/from virtually any existing device. TRIDENT exceeds security requirements established in COMDTINST 2010.2A, boasting AES-256 Encryption with Suite B and FIPS 140-2 with Key Zeroize.
Innovators: LT Ryan Kowalske. The list of government and corporate partners include: DHS S&T, DTIC, NAVSEA, Massachusetts State Police, Boston Police, Cisco Systems, Inc., Reality Mobile, and Persistent Systems, Inc., and many more.

Tactical Intelligence Driving Enforcement (OPTIDE) – D1(dre)

OPTIDE improves both the effectiveness and efficiency of CFVSA and LMR enforcement efforts. The program fuses MISLE, VMS, and other law enforcement data streams, applies an experience-based algorithm to assess the likelihood of finding a violation on commercial fishing vessels, and integrates all of this information into a user friendly, real-time geographic information system (GIS) display (currently using Google Earth). By simplifying the enforcement decision-making process, OPTIDE has significantly reduced CG resource hours while strengthening public trust by decreasing law enforcement contact with vessels that have been routinely compliant. These efforts led to impressive results, including a focused holiday operation that yielded more than 100 boardings of high-risk commercial fishing vessels in seven days. The real-time positioning information reduced the resource hours required to locate and sort targets by more than 66% and increased the probability of detecting a violation by 191%. Since its implementation, 500% more significant fisheries violations have been detected in the First Coast Guard District by focusing effort on high-risk vessels.
Innovator: LT Ryan Kowalske.


Coast Guard employees typically work remotely by connecting a non-standard host computer (frequently owned by the individual employee) to a Coast Guard Remote Access Server (RAS) by means of a Virtual Private Network (VPN) secure encrypted connection. Once connected, users utilize a Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) to link to the workstation at their desk or to a terminal server. RAS, in its current configuration requires the presence of Common Access Card (CAC) reader software, DoD root certificates, the VPN client, and RDP software on the host computer. This requirement makes it necessary for members to travel with a computer containing the RAS software, or to load the software on a computer provided in their remote location.

While RAS provides an invaluable service, it also represents a serious vulnerability: because the host computer provides the software necessary for the connection, any malicious software present on the host machine is not fully isolated from the CG ONENet.

CD-RAS eliminates both the need to travel with a computer and the threat posed by malicious software present on the host computer. CD-RAS consists of a bootable CD that completely isolates the host computer’s files and programs from the CG ONENet. The CD contains a Linux-based operating system (created by the DoD Anti-Tamper Software Protection Initiative (ATSPI) Technology Office) as well as all software required to establish a secure connection to CG ONENet.

Because it supplies its own operating system, initial testing indicates that CD-RAS will work on both PC and Apple (MAC) computers, which are not currently supported with existing Coast Guard RAS software.

CD-RAS provides an extremely portable solution. Coast Guard personnel need nothing more than a copy of the CD to use any computer (e.g., found in a hotel or airport business center or supplied by another agency during contingency operations), significantly reducing the number of laptops purchased by the Coast Guard.
Innovators: IT1 Nicholas Walter - TRACEN Yorktown, LT Donald Hunley - TRACEN Yorktown.

Operations or Readiness

Savannah Container Inspection Program (SCIP) – MSU Savannah

Working with a Georgia Port Authority (GPA) IT specialist, and in partnership with local CBP, MSU Savannah created the CG Savannah Container Inspection Program (SCIP), a secure, web-based application which allows local CG container inspectors to notify GPA when a container is designated for inspection, creates work orders to move containers through the government inspection process (now located in a safe, pre-designated area), update seal changes, and track the release of individual containers – all in real time. Because SCIP is an application within the GPA Terminal Operation System (TOS), GPA has instantaneous access to updated status. Each inspection is logged and the container status and location are updated as it moves through the inspection process. SCIP notifies the container’s beneficial owner when a shipment has been placed on a Coast Guard hold, requests shipping papers, and generates a receipt annotating the date/time that the notification was received. Upon completion of the CG inspection, an electronic Container Inspection Form (CG-5577) is generated and sent to the shipping line for any containers with deficiencies. When a container is released from CG Hold, seal change and release information is instantly available to GPA, speeding up the movement of the container to its final destination. This locally created and implemented program has resolved the traditional CG container inspection programmatic issues, enabled MSU Savannah to consistently surpass Commandant directed goals, facilitated a 1100% increase in inspections from the previous year with a prioritized focus on tiered targeting and facilitated streamlining well-documented MISLE inspections. SCIP uses fewer resources with a safer, more efficient process to achieve superior results; all at no additional cost to the Coast Guard.
Innovators: From MSU Savannah: MST3 Megan Howard, MST3 Timothy Estep, MST2 Audrey Gurganus, MST2 Taylor Mudrock, MST1 Andrew Caldwell, MSTC John Barnes, MSTCS Cole Thomas, ENS Dustin Faux, LTJG Andrew Fiddes, LT Marvin Kimmel. From Georgia Port Authority-Client Relations/IT: Felicia Cook, Lisa Redmond, Yai Thangtazeekool.

Admin, Training or Support

Steller Sea Lion Resources Binder – NPRFTC

The Endangered Species Act requires the Coast Guard to patrol and enforce protective measures for the Steller Sea Lion at 150 individual sites throughout the 17th district. The previous Job Aid for this mission was a set of 11” x 17” tables, listing the location (lat/long coordinates) and specific regulation information, including references to footnotes, applicable to each site. The Tables were difficult to read in low light operational conditions and required aviators to divert significant amounts of attention during the dynamic in-flight environment. This often left aviators with the difficult task of balancing safety with mission performance. Additionally, the class related to Steller Sea Lion enforcement was often the most difficult for aviators and cutter crews alike, because of the amount of information a student had to process before reaching a violation decision. Often students would need significant tutoring and instructor assistance to grasp the performance objective.

The new Job Aid facilitates rapid interpretation of regulations in a highly visual format that does not require an aviator to choose between safety and mission. Using picture-based snap shots of each location, simple symbols and plain language, the new Job Aid allows a user to glance down and rapidly make a violation or no-violation decision based on the user’s geographic location. This innovative effort not only produced a superior Job Aid tool for use in the field, it eliminated entirely the need for a separate Steller Sea Lion training class; the Job Aid makes determining whether a vessel is in violation or not so intuitively easy to grasp, the former stand-alone class has been reduced to an enabling objective within another course. Because each site is now displayed on its own page, a mission-specific set of pages can be assembled quickly for any flight plan, significantly reducing mission preparation time.
Innovator: MEC Alan Kinman, BM1 Berry Spivey, AET1 Jeff Mays.

Enlisted Rating Advancement Training System (ERATS) – FORCECOM (FC-T)

The existing process of identifying changes and updating enlisted rating training materials, first developed in 1927, takes an average of 38 months. The enlisted workforce that relied on these outdated materials suffered when preparing for advancement or a change in rating.

ERATS is a systems solution to this and many other, related enlisted rating training problems. It comprises changes to people (function & organization), product (training approach & technology integration), process (to identify & adapt to change, manage knowledge, etc), & policy. ERATS has two primary impacts: (1) enlisted rating training becomes much more responsive to change (change centric vs time centric), as updates to courses and tests can occur incrementally (objective-by-objective) versus replacing entire course and test; and (2) the modern workforce benefits from a broader range of resources as new training modalities are added, (e.g., online courses and e-tests vice the traditional paper-based courses & tests).

ERATS has already compiled impressive statistics during implementation in its first few ratings. Comprehensive review and update of rating requirements, training, and tests were conducted 14.6 months (38.4%) faster with incremental changes now made in weeks, vice months. Updates to advancement tests conducted 64% faster. Production of in-service courses 57% faster. Projected Return on Investment for rating training programs is approximately $14.5M per year.
Innovators: LCDR William R Gibbons, FC-T, Mr. James Parry, TRACEN Yorktown, Mr. Bill Seletyn, Performance Technology Center (PTC) Yorktown, LCDR Brust Roethler, FC-T, LT Chris McCann, FC-T, YNCM Mark Planitz, FC-T (retired), MSTCM Tim Zernick, FC-T (retired), LCDR Jeff Pearson, FC-T (retired).

Coast Guard Centralized Receipt of Invoices – FINCEN (HONORABLE MENTION)

Contracting office delays in transmitting locally received invoices for large contracts severely limited FINCEN’s ability to satisfy the statutory 30-day payment deadline. To improve compliance, CG-9 determined that all vendors would submit large contract invoices directly to FINCEN, but no new resources were provided to compensate for the change in workload.

A FINCEN LEAN / Six Sigma team developed a web-enabled application to manage the new workflow. As vendors submit invoices for approval and processing, they complete a form that provides the majority of data required for payment. Paper submissions (fax or mail) are entered into the application by FINCEN employees. The application provides a gateway to the enterprise application (WINS) for contracting offices that previously lacked access. It routes invoices directly to the COTR Hold queue for further review and processing by the assigned Contract Specialist. Daily e-mail notifications are also sent to each of the contracting sites to advise which invoices have been received and are pending review and approval. Contract Specialists and Contract Officers have the capability to generate the modified Pending Invoices Report to instantly view the received and pending invoices whenever required.

Centralized invoicing via web submission reduced invoice processing time an average of 8.7 days. It also avoided an estimated $260,000 annual cost for additional personnel FINCEN would have needed to process all large contract invoices manually. Additionally, the web-based submission and email notification processes improve internal controls and accountability while providing contracting offices with improved visibility of invoice queues, increasing their ability to manage workload.
Innovators: Ms. Laraine Bock, FINCEN, Mr. Mark Hopkins, CG-9123, Ms. Pam Hartman, CG-9124, Mr. Tim Kruger, FINCEN, Ms. Gwendolyn Theus, FINCEN, Ms. Mary Phelps, FINCEN, Ms. Kathy Price, FINCEN, Ms. Catherine Theobald, FINCEN, Mr. Gilberto Berrios, FINCEN.

CDR Joel Magnussen Award for Management

Service Delivery Matrix – D5

Recognizing the need for an integrated management tool to provide better cognizance and to focus the efforts of District program managers horizontally, D5 developed the Service Delivery Matrix (SDM). SDM is an interactive report used by program managers and senior leadership throughout the District to identify predictable failures, critical issues, and trends, and to develop the solutions needed to mitigate deficiencies and plan corrective action in a timely fashion.

As an entering argument, the SDM centers on six categories of resources & assets used by operational field units to deliver CG services to the maritime public, i.e., piers, hangars, buildings, boats, and people. Using a standard GAR indicator with arrows indicating improvement or decline, SDM assesses the status of assets at all 80 D5 subordinate units. The assessment is based on data from CG systems of record found in CGBI, as well as from District Program Manager and field unit input. The SDM “Council” meets monthly to discuss and update one asset category as well as to discuss critical issues arising since the previous meeting. After the Council meets, D5 Resources provides a copy of the updated Matrix to senior D5 Staff, briefs the metrics, and the feedback loop continues.

Using SDM, District leaders can identify how resource degradation is affecting operations, how planning efforts are progressing, and how to develop strategies for contending with developing concerns. This tracking tool has enabled District Leadership (at all levels) to focus resources, make better decisions, and help our field units fix the problems that they depend upon us to resolve. The tool also facilitates accountability by tracking and monitoring execution of effort..
Innovators: RADM Wayne Justice, Commander District Five, CAPT Patrick Trapp, D5 Chief of Staff CAPT David Haynes, D5 Chief of Prevention, CAPT Beverly Havlik, D5 Chief of Planning and Force Readiness, CAPT Mike Andres, D5 Chief of Response, CAPT Chris Austin, D5 Chief of Enforcement, Ms. Teddie Thorogood, D5 Chief of Resource and Planning, CDR Nevada Smith, D5 NCR Manager, CDR Chris Strong, D5 Chief of Enforcement, LCDR Sherri Chamberlin, D5 Chief of Operational Planning, LT Ben Stanley, D5 Boat Manager, LT Kenny Pepper, D5 Chief of Waterways Operations, CDR Derek Dorazio, Sector North Carolina Logistics Chief, CDR Dave Palazetti, Sector Delaware Bay Logistics Chief, CAPT George Bonner, Sector Hampton Roads Logistics Chief, LCDR Jeff Hall, Sector Baltimore Logistics Chief.

Aviation Status Map – ALC
At the onset of Deepwater Horizon, DCMS and response leaders identified a need for a graphical display that comprehensively depicts aircraft fleet composition, readiness posture, deployed status, and mission capability of aviation resources to enhance total asset visibility and real-time decision making. ALC's Information Systems Division quickly created a prototype from ALMIS (Asset Logistics Management Information System) data and deployed it to the Unified Area Command (UAC) in New Orleans to provide total asset visibility of the Coast Guard's aviation fleet. This product was used by the UAC’s Aviation Logistics Team Lead to report on and maintain situational awareness of deployed aircraft capabilities and operational status. Without this tool, aircraft asset status reporting required deliberate and time consuming data pulls from numerous ALMIS queries that were then consolidated into a national "picture." The Aviation Status Map provides updated asset status reporting on-demand in under 5-minutes. The final production version can now be viewed and scheduled for email/mobile device delivery to anyone who has access to a Coast Guard workstation. It provides decision makers, mission support specialists, operational partners and command centers a real-time, bird's eye view of USCG aviation fleet capabilities and needs.

This product has been briefed to the DHS Under Secretary for Management (USM) and, at his request, DHS Chief Executive Officers (CXOs) as an example of total asset visibility possibilities at the department level.
Innovators: Mary Beth Phillips, Decision Support Team, ALC-ISD Carl Webster, ALC-ISD Deputy Chief LCDR Scott Powers, CG-41 Resource Manager, CDR Carola List, CG-41 Deputy CDR Neil Wilson, ALC-IOD Chief CDR Rob Taylor, ALC-ISD Chief CAPT Melvin Bouboulis, Chief, CG-41.

Last Modified 1/12/2016