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Vessel Traffic Services

Improved Capabilities and Performance for USCG

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) required the ability to integrate newly developed requirements for Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) to meet mission critical operations, including changes in port security operations and department level changes.

The USCG turned to Reed Integration to solve the new development requirements for an Integrated Operations Center (IOC), a perspective requiring systems engineering expertise in tracing requirements from top to bottom. Outdated Operational Requirements Document (ORD) meant a thorough assessment and review process that Reed delivered to assist and guide newly upgraded VTS capabilities for port security operations.

The USCG VTS mission truly had gone through a paradigm shift. Changes that came about would need to reflect several new perspectives in VTS port security operations, including the events of 9/11, subsequent transfer of the USCG from the Department of Transportation (DOT) to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and emphasis on developing an Integrated Operations Center (IOC) picture of port operations in all USCG Sector Command Centers (SCC).

The Operational Requirements Document (ORD) for Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) had not been updated in quite some time. In fact, Reed worked closely to assist the USCG’s Initial Operational Capability (IOC) for VTS in 2004, which was delivered to the Coast Guard’s Vessel Traffic Center (VTC). The initial ORD, approved in December 1997 came in response to a May 1997 VTS Mission Need Statement. The USCG’s need to integrate the scope of changes and progress to current department requirements required Reed Integration’s high value expertise.

Reed’s support for the 2010 VTS ORD results points to the application of sound, systems engineering practices. Several factors provided these mission results, including the new ORD clearly states the revised concept of operations, the necessary requirements to acquire the upgraded USCG VTS capability, and full compliance with DHS ORD development guidance.

Reed was responsible for conducting an Operational Requirements Assessment (ORA) consisting of the following:

  • Thorough review of Ports Waterways and Coastal Security programs including National AIS, Command 21, and Rescue 21 projects.
  • Implementation of a requirement elicitation process involving USCG VTC and SCC operations personnel, commercial VTS users, including vessel operators, vessel pilots, and tug boat operators of VTS information.
  • Application of DHS Guide to Development of Operational Requirements, May 2008, requirement development guidance.

Reed’s systems, management, and requirements development expertise was instrumental in producing a complete traceable set of requirements from operational requirements down to the lowest level technical requirements.

The steps involved the use of requirement elicitation techniques, inclusion within the ORD of rationale for each requirement, conduct of an Operational Requirements Review (ORR) to obtain stakeholder buy-in, and development of a Requirement Traceability Matrix (RTM), which traces forward and backward, such that the updated 1997 ORD requirements trace to the 2010 ORD and the new 2010 ORD requirements to their source documents.

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