The USSTRATCOM Center for Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction (SCC-WMD) PSI Support Cell actively supports Department of Defense (DoD) and U.S. government (USG) participation in PSI exercises and activities across the globe to enhance international interoperability and capabilities in support of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) interdiction in the air, on land and at sea.
The PSI is an international cooperative effort that aims to stop trafficking in WMD, their delivery systems, and related materials. The PSI is an activity, not an organization and participation in the PSI is voluntary. Since its establishment in 2003, over 100 countries have committed to support the PSI by endorsing its Statement of Interdiction Principles. With endorsement comes a commitment to take action consistent with established national legal authorities and international laws and regulations that support WMD interdictions. In addition, PSI partner nations also commit to strengthen relevant legal authorities and capabilities. The PSI is not led or "chaired" by a single country; rather, it's united by a common purpose and designed to support flexible, fast action and coordination among partner nations to counter WMD proliferation.
PSI Participants are committed to:
PSI endorsing states routinely get together at what are known as PSI Operational Experts Group (OEG) meetings to consider ways to further enhance WMD interdiction capabilities of all PSI partner nations, and to build global support for the PSI. Participants share ideas, discuss legal authorities and national response processes, conduct industry engagement, share lessons learned, etc. to enhance their respective capabilities to counter the proliferation of WMD.
Whole-of-Government Effort. Within the U.S., effective support for the PSI includes the direct involvement of several Departments and Agencies. The Department of State (DOS) has primary responsibility for U.S. engagements with endorsing states, outreach to non-endorsing states, and other diplomatic activities. These critical functions involve close coordination between DOS and the Department of Defense (DoD) which is the USG's operational lead for activities in the Operational Experts Group and PSI exercises. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) (i.e. , Customs and Border Protection; Immigration and Customs Enforcement; U.S. Coast Guard), the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as well as the Departments of Energy, Treasury, Commerce and the intelligence community all actively participate and play a vital role in supporting the PSI. Collectively these activities and exercises strengthen U.S. WMD interdiction capabilities, and through international outreach, the capabilities of PSI endorsing nations.
Department of Defense. The DoD routinely supports a wide variety of PSI activities including live exercises, command post exercises, tabletop exercises, seminars, workshops, and other WMD Interdiction training. Since 2007, the SCC-WMD PSI support cell has provided key support to the overall mission. PSI exercises serve to establish interoperability among nations and help develop useful skills and experience relevant to interdiction operations. PSI exercises and activities visibly demonstrate international commitment and capabilities, and serve as a forum to increase global awareness and understanding of the PSI. Since 2003, PSI endorsing nations have conducted over 70 PSI-related exercises and related activities worldwide. Although supported by the USG interagency, the vast majority of these have been led by other PSI endorsing nations.
The PSI Support Cell. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff directed USSTRATCOM to designate a PSI Support Cell to meet DoD and USG PSI requirements. The PSI Support Cell is located in the SCC-WMD which is co-located with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA). The support cell is required to:
Additionally, the SCC-WMD PSI Support cell provides subject matter expertise to support PSI international meetings and participates in PSI activities such as the OEG and international outreach.
PSI Exercises. These exercises, which can vary in size (2-30 nations) and complexity, often explore and examine diplomatic and interagency coordination mechanisms in order to exercise national and international laws and customs authorities designed to stop WMD proliferation. They may include tabletop as well as field exercises to examine scenarios, develop potential courses of action and test solutions for ground, maritime, and/or air interdictions. The most visible field exercises include either simulated in-port or at sea interdictions. These activities typically involve multiple PSI partner nations' combined military and civil law enforcement assets that practice communications and tactics related to boarding and searching vessels suspected of transporting WMD-related material and other activities.
The GCCs host or participate in partner nation PSI exercises within their area of responsibility (AOR), as well as in adjacent AORs. For example, the Cell embeds table top and at-sea counterproliferation interdiction vignettes within USSOUTHCOM's annual Exercise PANAMAX and within Exercise PHOENIX EXPRESS and SAHARAN EXPRESS in USAFRICOM's AOR. In addition, dedicated PSI exercises include LEADING EDGE in USCENTCOM's AOR and an annual six-nation rotational exercise series within USPACOM's AOR. These embedded and dedicated WMD interdiction events seek to enhance participants' understanding of the PSI and WMD interdiction processes, as well as serve as an opportunity to engage non-endorsing state representatives to join in supporting the overall goal to counter WMD proliferation worldwide.
The SCC-WMD PSI Support Cell directly supports Combatant Commander's Theater Security Cooperation, partnership capacity and interdiction capabilities building efforts.
The Cell supports development of PSI Critical Capabilities and Practices (CCP) tools. CCP tools provide assistance to endorsing states to enhance national legal authorities as well as counterproliferation operational capabilities and decision-making. CCP tools include checklists, model operational plans, model legislation, legislative and operational doctrine examples from OEG nations, and legal opinions regarding operationalization of international legal obligations that support interdiction of WMDs.
The SCC-WMD's PSI Support Cell also manages an annual budget to support Combatant Commands costs associated with WMD-interdiction exercises and PSI training activities. These funds are designed to support travel costs for U.S. personnel and costs associated with leasing training venues and for purchasing training aids.Key Points:
Further information concerning the PSI can be obtained at the PSI Public website, the State Department website, or by contacting the SCC-WMD PSI Support Cell via email.
Current as of September 2013
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