The Area Maritime Security Committees (AMSCs) were established under the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002 to provide contingency planning, review and updates of Area Maritime Security Plans. AMSCs enhance communication between port stakeholders within federal, state, and local agencies, along with industry partners to address maritime security issues. The Sector Delaware Bay AMSC brings together stakeholders from New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware for collaborative planning, coordination, communication, as well as to identify effective security measures across all segments of the Maritime Transportation System.
Jim McDavitt, Senior Planner from our Preparedness Bureau, sits down with Captain Benjamin Cooper, who serves as the Commander of Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay and Captain of the Port of Philadelphia, to discuss how AMSC plays a vital role in bolstering the security of our Nation’s ports.
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CAPTAIN BENJAMIN COOPER
Commander, US Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay
Captain Cooper serves as the Commander of Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay and Captain of the Port in Philadelphia. He oversees 750 Active Duty, Reserve, and civilian personnel to execute the Coast Guard missions across a large portion of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and all of Delaware out to 200 miles offshore. The Sector carries out the Coast Guard’s mission to protect mariners on the sea, protect the nation from threats delivered by the sea, and protect the sea itself. The Delaware Bay region hosts the nation’s fifth-largest city, a diverse deep water port complex, leads the nation in steel, paper and perishable goods imports, and supports significant petrochemical and fisheries activity, and 250,000 recreational boaters. The Atlantic Ocean, bays, rivers, shorelines, and ports of the three-state region are served by 20 Coast Guard subunits, and includes six Stations, seven seasonal Stations (small), two Aids to Navigation Teams, five cutters, as well as a Sector Field Office in Atlantic City, and Marine Safety Detachment in Lewes, Delaware.
Previously, Captain Cooper served as the Deputy Sector Commander at Sector Delaware Bay. Prior to that, he was assigned to U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, DC, where he served as the Deputy and later Chief of the Office of Budget Development for the Deputy Commandant for Operations (DCO-82). There, he helped develop the Coast Guard’s annual $10 billion budget and worked to recapitalize the service’s surface and air assets, shore infrastructure, and command and control systems, while providing critical funding for current operations and mission support.
A native of Killingly, Connecticut, he graduated with high honors from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Management in 1991. He holds an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, and a master’s degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. He is a graduate of FEMA’s National Emergency Management Executive Academy.
Captain Cooper is qualified as a permanent Cutterman, Surface Warfare Officer, and Boat Forces specialist, and is certified as a Type 1 Incident Commander. His previous assignments include tours in USCGC Cowslip and USS Hayler, service as a Search and Rescue Controller in Honolulu, Hawaii, command of USCGC Monhegan in Key West, Florida, and as the Chief of Incident Management and later Response Department Head at Sector Delaware Bay. He served as a Deputy Incident Commander and Branch Director for the BP/Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster in 2010 overseeing the massive response efforts in Louisiana and the Gulf of Mexico. Captain Cooper is the recipient of three Meritorious Service Medals, three Coast Guard Commendation Medals, the Navy Commendation Medal and several other personal and unit awards.