Customs and Border Protection’s Air and Marine Operations Center (AMOC) celebrated its 25th Anniversary on August 22. Since 1988, AMOC has evolved from air-border threats to an international, all-threats operations center staffed with U.S. interagency personnel and various Mexican government personnel. AMOC discovers and anticipates criminal use of non-commercial air and marine conveyances and mitigates these threats by coordinating an immediate federal, state, local or international law enforcement response to suspect activity. Additionally, AMOC supports disaster response with situational awareness and operations coordination.
Established 25 years ago as the Air Operations Center/C3I-West, a state-of-the-art law enforcement radar surveillance center, AMOC’s initial responsibility was to counter Southwest border airborne drug smuggling threats. In 1994, C3I-West and East merged into one center at C3I-West’s location on the then March Air Force Base in Moreno Valley, Calif. The new center was named the Domestic Air Interdiction Coordination Center (DAICC) and its responsibility grew to encompass the entire Southern Border. In 1999, Customs Commissioner, Raymond Kelly, merged the Customs air and marine interdiction programs. The name was then changed to the Air and Marine Interdiction Coordination Center (AMICC).
Responding to the early morning attacks of September 11, AMICC worked with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to coordinate all aircraft movements throughout the national airspace and identify suspect activity. With AMICC’s coordination support, the Federal Aviation Administration, Defense Department and Office of Air and Marine Operations established an air security bubble around the country within 24 hours of the crisis. AMICC’s newly discovered capabilities initiated responsibilities far beyond monitoring the Southern border.
At the onset of 2003, the Department of Homeland Security and CBP were established, and AMICC became the Air and Marine Operations Center. For the past 10 years, AMOC has made great strides in investigative support, technology and intelligence used to secure the airspace and waterways throughout the United States and beyond. In 1998, the capacity of the Air and Marine Operations Surveillance System (AMOSS) increased from 6,000 to 12,000 tracks displayed and 128 sensors integrated. Today, the AMOSS can display 50,000 tracks at one time and ingest 700 sensors.