APEC's Multi-Agency Communications Center to play crucial role in security

Published: Nov. 8, 2011 at 9:04 PM HST|Updated: Nov. 9, 2011 at 3:10 AM HST
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The Multi-Agency Communications Center, or "MACC"
The Multi-Agency Communications Center, or "MACC"
Derek Verdeyen
Derek Verdeyen
Greg Patton
Greg Patton
Frank Montoya
Frank Montoya

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The US Secret Service on Tuesday showed off the capabilities of the Multi-Agency Communications Center, or MACC, which will play a crucial role in security operations at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders' Meeting this weekend.

The exact location of the center can not be disclosed for security reasons.

During the APEC Leaders' Meeting, vital information will be fed into and be disbursed out of a secret spot in Honolulu. It's the Multi-Agency Communications Center, where representatives from federal, state and county agencies, the military and utility companies -- 48 partners in all -- will huddle and receive situation and intelligence updates around the clock.

"They each probably have their own command centers," Derek Verdeyen, US Secret Service, said. "What we're trying to achieve here is a higher level of situational awareness and a common operating picture, which actually helps us all make the informed decisions that we need to make through the course of these events."

In front of the 71 seats are screens designed to provide that constant situational awareness. Next to the video wall is an incident monitor that will feature updates on traffic problems, medical emergencies or other issues.

One practice case involved a chlorine leak at Campbell Industrial Park.

Using the information that comes in, authorities will evaluate the significance of the incident -- whether it poses a low, medium or high threat to the APEC Leaders' Meeting, which is designated as a National Special Security Event.

"This is the first time it's ever happened that we've had an NSSE on an island like this," Greg Patton, US Secret Service, said. "Every one of these events, we learn something new. What you'll see out of this is, in this MACC, it's more organized than it's ever been at any NSSE."

As for protestors, authorities are continuing the process of identifying those looking to break laws or cause damage.

"Are there indications that some of these kinds of individuals are on the island? The answer is yes," Frank Montoya, Federal Bureau of Investigation, said. "Do they have a propensity for violence? Are they doing anything that is causing us concern right now? The answer is no, but we are paying attention to who they are."

Another interesting note -- this is the first National Special Security Event in which the Secret Service will be using Twitter to keep the public informed.

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