Citizen’s Action Network Named Finalist For 2007 Kennedy School of Government/Noblis Award

SEATTLE – The Citizen’s Action Network (CAN), a program operated by the U.S. Coast Guard to engage the maritime community in the protection and management of America’s ports and waterways, was selected as one of the national finalists for the Kennedy School of Government/Noblis Innovations Award in Homeland Security.

CAN, one of five finalists, honors the best programs from across the nation that help keep America safer. The finalists were selected by Noblis and the Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Mass.

CAN was developed in 1999 to help the Coast Guard more efficiently carry out its all-hazards missions by matching waterfront citizens, tribal members and businesses to Coast Guard commanders through a national interactive, computer-based maritime computer network. Participating citizens provide critical maritime information on demand, essentially operating as force multipliers for the service. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police joined the Coast Guard on this initiative in 2006 and now operate a similar version of CAN in British Columbia.

The other finalists include: the Department of Homeland Security, Preparedness Directorate, for its Integrated Common Analytical Viewer; the Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance for its Terrorism Modeling and Analysis Program; the state of Michigan for its Emergency Drug Delivery Resource Utilization Network; and the state of Washington for its Critical Incident Planning and Mapping System.

The winner of the Kennedy School of Government/Noblis Award will be announced this summer.

The Coast Guard continues to look for additional volunteers to join CAN along the Oregon and Washington Coasts, The San Juan Islands or on the Columbia River.

The Coast Guard calls on CAN members to assist with a variety of missions to include search and rescue, pollution incidents and aids to navigation to name only a few. The only requirements for participation are members’ having access to a phone and a strategic view of the water.

The CAN program is successful in not only lending aid to the Coast Guard, but it also saves taxpayers thousands of dollars. It costs approximately $1,200 per hour to operate a Coast Guard 47-foot motor lifeboat. A helicopter or larger cutter may cost anywhere from $9,000 to $12,000 an hour. Members of CAN have the ability to reduce search times by providing valuable eyes on scene information when called upon by Coast Guard operation centers.

Individuals interested in becoming a CAN volunteer, or who would like more information on the program, should contact the Thirteenth Coast Guard District Public Affairs Office at 206-220-7237 or visit the CAN website.

The below video about CAN is from 2005 when CAN was known as Northwest Watch.

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