Maritime Safety and Security Team Honolulu welcomes new commanding officer

HONOLULU—Lt. Cmdr. Helena H. Robinson relieved Lt. Cmdr. L. Michelle Hoerster as commanding officer of Maritime Safety and Security Team Honolulu (MSST) during a change of command ceremony at Coast Guard Base Support Unit Honolulu, Friday.

Capt. Gail Kulisch, the U.S. Deployable Operations Group Acting Commander, presided at the ceremony.

The change of command ceremony is a time-honored tradition and formal ritual conducted before the assembled company of a command to confirm to the men and women of the unit that the authority of command is maintained. The ceremony is a transfer of total responsibility, authority and accountability from one individual to another.

Hoerster served as the commanding officer since June 2007 and departed to assume the duties of deputy division chief at the Coast Guard’s International Training Division in Yorktown, Va.

Robinson is reporting to Honolulu after serving as the Coast Guard liaison officer at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence for the past two years. During her tour, she provided Coast Guard expertise and conducted National Intelligence Program oversight of seven U.S. intelligence community agencies in five executive departments.

“I’m very happy to serve in the beautiful state of Hawaii, and I am proud to lead the highly trained professionals of MSST Honolulu,” said Robinson.

Robinson received her Bachelor of Science degree and commission from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in 1999. She began her career as a deck watch officer aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Venturous, homeported in St. Petersburg, Fla. After a two-year assignment patrolling the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, she transferred to the current intelligence branch of the Coast Guard Intelligence Coordination Center at the National Maritime Intelligence Center in Suitland, Md. While there, Robinson was responsible for monitoring the Indications and Warning System, performing Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection analysis, and conducting intelligence briefs to the Commandant of the Coast Guard in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York City and Washington, DC. From 2004 to 2007, she served as the executive officer of the newly commissioned MSST in Miami, Fla. As the executive officer, she oversaw all operations, administration, human resources, and maritime homeland security deployments throughout the Atlantic area. In July 2008, Robinson earned a Master of Science degree in strategic intelligence from the National Defense Intelligence College in Washington, DC.

MSSTs were created under the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002 in direct response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and are a part of the Department of Homeland Security’s layered strategy directed at protecting seaports and waterways. They provide waterborne and a modest level of shore-side antiterrorism/force protection for strategic shipping, high interest vessels, and critical infrastructure. MSSTs are a quick response force capable of rapid nationwide deployment via air, ground or sea transportation in response to changing threat conditions and evolving Maritime Homeland Security mission requirements.

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