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Coast Guard Research and Development Center supports drug interdiction operations in Western Hemisphere

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Ensign Jennifer Hansen prepares a technology go-kit

Ensign Jennifer Hansen prepares a technology go-kit for shipment to cutters deployed in the Caribbean and East Pacific. Additional Coast Guard cutters and Navy ships were deployed to targeted areas to prevent drug cartels from taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to smuggle more narcotics. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Cdr. Anderson Ogg.


The Coast Guard Research and Development Center Science and Technology Innovation Center (STIC) is playing an important role supporting current drug interdiction operations in the Western Hemisphere.

In April 2020, President Trump announced that the United States would deploy additional Coast Guard cutters and Navy ships in the Caribbean and East Pacific to prevent drug cartels from taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic and smuggling more narcotics. The STIC quickly moved to support the effort by developing go-kits comprised of augmenting technology to support Coast Guard cutters. In close coordination with the Coast Guard Atlantic Area Command, the STIC team worked to assemble the first technology go-kits for shipment. These kits included underwater remotely operated vehicles, maritime object tracking technology, weapons trainers, language translators, infrared imagining devices and narcotics scanning devices.

The diverse group of military and civilian members of the STIC overcame many challenges including those posed by the current pandemic in order to execute this mission. “The ingenuity and dedication of the members of the STIC have been exceptional in overcoming every challenge,” remarked Lt. j.g. Ryan Major, research lead for the effort. “We will continue to work with each cutter and (Atlantic Area Command) to ensure that we can best support this mission moving forward.”

For more information: Research and Development Center program page and Research, Development, Test and Evaluation program page