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Computer Application Will Randomize USCG Port Patrols

The Coast Guard deployed the Port Resilience Operational/Tactical Enforcement to Combat Terrorism system on Feb. 1.

A computer application developed at USC that makes security patrols virtually impossible to predict has been deployed at the port of Los Angeles and Long Beach, it was announced Wednesday.

The system uses complex algorithms to randomize U.S. Coast Guard patrols. The application extends to the maritime domain software that was deployed at Los Angeles International Airport to schedule vehicle checkpoints and canine patrols, according to USC.

"The goal is to make patrol patterns unpredictable for an enemy that is trying to conduct surveillance to plan an attack, and yet simultaneously ensure that patrol time is used effectively to ensure maximum protection of high value targets in the port," USC computer scientist Milind Tambe said.

The Coast Guard deployed the Port Resilience Operational/Tactical Enforcement to Combat Terrorism system on Feb. 1 at the twin ports, which together rank No. 8 in the world by container traffic, according to the university.

The Coast Guard is vetting the software program with the hope of eventually rolling it out nationally, said Craig Baldwin, the Coast Guard's program manager for the system.

By making patrol schedules difficult to predict, the application aims to make it impossible for would-be attackers to determine when a particular target will be protected.

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