Joint Maritime Threat Working Group convenes at Kunsan

KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Korean and American members who attended the Joint Maritime Threat Working Group ride on a Korean Coast Guard patrol boat along the Gunsan coastline as part of the two-day working group meeting Sept. 3. The Joint Maritime Threat Working Group consists of Korean and American law enforcement agencies who work together to share information and capabilities on maritime threats.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Roy Lynch)

KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Korean and American members who attended the Joint Maritime Threat Working Group ride on a Korean Coast Guard patrol boat along the Gunsan coastline as part of the two-day working group meeting Sept. 3. The Joint Maritime Threat Working Group consists of Korean and American law enforcement agencies who work together to share information and capabilities on maritime threats. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Roy Lynch)

KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- With Korea being surrounded on three sides by water, the maritime threat is of concern for law enforcement and security personnel.

To combat this threat, more than 30 Korean and American law enforcement agents met at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Sept. 3, for the first of many, joint forces maritime threat working group hosted by AFOSI Det 613.

This inaugural meeting had representatives from Korean Defense Security Command, the Korean National Police, Korean Coast Guard, customs and immigration agents and members from both the Republic of Korea Air Force and U.S. Armed Forces representatives. The group came together to share information focusing on the maritime threat.

"Partnering is key, especially overseas," said Special Agent Jeff Tang, Air Force Office Special Investigations Det. 613 commander.

"We rely heavily on our counterparts throughout Korea. They know the threats, the specific issues, and ways to counteract these threats and issues."

During the working group, members from the different agencies briefed on their specific mission and how they counteract the maritime threat.

"This type of cross communication really helps educate everyone about how we and our counterparts operate," said Agent Tang. "It really helped to have a common operating picture of what everyone does and how they carry out their mission. It's so closely related to ours that keeping those communication lines open are extremely important."

The group was an all-around success not only to the U.S. members but for the Korean counterparts as well.

"One agent, or agency cannot control this type of maritime threat on his own," said Chang Chu Kim, Kunsan Defense Security Command commander. "With all of our counterparts contributing information to counteract this threat the outcome will be much better. This process of learning and working together cannot be measured ... it is so important."

The meeting, which was split into two days, wrapped up with a ride in one of the Korean Coast Guard's vessels for a short trip to certain spots in the peninsula.

"This is an impressive gathering of security, intelligence and counterintelligence professionals," said Lt. Col. Jeff Hurlbert, Air Force Office Special Investigations 5th Field Investigations Squadron commander. "We can't accomplish our mission without strong partnerships. Meetings of this nature further strengthen those partnerships and help us accomplish the mission more effectively."