The Maritime Security Response Team (MSRT) is a specialized tactical force of the U.S Coast Guard. MSRT is a highly trained unit capable of conducting helicopter insertions against armed hostiles, scuba operations, and can storm disputed oil platforms or ships. Though not apart of the US Special Operations Community, the MSRT is considered to be about as close to “special operations capable” as the Coast Guard can get. The unit’s aim is to become the nation’s lead maritime tactical response force.
Elements of the MSRT’s primary assault force are known as Direct Action Section. Members of a DAS may include a Team Leader, Comms/JTAC’s, Breachers, Medics, Precision Marksmen Observation members (snipers/observers), and team members trained to identify Chemical Biological Nuclear Radiological (CBRN) threats. They are made up of Coast Guardsman that have volunteered to attend selection and screening for the unit. Once they have successfully completed all phases of the assessment and selection process, they are assigned to a team, where they undergo even more scrutiny throughout their qualification process. If they successfully become qualified, they integrate fully with the team and continue to hone all aspects of the skill sets needed on an assault team. These assault force teams train extensively in advanced close quarters combat and advanced combat marksmanship. They are well equipped to quickly and surreptitiously board suspicious vessels, secure gas and oil platforms or secure land based targets by fast-roping from helicopters or using other undisclosed methods to neutralize enemy personnel. The Tactical Delivery Team, boat assault force, are trained in advanced vessel delivery tactics and stealthy delivery of the main assault force as well as follow on forces.
The MSRT is the only unit within the Coast Guard that has counterterrorism capabilities to conduct action against hostile targets. The MSRT is trained to be the first responder to potential terrorist threats, deny preemptive terrorist actions, execute security actions against armed hostiles and/or non-compliant threats, execute tactical facility entry, participate in port level counterterrorism exercises, and educate other forces on Coast Guard counterterrorism procedures. Although the MSRT’s focus is primarily on the safety and security of homeland defense, it is capable of rapidly deploying worldwide in response to incidents. Other specialized units and federal agencies that MSRT routinely train with are U.S. Navy SEAL teams, U.S. Navy HSC Squadrons, Navy EOD, Special Mission Units, the U.S. Secret Service, FBI, U.S. Border Patrol’s BORTAC, and US Customs and Border Protection SRT.