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National Security Directorate

Coastal Security Institute

Picture of Coastal Institute

The Coastal Security Institute was established at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory as an extension of our marine sciences expertise and capabilities. Our staff have excelled at providing innovative yet practical solutions to challenges in marine research and in national security. The Institute will combine these areas of expertise to address security issues in the marine environment.

The Coastal Security Institute is in large part designed to provide a full set of measurement, assessment and interpretive tools and capabilities to federal, state and local governments and those in the commercial sector charged with the security of near-shore regions. Research conducted through the Institute will provide clients with innovative solutions through our combined expertise in marine and environmental sciences, remote sensing, characterization, electronics, sensors and integration capabilities.


The Institute's overall technical objective is to more accurately and rapidly detect, identify and characterize dynamic coastal environmental phenomena and events in order to respond to the full spectrum of security concerns related to:

Technology Development for:

  • Maritime situational awareness
  • Collection, analysis and characterization of signatures
  • Near-shore characterization, remote sensing and modeling
  • Detection systems (marine sensors and biosensors)

Homeland security for:

  • Test and evaluation facility for radiological/nuclear detection
  • Advanced detection technologies for weapons of mass destruction in coastal environments
  • Coastal vulnerability assessment
  • Coastal and near-shore mapping and monitoring
  • Ballast water assessment for invasive and nuisance species

Defense and military operations for:

  • Near-shore warfare/expeditionary warfare/coastal operations
  • Multiple platforms and sensors: Buoys/UAVs/UUVs
  • Area netted sensors in the marine environment

Marine Research Operations Facility

Marine Research Operations Facility

The Institute is located on PNNL's Sequim, Wash., campus, which for more than 40 years has been home to the Marine Research Operations facility, which includes the Coastal Security Institute and the Marine Sciences Laboratory. This unique facility is located on a 120-acre site on Sequim Bay. The marine research operations facility is the Department of Energy's sole marine sciences laboratory. Its principal contributions have been in marine and freshwater ecotoxicology, trace-contaminant analysis/metals chemistry, organic chemistry, environmental forensics, coastal and wetland restoration, fisheries studies, research in remediation technologies and biotechnology, remote sensing, sensor technologies, coastal engineering, oceanography, and fate-and-transport modeling in ocean and near-shore regions.

Coastal Security Institute