Type of operations include:
(1) Littoral surveillance support operations (LSSO) - LSSO refers to the synergy developed between the capabilities of an MIUWU and those of the LSS operated and manned by the Naval Space Reserve Program. The combined capabilities of the MIUWU and LSS resources provide a naval tactical commander with timely receipt of all weather, day/night maritime and littoral intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance data from selected national, theater, and tactical systems. The MIUWU's role in this operation is one of support only; providing security, equipment and communications support. MIUWU personnel do not man or operate the equipment of the LSS. That task falls to personnel assigned to a LSS/NFN unit which provides the cleared and trained equipment operators.
(2) Harbor approach defense (HAD) operations - HAD ensures the unimpeded use of designated offshore coastal areas by friendly forces and denies the use of these areas to enemy forces. HAD operations are an extension of HD/PS operations into the littoral area. This area is also referred to as a defensive sea area (DSA). HAD operations are performed by NCW forces, freeing up theater forces for employment elsewhere. HAD is a focused NCW operation that complements broader naval operations designed to maintain SLOCs.
(3) Harbor defense/port security (HD/PS) operations - There are two distinctly different applications of HD/PS operations, depending on whether the tasks being conducted are expeditionary or for homeland defense. The primary goal of expeditionary HD/PS operations is maintaining unimpeded access and security within ports and harbors. In homeland defense, terrorism and sabotage are the primary threats within the port or harbor.
Harbor defense (HD) — "the defense of a harbor or anchorage and its water approaches against external threats such as: (a) submarine, submarine-borne, or small surface craft attack (b) enemy minelaying operations and (c) sabotage." HD operations involve conducting surveillance, employing defensive measures, and monitoring ship movement within the harbor and port.
Port security (PS) — "the safeguarding of vessels, harbors, ports, waterfront facilities, and cargo from internal threats such as destruction, loss, or injury from sabotage or other subversive acts; accidents; thefts; or other causes of similar nature." These operations are not law enforcement operations in that security forces are not charged with maintaining order within a port area.
(4) Antiterrorism/force protection (AT/FP) - The goal of AT/FP is to reduce the likelihood of a terrorist attack, and effect mitigation if one occurs. Preventative measures in AT/FP must include awareness of the threat, physical security enhancements, and the deployment of forces in a layered defense. AT/FP plans identify and, when implemented, reduce the risk of loss or damage to people, equipment, and facilities. Plans provide procedures to detect or deter planned terrorist actions before they take place. The plan addresses the reactive or tactical stage of a terrorist incident, including direct contact with terrorists to end the incident with minimum loss of friendly life and property. The layered defense concept employed by NCW forces is an effective means of deterrence against terrorism. Layered defense is additive to the point defense employed by individual ships within the NCW AO. Random antiterrorism measures, when activated by NCW forces, serve to disguise the security measures, in effect thereby denying terrorist surveillance the opportunity to accurately predict security actions, further enhancing the deterrence created by force deployment.
(5) Point defense operations - In the case of a ship or aircraft using a port or airfield where security is a concern and the Host Nation security infrastructure (in the case of expeditionary operations) or CONUS port security measures (in the case of homeland defense operations) are inadequate, the employment of various components of the NCW force for point defense may be appropriate. Point defense is generally conducted in confined and traffic-congested harbors and ports and air space occupied by friends, adversaries, and/or neutrals. This environment complicates threat identification, stresses C2 capabilities, and makes reaction times critical. NCW forces assigned point defense normally operate in a Level I or II threat environment to protect ships (in transit, at anchor, or in port), aircraft on flight lines, and very important persons (VIPs). Threats may come from agents, saboteurs, enemy sympathizers, terrorist groups, small tactical units, unconventional warfare forces and guerilla groups involved in surface, subsurface, or air attacks. Some of the specific means used by these adversarial forces include: High-speed attack craft, Innocent appearing civilian boats, Swimmer delivery vehicles (SDVs), Mini-submersibles, Divers, Mines, Small aircraft or Vehicle based improvised explosive devices (IEDs) (i.e., car bombs).