SAN PEDRO, LOS ANGELES - One of the U.S. Coast Guard's most important responsibilities in Southern California is protecting the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
And they demonstrated their readiness on Thursday in front of U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly.
Coast Guard members conducted a nuclear-detection drill, boarding a cutter that simulated a hostile ship. In the "short-notice maritime response" drill, they boarded the cutter and performed a systematic sweep for radiation.
Kelly, now at six months on the job, said he was impressed by what he saw but said there is always room for improvement.
"The threat always changes," Kelly said. "So we always have to be on top of that."
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department also has high-tech equipment used to help detect nuclear materials that may be smuggled into the port complex.