Saildrone Ramps Up Maritime Security Capabilities with Key Hires from Navy, Coast Guard

Illegal fishing, drug interdiction, counter-piracy, and asset protection are just some of the applications for Saildrone’s autonomous maritime security solutions.

September 1, 2021

We are excited to announce two new members of the Saildrone team who will be instrumental in helping us to expand our efforts in maritime domain awareness and to help improve global maritime security. 

The addition of Cameron McCord as Head of Defense and Bob Kelly as Program Manager for US Coast Guard and Homeland Security Operations provides Saildrone with solid experience in maritime security that will help Saildrone to grow and scale security-related operations.

Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) is the effective understanding of anything associated with the safety and security of the global maritime domain, illegal, unregulated, and unreported (IUU) fishing, protection again human trafficking and drug enforcement, counter-piracy, and above surface and below surface environmental analysis. Saildrone is committed to providing autonomous solutions for exploring, mapping, and monitoring the ocean to understand and protect our planet. 

McCord served in the US Navy as a fast attack submarine officer completing multiple priority-one deployments to the North Atlantic and European Command area of responsibility and spent over 430 days underwater. He transitioned from the Navy in 2019 after achieving the rank of Lieutenant to pursue the commercial side of national security.

“Saildrone leverages cutting-edge engineering to tackle massive problems of climate safety and maritime security. I believe there is no greater cause than working to protect our climate and to be a part of a company that understands and appreciates the gravity and seriousness of this mission is a privilege,” said McCord. “In addition, being able to pursue important national security objectives that keep our oceans safe, promote freedom of navigation and international maritime norms and standards, and leverage data to better understand our ocean environment, is a dream come true.” 

McCord also has worked in numerous civilian roles, including as a Congressional Liaison for the Navy, where he worked with the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) and the subcommittee on Intelligence, Emerging Threats, and Capabilities (IETC), and helped contribute to the 2020 Future of Defense Task Force report where he advised Members of Congress, professional staff, and senior DoD officials on emerging technology applications with a specific focus on ML and autonomy.

McCord earned BS and MS degrees in physics and nuclear engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is currently pursuing an MBA from Harvard Business School.

“As a venture associate at Lux Capital, where he focused on the intersections of emerging technology, venture capital, and national security, Cameron was instrumental in shaping Saildrone’s initial MDA capabilities, so we are thrilled he has decided to join the team full time,” said Saildrone founder and CEO Richard Jenkins. “Cameron and Bob will be valuable contributors as we seek to expand our capabilities in maritime security.”

Bob Kelly, Saildrone Program Manager for US Coast Guard and Homeland Security Operations, at Saildrone HQ in Alameda, CA.

LCDR Bob Kelly, USCG (Ret)  spent his 20 years in the Coast Guard focused primarily on operations. He served aboard USCGC Morgenthau (WHEC-722) and USCGC Munro (WHEC-724), and he also did a tour aboard USS Lynde McCormick (DDG-8) as part of the USCG/USN exchange program. Kelly was a member of the original Coast Guard District Seven Tactical Law Enforcement Team (TACLET), from which the Coast Guard's Deployable Specialized Forces (DSF) program grew, and he was Commanding Officer of the US Coast Guard Pacific Area Training Team. After concluding his active duty career, Kelly served 16 years as a Coast Guard Civilian specializing in resource management, strategic planning, and budget formulation.

“The energy and focus at Saildrone in our MDA, Ocean Data, and Ocean Mapping business lines has a great deal of commonality with the 11 US Coast Guard Statutory Missions. I’m incredibly excited about the opportunity we have to use our talent and technology to support the Coast Guard and other Homeland Security partners in the execution of their missions,” said Kelly.

Kelly is a graduate of the US Coast Guard Academy with an MBA from Saint Mary’s College (Moraga, CA). He also completed the US Naval War College Non-Resident program and the Asia-Pacific Orientation Course (APOC 17-3) at the Daniel K. Inouye Asia Pacific Center for Strategic Studies.

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Cameron McCord, Saildrone Head of Defense, at Saildrone HQ in Alameda, CA.