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The underwater telecommunications industry is rebounding from unused fiber optic capacity installed prior to the collapse of the telecommunications marketplace. Dark fiber will be equipped in the next 18 months to meet forecasted demands for 2004 and beyond. World events have increased the demand for secure high bandwidth underwater fiber optic communications, and at the same time the telecommunications service providers are struggling with maintenance and protection expense containment. In light of the events of September 11, 2001, there is a vital need for increased security to protect critical underwater infrastructure that is essential for global communications. With the emphasis on homeland security in the United States and allied countries, protection of underwater fiber optic networks, marine depots and cable ships, landing sites and terrestrial cable runs to stations and backhaul facilities is coming under increased scrutiny. In addition, expanded roles are evolving for new Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUV), which include burial and jetting plows, Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV), and Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV). Current UUV designs are capable of supporting faster, more accurate surveys, deeper burial of fiber optic systems, locating and de-trenching faulted cables for repair, and security surveillance. Communications protection is essential to the nation's economy and the livelihood of multinational corporations, and government agencies. This paper addresses the evolving underwater cable system environment, the infrastructure at risk, enhanced protection from acts of physical aggression using traditional cable protection practices, new technology developments, and the effects security considerations may have on maintenance support and cable protection.