CIMSEC – Compared to the marquee U.S. military installations at Diego Garcia, Yokosuka, or Guam, American Samoa is a U.S. territory that evokes images of idyllic island life rather than strategic competition. However, by considering American Samoa through the lens of strategic competition, a military installation manned by the U.S. Coast Guard is an easy step to demonstrate commitment in the region that makes imminent sense for several reasons. Due to the sheer distances involved in the Pacific — the closest Coast Guard installations are from Hawaii (2,260 nautical miles) and Guam (3,120 nautical miles) — current sustained operations in region are necessarily expeditionary.
CIMSEC – With all the negative publicity surrounding the Navy’s littoral combat ship (LCS) program, it would seem self-evident the Coast Guard has no interest in acquiring the LCS as a hand-me-down. However, with the recent publishing of “In Dire Need: Why the Coast Guard Needs the LCS,” a newly found interest in acquiring problematic navy platforms may be growing and deserves to be judged on its merits.
USNI News – The top Coast Guard officer remains optimistic at the pace of expanding the fleet of cutters despite delays in design and construction that have pushed back the expected delivery date of the first new polar icebreaker.
USNI Proceedings – The Coast Guard needs better tools to effectively prevent and respond to the escalating cyber threat.
CIMSEC – Port authorities must ensure security twenty-four hours a day, every day. This task includes continuous inspection of port assets, threat detection and security response, as well as on-demand inspections after storms or other disasters, ongoing surveys to ensure navigable waterways, hull inspections, and a wide-range of other missions. Unmanned surface vessels can fill this gap better than legacy approaches.
USNI Blog – Faced with increasingly challenging operational scenarios, the Coast Guard must embrace unmanned systems as tip of the spear technologies to maximize capabilities and maintain relevancy in an era of international and environmental uncertainty.
CIMSEC – In the spring of 2021, defense-minded internet message boards and social media were ablaze at headlines that the U.S. Navy would be decommissioning the first hulls of the decade-old Littoral Combat Ship (LCS). A chorus of “good riddance” posts and thought pieces followed. Though the Navy maintains it intends to keep using both Independence and Freedom variants of the LCS, it is no secret that the program has been beleaguered with class-wide mechanical issues. As many in naval thought circles lament and debate what the Navy will do in the way of near shore combatants in contested waters, a unique opportunity has emerged for the U.S. Coast Guard.
War Zone – The U.S. Coast Guard’s only operational heavy icebreaker might not have a replacement by the time it needs to retire, even after a major overhaul.
CIMSEC – This installment discusses the prolonged detention of suspected smugglers aboard Coast Guard cutters and the interaction between intelligence gathering and the trial penalty during prosecution.
CIMSEC – Every day, U.S. Coast Guard cutters patrol the eastern Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea for drug smuggling vessels, seizing more cocaine than all other American law enforcement agencies combined. Federal prosecutors then bring charges against the detained smugglers under a controversial and confusing legal regime. By analyzing the lifecycle of a case – from interdiction to detention to prosecution – this two-part article explores (1) the extraterritorial jurisdiction established by the Maritime Drug Law Enforcement Act (MDLEA); (2) the practice of detaining suspected smugglers aboard Coast Guard cutters for weeks without formal arrest; and (3) the interaction between intelligence gathering and the trial penalty. In each of these instances, a different branch of the federal government is pushing against – if not overstepping – legal constraints in order to empower the Coast Guard in the fight against maritime drug smuggling. This is a fragile system, however, and should one of these government branches become squeamish, the whole apparatus could collapse.
USNI Blog – The global value of the U.S. Coast Guard to the nation and U.S. combatant commanders has never been higher, but it remains the least-funded U.S. armed force, making it difficult to keep pace with the increasing demands placed on this multimission, military, and maritime agency.
CIMSEC – The US Coast Guard’s similar and enduring missions around maritime resource extraction make it well-suited to enforce domestic and international law in the expanding industry of seabed mining. The service should prepare for seabed mining by engaging with allies and partners and by supporting scientific research and environmental protection.
Line of Actual Control – Trying to make sense of how the US Coast Guard and the Chinese Navy went toe to toe off Alaska
USNI News – The U.S. Coast Guard’s status as a military service coupled with its law enforcement roles allows it to effectively contribute to both the military and maritime law enforcement requirements of the Indo-Pacific region, according to the commander of U.S. Coast Guard units operating in the region.
USNI Proceedings – With fewer Coast Guardsmen choosing to go to sea, the cutter fleet is facing rough waters. Without intervention, it could be difficult to man, maintain, and operate the future fleet.
CIMSEC – Losing the green water sea control challenge in the South China Sea could sideline US-led efforts in Asia. The US Coast Guard’s Deployable Specialized Forces can step up to provide strategic support for INDOPAC command.
USNI News – A Coast Guard Cutter is now in the Black Sea, a first for the service since 2008.
USNI News – The Coast Guard remains in big demand at home and overseas as it continues to modernize the service and develop its force.
USNI Blog – The U.S. Coast Guard, the world’s ocean-beat cop, is well-suited for the diplomatic-military role required to curtail China’s bullying in the South China Sea, while still retaining its reputational goodwill in disputed regions. The Coast Guard can act as diplomatic warfighters, offering a gloved hand (that can hold brass knuckles.) With a series of minor course adjustments, the Coast Guard can remain relevant in ocean governance and security, and may yet thwart the demise of its cuttermen and its fleet.
USNI Blog – The Coast Guard has stood the watch along U.S. coasts since the earliest days of the Revenue Cutter Service, protecting against myriad threats large and small. As the current National Security Strategy directs the U.S. military to refocus on countering peer and near-peer threats, the time is ripe for the Coast Guard to field coastal defense cruise missiles (CDCM) to both defend the homeland and prevail in a war at sea.
USNI News – For the first time in almost five decades, the Coast Guard’s heavy icebreaker won’t be supporting Antarctic scientific missions in coming months but will operate instead the Arctic near Alaska, the ice breaker’s commander said recently.
CIMSEC – In February 2020, the U.S. Coast Guard published guidelines for port facilities to address cybersecurity threats. The new guidelines were needed, but they are not enough. The U.S. Coast Guard should, to carry out its legal duty to safeguard the maritime transportation system, energize the domestic rulemaking process to adopt uniform and enforceable cybersecurity rules for maritime facilities.
USNI News – The Coast Guard has begun at-sea testing of unmanned surface vehicles off the south shore of Oahu to see if the autonomous craft can help provide persistent maritime domain awareness in remote areas of the large ocean
USNI Blog – Considering the historical role space has played in maritime security, the Coast Guard should partner with the USSF to help shape the doctrine and space-based capabilities that will directly contribute to the Coast Guard’s maritime security mission in the decades to come.
Forbes – The San Diego based Coast Guard cutter Bertholf has interdicted a drug-laden narco-submarine in the Eastern Pacific. These vessels are extremely hard to detect and dangerous to board, but the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy and partner forces have stopped at least 19 so far this year.
(Thanks to Alain)