China is reporting they will combine assets of four separate maritime law enforcement agencies to form a new Coast Guard.
The new agency will combine the China Maritime Surveillance (CMS) of the State Oceanic Administration (SOA), Fisheries Law Enforcement Command (FLEC), the anti-smuggling force of the General Administration of Customs, and their “Coast Guard” (aka Maritime Police in Chinese).
Ironically from the US point of view, SAR is not one of the agency’s responsibilities as the Maritime Safety Administration (MSA) of the Ministry of Transport will remain separate.
The Economist notes, “Experts have long lobbied for an end to the separation of maritime policing responsibilities between different forces, nicknamed the “Nine Dragons”. While hawkish military experts hope the merger will strengthen China’s enforcement of its territorial claims, some foreign policy experts hope it could help reduce tensions as rival agencies no longer feel compelled to compete for public attention and funds by challenging ships from neighbouring countries.”
Additional sources: http://china-defense.blogspot.com/2013/03/the-real-chinese-coast-guard-is-finally.html
This is an article the Commandant referred to in his “State of the Coast Guard” speech:
I particularly note these two paragraphs,
“But to do that, the government has to integrate the “Five Dragons”, train and cultivate more law enforcement personnel, and improve the weaponry and equipment. This will not only narrow the forces’ gap with developed countries but also make it strong enough to deter marauding countries.
“And after the establishment of a unified and strong “China Coast Guard”, the government should ensure its personnel train, whenever possible, in conjunction with the navy and set up a seamless intelligence network and an information-sharing mechanism. The establishment of a unified “China Coast Guard” is a real need, and the earlier it is done the better it will be for the country.”
This suggest an organization much more like the USCG, that the ships will be armed, that the service will constitute a naval auxiliary in war time, and that they will be included in the military intelligence organization.
I thought they already had a coast Guard?
I’ve seen the ships with the blue stripes on the bow when they were in the news about the dispute with Japan over those islands.
It is not that they did not have a Coast Guard, it was that they had five agencies all doing Coast Guard work. Discussed here: https://chuckhillscgblog.net/2010/08/21/chinas-coast-guards/
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A bit more here (particularly if you can read Chinese) including a photo of an armed cutter with four blue stripes and “China Coast Guard” on the side. http://china-defense.blogspot.com/2013/03/photos-of-day-uniforms-and-emblem-of.html
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The Chinese are repainting their ships to reflect the new organization. You can see their new version of the “coast guard stripe” here: http://china-defense.blogspot.com/2013/06/photos-of-day-from-fisheries-law.html
This from MarineForum without identifying source:
CHINA (very knowledgeable) blogger explains system for renumbering paramilitary ships in new (amalgamated) China Coast Guard: CMS and FLEC ships are getting first digit 1 in North Sea, 2 in East Sea, and 3 in South Sea … second digit indicates displacement, such as 1 for 1,000 -1,999 tons … 3rd and 4th letter then serial numbers, usually retained from previous hull numbers.
This seems to indicate a very rigid form of assignments that would be very foreign to the USCG.
Chuck the rigidity was common in the RCS. Many cutters and officers were assigned more or less permanently to one or two regions. Mike Healy is a prime example as or the captains of the Great Lakes cutters. The first Harriet Lane was built primarily for service in and around New York but events and history changed that.
The Chinese are telling their own people (and the rest of the world) about their new Coast Guard–it will be armed, and it will be more aggressive.
A view of the emergence of the Chinese Coast Guard by a respected commentator:
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