A Quick Look at Guam.

File:Guam in Oceania (-mini map -rivers).svg

BreakingDefense has a post on the inadequacies of Guam’s infrastructure for support of additional Military presence. I’m referencing it here because, I think in the long run we are going to need to put more assets in Guam, to look after the huge Western Pacific EEZ. Ultimately I think it would be a good idea to base two or three Offshore Patrol Cutters there. Right now the Coast Guard has a 225 foot buoy tender and two 110s. The Navy supplies SAR helicopter assets in lieu of CG air assets.

To see how much of our EEZ is in the Western Pacific, look here, and keep in mind that Mercator projections are deceptive, making areas in the high lattitudes looks disproportionately large. The US has the Largest EEZ in the World and 85% of it is in PACAREA.

Late addition: Incidentally, it is about 3300 nautical miles from Guam to Hawaii, long way. The HC-130Js can fly that far unrefueled, if we had any in the Pacific, but the older “H” models at CGAS Barbers Point can’t. Even the “J”s would not have a lot of excess for doing searches flying between Oahu and Andersen AFB. It is almost 600 miles further from Kodiak. Maybe we ought to have some fixed wing there too.

27 thoughts on “A Quick Look at Guam.

  1. I would think for Guam, you can base an 2 to 4 OPC’s, 4 to 6 FRC’s and a small Airwing of MH-60’s or Mh-65’s. Even putting one NSC over at Guam wouldn’t hurt at all.

    • 8 NSC’s are replacing 12 378’s and they aren’t even all funded or built yet, and you actually think we’ll have extra NSC’s to station 1 in Guam? The OPC’s haven’t even started building yet, 2 to 4 OPC’s, 4-6 FRC’s in Guam, seriously?? Which homeports and vital missions from our other AOR’s would you have us abandon to carry out your “very well thought out” fantasy plan to have the Coast Guard take over the Navy’s job? It’s obvious because you have no operational knowledge of how the Coast Guard, infrastructure and logistics work in real life that you just made these numbers up. Please give us a very detailed technical explanation of how you came up with these numbers and how to deal with the absence of cutters in our other AOR’s that this will cause to base this big Coast Guard fleet in Guam to deal with the Chinese, since you believe the Navy is no longer able to do it. I guess you’d have the Navy take over Coast Guard missions to compensate?

      • I think putting 2 to 4 OPC’s in Guam would give us a HUGE presence when the NSC’s are not in the area. At the same time you can stick 4 to 6 FRC’s in areas such as American Samoa, Northern Mariana Islands, Saipan or Tinian Island. If were going to pivot to the Pacific, we might as well consider putting 2 OPC’s and 4 FRC’s in Guam or in American Samoa, Northern Mariana Islands, Saipan or Tinian Island. It would give us a presence in our EEZ, and if the US navy is going to pay and fund those hulls, I would not have a problem as well.

      • Nice try, all you did was repeat your post, only worded slightly differently and equally vague. The Navy isn’t funding our cutters, so that’s the first problem with your plan. We aren’t getting extra cutters. So, which CG AOR’s will you abandon to move all of these cutters to Guam. Will it be Hawaii, Bering Sea, Caribbean, Eastern Pacific?? They have to come from somewhere. Where will the extra crews come from for these non-existent cutters in a Coast Guard that is drawing down into a smaller force? Also since the infrastructure doesn’t exist for so many forward deployed cutters and since our budget isn’t getting bigger, how will you support them? Details please? The Navy isn’t authorized by law to perform our missions when we abandon those other areas for Guam. Also the Navy only provides our weapons systems, that’s all. They don’t provide any funding to authorize and build our cutters. Understand? It’s also possible the planned number of new cutters will still shrink as budget cuts continue. So please tell us how the Coast Guard is going to become a “major power” in the Western Pacific. Details, now’s your chance to prove your expertise without copying and pasting something from another poster.

      • @Guest Coastie
        (edited, no personal attacks, please– Chuck)
        First of all we can do what we have. We simply put 4 FRC’s, 2 OPC’s in Guam, American Samoa and Northern Mariana Islands. Looking at their AOR in Guam and their EEZ, they sure can use an FRC and OPC for their patrol area. I don’t think the 110s can patrol the distance from Guam to American Samoa or to Northern Mariana Islands. Which is why an OPC would be a step up for Sector Guam. They would have an OPC & FRC that can cover the distance that an 110 patrol boat & a 225 ft seagoing bout tender can’t do.

        Which is why having an OPC’s and FRC’s in Guam’s EEZ and AOR would give them presence, sea legs and distance to patrol further then what they have now. It would free up the NSC to patrol elsewhere, and if the NSC needs to be in Guam, it would take them about a week or two to sail to Guam from California or Hawaii.

        My way of funding more for the USCG is that if the US Navy doesn’t use up all their funding for their programs. All the left overs that the US Navy has would shift to the US Coast Guard for their usage.

      • Lol priceless. Just repeated your answer without explaining anything. The Navy doesn’t fund our ships, get that straight. There are no left overs that go to the Coast Guard as has been pointed out to you many many times by other posters, but you just don’t learn. Your plan is impossible without pulling cutters out of other areas. Our workforce is shrinking, budget cuts, and the total number of planned OPC’s and FRC’s could very well end up being less as the cuts continue. Why do refuse to except reality. Funding for the Coast Guard doesn’t work the way you think it does, this has been pointed out to you many times.

    • @Guest Coastie
      (edited–Chuck) We can deploy an OPC and FRC to Guam. That’s cause of Guam’s EEZ. How do expect to cover Guam, American Samoa and Northen Mariana’s EEZ with an a 110 patrol boat or a buoy tender. What Guam needs is something more than a 110 Patrol boat such as a FRC and OPC to cover Guam’s AOR.

  2. Does anyone know if Sequoia went to do Philippine relief? It seems like that is pretty much SOP for disasters out there: remark navigation channels, provide deck load cargo to areas of shallow water and little port infrastructure. Some of the OPC designs in consideration have provision for deck loads. The addition of side scan sonar would allow the OPC to sneak their way into channels that have had the marks blown out or shoaled bottoms. Side scan isn’t exotic tech anymore.

    • Side scans are usually towed, meaning not much help going into a harbor the first time, but portable units could be towed by a small boat like a Long Range Interceptor.

      There are also small high resolution hull mounted sonars available, commonly used for avoiding mines. For some reason I seem to remember the National Security Cutters have one, but I haven’t found confirmation.

      • There’s a new generation of hull mounted sonar with side-scan capabilities that don’t use towed fish. They have reached a price and capability point where they are becoming common on sport fishing and dive boats, especially when interfaced with a large multi-function display that is already in use for radar, charts, etc. I’ve got friends that are using ~$1500 units to find new or previously un-located wrecks to explore. This is a capability that I’d expect to see being installed in the fleet’s small boats in the near future, especially the ATON fleet.

  3. Well, the article was about the infrastructure’s inadequacy’s to support 5000 Marines and >1000 dependents, which are being pulled out of Okinawa. Guam is pretty constricted as is. The civilian population, combined with the port on the SW end and Air Force base on the NE end, there’s little geography left for a Marine Brigade.

    From a strategic standpoint, it’s a shame we must leave Guam at all. Alternate western Pacific bases are FAR away. Honolulu (>5000 mi), Darwin (>2500 mi), and Attu (>3000 mi) are possibilities, but none are ideal, or what I would call “close.” I suppose they could split up the Marines between Kwajalein, Wake, Eniwetok, and Guam, but the 3 island groups East of Guam add another 1200-1500 miles (still closer than Hawaii, though). ALL of these US facilities in Central/Western Pacific need significant infrastructure upgrades, except Wake’s airfield which is fairly new.

    With Anderson AFB, it would be easy to, and operationally it makes complete sense to, station a det. of C-130Js there. Navy H-60s coordinated by Sector Guam are probably adequate for rotary-wing SAR. I’ve always felt it makes more sense to permanently homeport WHECs/WMSLs in Hawaii, as this would be fairly equidistant from US west coast, Alaska, and US’ western Pacific posessions. Of course, there’s not enough CG infrastructure at Honolulu to do this… The FRCs will be a great fit to Pacific operations; better than the 110s I think.

    • Bill,
      I think putting 2 to 6 FRC’s in Guam, Wake Island or Northern Mariana Islands would be a good idea. I even think putting 2 to 4 OPC’s in Guam would give the USCG a massive Presence in the area, The NSC’s can stay in Hawaii, and the OPC & FRC can be stationed in Guam.

      • Nicky,
        There’s two 110s there already. Presumably, as the FRCs keep getting built, they’ll eventually replace the 110s including the 2 at Guam.

        What mission would 4 additional large patrol boats and 2 to 4 OPCs do at Guam, which isn’t being done now? Also, from where would you take these resources, in order to put them out there?

      • I also think there should be Patrol Vessels larger than WPBs there. There are huge chunks of EEZ in the Western Pacific that don’t get much attention. Probably two Webber class and two OPCs would be sufficient. Certainly a huge improvement over what we have now.

      • @Bill Smith
        For the OPC’s they would cover for the NSC when they are not in the area such as Wake Island, American Samoa, Northern Mariana Islands, Saipan and Tinian Island. Putting 2 to 4 OPC’s with 4 FRC’s would give use a huge presence in the area.

      • Well, if dedicated Arctic Patrol cutters would be built, the NSCs would have some of their operational/deployment time freed up for working the Pacific, which is where the NSCs really belong.

      • Bill,
        That’s what I am banking on, that we have an Arctic OPC for Alaska and the Arctic regions. That would free up the NSC for Guam and the Pacific. If we had 2 built for Alaska, it would free up the NSC for other areas.

    • Wish I could go back and edit my post… First line of second paragraph should say: “it’s a shame we have to leave Okinawa at all…” My point was that strategically, Guam is pretty far away from hotspots of Paracels, Taiwan, So. Korea, although Guam is closer than the other alternatives like Darwin, Hawaii, or Attu.

  4. Pingback: Alameda-based Coast Guard cutter and crew depart for Western Pacific patrol | Chuck Hill's CG Blog

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