New Tasking in the Pacific

Nationalgeographic.com is reporting that the US will extend the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument to 200 nautical miles off shore, from almost 87,000 square miles (225,000 square kilometers) to nearly 782,000 square miles (2 million square kilometers). This includes the waters off Howland Island, Baker Island, Jarvis Island, Palmyra Atoll, and Kingman Reef, Wake and Johnston Atolls. These are waters that don’t see a cutter very often, and it is almost one seventh of the entire US EEZ.

In addition the White House announced a commitment to combat Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing.

Doesn’t this look like justification for more Cutters?

Declaring a reserve without enforcement is useless. To me this sounds like ample justification for another cutter to be based in Hawaii. The OPCs are not ready so that means a Bertholf Class. The Coast Guard has been saying they really need nine NSCs Since the workload is increasing, increasing assets is only logical. Long lead items for the eighth and final NSC were included in the FY2014 budget and full funding is expected in FY2015. I’m am sure Huntington Ingalls and their Congressional delegation would be happy to see the series extended by another unit.

29 thoughts on “New Tasking in the Pacific

  1. So does this justify the US Coast Guard in needing more National Security cutters to patrol those areas. Which in turn would need more manpower to man those NSC and OPC. What about basing an OPC or NSC in Guam to patrol those areas

  2. I think we now have our answer about the USCG’s role in the Pacific pivot.

    Like the idea of homeporting a NSC or OPC on Guam. Don’t love the idea of a 9th NSC because I would rather the OPC program get off the ground.

    • I love the idea of basing the NCS or OPC in Guam, Midway Atoll, Wake Island or American Samoa. You can even make a convincing argument to base the FRC their as well. I think it would give the USCG room to leverage to the DoD in Pivoting to the Pacific. You can even make a much larger argument to get more NSC and OPC for the Pacific Pivot, if the USCG can make a deal with the USN that they can’t refuse.

      • I’ve been to Midway, it is largely abandoned to the gooney birds. It is really not suitable for supporting large cutters.

        Bases for large cutters really should support more than one ship. Three or four seems to work well. If they only have one ship to support what do they do when it is away?

      • @BMCS, “Apparently there’s enough there to land a 777.” If you are referring to Midway. It used to be a Naval Air Station. P-3s out of there. But as I said it is largely abandoned. There are lots of old buildings there, but it has become a nature preserve. The gooney birds are everywhere including on the runways.

      • Forgot to hit the snark button on my post. The 240+ passengers corralled in a dilapidated hanger was quite the sight. I thought getting held up in Denver due to a broken plane was unpleasant!

    • The Ninth NSC would only make sense if we proceed with the OPC funding as planned. Frankly I hope once the OPC design is chosen, the program will be accelerated. It will save the country money in the long run in addition to giving the Coast Guard more timely replacements.

      I would like to see two or three OPCs in Guam along with a couple of Webber class. But if we did that, we would also probably need a CG airsta there as well, to provide the helos for the OPCs. Guam probably should have that as well, but they have no representation in Congress.

      There is an intention to put Webber class in Guam.

      • A Navy Helo squadron provides SAR support for the CG operating from Guam now. Perhaps it would be possible for them to operate from OPCs based in Guam. Could be a win/win for both the Navy and the Coast Guard.

      • Chuck,
        That’s why I think the USCG should consider basing an NSC, 2 to 3 OPC along with 2 to 4 Webber class FRC in Guam, American Samoa or Northern Mariana Islands. I also think the USCG should try an convince the US navy of they help finance for more NSC, FRC and OPC as part of the Pacific pivot.

        For example, you can put an NSC in Guam. One OPC each in American Samoa & Northern Mariana Islands. Two FRC’s in Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa.

        Which is why I think Guam should be the next place to put an NSC, FRC and OPC.

      • It will be interesting to see what they station on Guam. The base is being expanded to house more Marines with the Okinawa drawdown. And they currently have 4 LA boats there and a cutter.

        It seems like that will need to increase. And with some Navy officials mentioning the need for white hulls in the Pacific, it would sure make sense to have a large Coast Guard presence there.

  3. I just don’t see much of this happening. These ideas cost money. Lots of it. IF there is going to be much expansion, it would likely only sell, if the Navy funds the 9th NSC. (Personally, I’d like to see that, and I’d like to see #8 & 9 be a “Flt. B” built like the PF. But, as everyone paying attention knows, the Navy is strapped for cash to the tune of wondering about deployment schedules and whether some SSNs and CVNs will get refueled…) The money certainly isn’t in the DHS budget.

    Any Pacific Pivot for the CG will be to the detriment of the East Coast. My question is how much politics plays into it. If the assets come from D8 and D7, it’s ALL political.

    • personally I would like the lcs to be cancelled and money and personal turned over to the coast guard so we can build the coast guard fleet we need. Let the coast guard focus on MSO operations while the Navy focuses on power projection. The Coast Guard needs to realize that our job isn’t saving lives but the security of our maritime domain. rather it be fish, energy, or shipping. I feel every cutter should use the Treasury Class as a example of what a cutter should be. Designed and built to take into consideration lessons learned during prohibition, but the government aka FDR realized that we had a threat in Hitler’s Germany and they took that into account. The Battle of the Atlantic was one big MSO. and even though they were navy ships, most were coast guard manned. And even then the Treasury class was the best ASW ship of the war.

      Sorry for rambling.

    • Bill,
      I think that if the US Navy cancels the LCS program right now and go with the NSC patrol frigate and shares the cost with the US Coast Guard. I think it would be possible to base an NSC & possibly an OPC in Guam, American Samoa or Northern Mariana Islands.

      Judging by what’s stationed at Sector Guam, such as:
      CGC Washington
      CGC Assateague
      CGC Sequoia
      Which are 2 110 Island class patrol boats and 1 225 Juniper class Bouy Tender. I think Sector Guam is a prime candidate for NSC, FRC and OPC. That’s cause looking at Sector Guam’s AOR, they would need something like an NSC, FRC and OPC in their sector to patrol the far end of the Northern Mariana Islands and possibly the American Samoa as well.

      Which is why I think putting one NSC and two OPC in Guam. Two FRC’s and OPC’s each would go to Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa as well. That way the USCG would have coverage for all their territories.

      One option I was thinking, if it was possible and feasible was that the USCG takes LCS-1 Design with heavy Engine modifications for more economical Diesel engines and more fuel tanks for longer patrol area and can be used in places such as Sector Guam and District 14.

      • FRC out Guam or the Central Pacific make no sense at all. The Central Pacific is much larger and lacks the natural chock points that you see in the Caribbean. That is why the first eighteen FRC are assigned to the 7th District. They may put one or two in Guam, to cover the local area around Guam. But that is about it.

      • Cutterman75,
        The FRC’s would simply replace the two 110 Island class Patrol Boats that are at Sector Guam. Though I believe that the USCG should put an NSC and two OPC’s in Sector Guam’s AOR.

  4. What the Coast Guard needs cover this vast area of the Pacific ocean, is a large air station at Guam. I mean a air station like Kodiak with HC-130’s , MH-60’s and HH-65’s helicopters. But the question, where are you going to get the aircrafts and the money?

      • Well maybe the Navy have better luck with their Triton then Air Force with their Global Hawk. One out of four crash, not a good record at all! Oh that right they are the same aircraft.

      • Well maybe the Navy have better luck with their Triton then Air Force with their Global Hawk. One out of four crash, not a good record at all! Oh that right they are the same aircraft.

        Instead using a very trouble drone aircraft. How about taking a Gulf Stream 650 jet and installingTriton/Global Hawk sensors package on it. The Gulf Stream has service ceiling of 51’000
        feet and a range over 6000 nautical miles range. Just a thought!

      • James I doubt if the USN will be very interested in patrolling the EEZ around Howland Island, Baker Island, Jarvis Island, Palmyra Atoll, and Kingman Reef, Wake and Johnston Atoll.

  5. A correction it is one word Gulfstream. Also there is a new version called 650 ER with a range of 7,500 nauitcal miles.

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