Photo: The Government of Mexico purchased four CN235-300M aircraft (similar to the Coast Guard’s HC-144A). Oct. 1, 2010, the Foreign Military Sales program awarded a $157.9 million contract to EADS North America to produce these aircraft. The fourth and final delivery took place May 2, 2012, at EADS’ facility in Seville, Spain. Photo courtesy of Airbus Military.
CIMSEC has an interesting post that postulates a greatly expanded leadership role for the Coast Guard. In many ways it is radical, but I think it may be the way we are headed.
It suggests an enlarged role in international maritime policing and Foreign Military Sales. That probably implies intelligence collection and distribution.
“Under the umbrella of muscular law enforcement, the Coast Guard would manage not only patrols of the American coast, but also patrols off South America and Africa as well.”
That may already be close to reality in the SouthCom AOR.
The author describes a standard “frigate” that could very well be the Offshore Patrol Cutter:
“The principal requirements would be low cost, ease of maintenance, and margins for growth. The basic warship would have a simple power plant, enough systems to operate as a minimalist patrol ship, and substantial space and weight left available for additions.”
“Built cheaply and in large numbers, flotillas of these semi-modular ships would patrol for pirates off Africa, drug smugglers in the Gulf of Mexico, or vessels in distress off North America.”
He also sees a role for these ships in Amphibious Assaults.
“…the amphibious train would be escorted by frigates (based on the common hull introduced above) specialized with the maximum number of naval guns possible. With these frigates, the amphibious force would be able to defeat enemy forces in waters too constricted for the blue-water warships to operate effectively.”
We have seen a growing Coast Guard role in Foreign Military Sales with the delivery of hundreds of boats to dozens of nations, new 87 foot patrol boats going to Yemen, and maritime patrol aircraft going to Mexico. I don’t think it is too much of a stretch to see OPCs or Webber class WPCs being sold to our allies and friends, possibly funded in whole or in part by US Foreign Military Assistance.
There may be minor issues with his vision. I might argue that in accordance with the post’s logic, force protection should be under Coast Guard management, but generally his views are sound. It is surprising to see so much of a post by a former E-2C/D Hawkeye Naval Flight Officer devoted to the Coast Guard. The whole post is worth a read.