Maritime Civil Affairs–Should This Navy Mission More Properly Belong to the Coast Guard?

The Small Wars Journal has an article, “Maritime Civil Affairs” by Paul W. Taylor, decrying the Navy’s failure to adequately provide for Maritime Civil Affairs.

He describes this mission as follows:

“Those military operations that enhance the relationship between military forces and civil authorities in localities where maritime forces are present; require interaction and consultation with other maritime interagency, intergovernmental, and non-governmental organizations; indigenous maritime populations and institutions; and the maritime private sector; and which involve application of maritime functional skills to problems that normally are the responsibility of civil government to enhance the conduct of civil-military operations.”

And he sees the requisite skill set as:

  • Protection of the maritime environment;
  • Operation and maintenance of ports, harbors and waterways;
  • Governance of maritime environments, industry, and resources; and
  • Maritime law enforcement, security, and safety, including migration control.

First, I am not surprised the Navy has had a hard time filling this role, and second, this sound a whole lot like Coast Guard missions.


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