War on the Rocks offers a suggestion as to how to build greater cooperation and trust and support international norms in the Western Pacific.
“…establishment of a Combined Maritime Task Force Pacific that would be modeled off the Standing Naval Forces Atlantic construct that NATO operated in the 1970s and 1980s… It included 6-10 surface ships (destroyers, cruisers, frigates and support ships) that attached to the squadron for up to six months at a time…the real utility was that its permanent and consistent nature allowed contributing navies to work together to build interoperability during peacetime…it was always signaling contributing navies’ growing alignment and desire to work together.”
This seems like a pretty good idea, but I would suggest one change. Make the purpose of the force Law Enforcement (particularly fisheries), SAR, and Disaster Relief/Humanitarian Assistance and use primarily Offshore Patrol Vessels instead of conventional warships.
Signaling a shared belief in the norms of international behavior, and a determination to uphold those norms, would be the primary objective.
There are lots of potential participants beside the USCG, they might include navies or coast guards of Vietnam, Indonesia, Brunei, Singapore, Australia, India, Malaysia, Thailand, Japan, S. Korea, and the Philippines. COM7thFleet has already asked for a USCG presence, but this would not be under the COCOM. It would be a cooperative enterprise between participating nations, in most cases, coast guard to coast guard.
All the vessels involved could host ship riders from the nation(s) where the force is operating.
We already plan to have most of the Bertholf class cutters in the Pacific, and putting three OPCs in Guam could further facilitate the arrangement.
This avoids the complications of a military alliance, but strengthens the hand of SE Asian nations that might otherwise be intimidated by China.
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“Toward a new Maritime Strategy in the South China Sea” https://thediplomat.com/2018/06/toward-a-new-maritime-strategy-in-the-south-china-sea/
Interesting suggestion – the part about learning to work together better is great as is what I think is to rotate the vessels involved to have more crew and officers experienced working with other Coast Guards
Some background on general trends in the area from an Australian point of view. https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2018/08/01/mice_that_roar_patrol_and_coastal_combatants_in_asean_113675.html
ASEAN Navy Chiefs Affirm Commitment to Strengthen Cooperation. “A significant achievement of the meeting was the adoption of a joint statement by ASEAN Navy Chiefs for the first time. The joint statement signals ASEAN navies’ willingness to strengthen practical cooperation in maritime security, information-sharing, and practice Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES) as a confidence-building measure.” http://www.navyrecognition.com/index.php/news/defence-news/2018/august-2018-navy-naval-defense-news/6397-asean-navy-chiefs-affirm-commitment-to-strengthen-cooperation.html
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This is a good argument why this is needed. “…as Chinese propagandists remind the world, the Americans always sail away, and civilians will be subject to intimidation and harassment as soon as the U.S. Navy is once again beyond the horizon.” https://nationalinterest.org/feature/understanding-and-defeating-china’s-maritime-insurgency-south-china-sea-34637?fbclid=IwAR2DSEU94ornCaXnMlxw2uOy2ha5ArPgjrOAcOHiW7WF3r-LcwuG5J-BDJw
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I still think my idea above has a role in responding to the Chinese https://www.defensenews.com/opinion/commentary/2021/04/09/beijing-has-pierced-washingtons-deterrence-bubble-how-can-the-us-recover/
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This sounds a bit like the organization I was talking about above.
Looks like the trilateral Malacca Straits Patrol discussed here might grow into the kind of Combined Maritime Security Task Force I have advocated above. https://ipdefenseforum.com/2022/03/defense-minister-highlights-singapores-centrality-to-maritime-security-cooperation/
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