It starts like this:
“Congress and the Trump administration could do far worse than double or triple the size of the U.S. Coast Guard fleet. (Let’s hear no more about drastic cutbacks.) Last month Military Times reported that the Coast Guard leadership has entered talks with the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command to send a cutter to the region to help “temper” Chinese influence while “building partner capacity” with friendly African navies and coast guards. The troubling thing about the report is the definite article the reporter deploys: the coast guard will dispatch “a” ship if the talks with IndoPaCom bear fruit. A = 1.”
The US Naval Institute blog has a small post, ‘Brandish America’s ‘Small Stick’
The author of the piece is significant. James R. Holmes , currently professor of strategy at the Naval War College, one of the most prominent naval thinkers of the 21st century. It would be hard to find a more influential voice in support of a more international role for the Coast Guard.
If we really want to do something like this, I will insert a shameless plug for my idea of a “Combined Maritime Security Task Force Pacific.”
While we are building a Webber class replacements for the 110s assigned to PATFORSWA under CENTCOM perhaps we should be building a batch to be based in Guam or Singapore for INDO-PACOM. Maybe some for SOUTHCOM and maybe AFRICOM too.
Some previous articles along these lines:
Really good article and points by the author, but it is a little confusing.
At one point he says double or triple the size. Does that mean across the board (30+ NSCs, 70+ OPCs, 160+ FRCs)??
Then he says to add to the highest-capable end of ships, so obviously the NSC.
Later he says add tons of “flotilla vessels,” which in context of the article seems to mean FRCs…
Well, which is it?? I think he has the strategy down exactly, but the execution is sketchy.
While a good concept, I think more expeditionary missions for the Coast Guard will stretch its organization perhaps too much. There is not enough support bases overseas as well.
There is no doubt that some more the current cutters should be procured. The Navy should spend more SCN funds on coastal patrol ships. Not just to replace the Cyclone class PCs but also to increase its small combatants for littoral waters.
A dual-service ship program is a good means of acquisition.
It is definitely a missed opportunity, especially how the NSC could fulfill the frigate role so well. I think the Navy will find 20 years from now, the CG procured much better small ships (NSC & OPC) than the Navy did recently (especially LCS; we’ll have to wait and see on FFX).