“Connectivity Maketh the Cutter” –USNI

In the August 2019 issue of US Naval Institute Proceedings, their annual “Coast Guard focused” issue, you will find the three prize winning Coast Guard themed essays. First prize went to Cdr. Craig Allen, USCG. The essay contrasts the promise of Networked assets, that was a major feature of the Deepwater Program and still being touted, with the disappointing reality he sees in the actual implementation.

Put bluntly, in the past several years cutter connectivity has climbed in urgency from concern to crisis. The negative impact of poor connectivity on current mission execution already is cause for alarm, but the more important concern is the constraint it will place on the Coast Guard’s ability to shape future operations.

The whole essay is well worth the read.

The common operational picture promised is no where to be found.

As I have been pointing out since at least 2011 (also here), there is no reason our units should not have Link 16. The Navy puts it on helicopters, and I believe on the 85 foot MkVI patrol boat, so it would certainly fit on Coast Guard patrol boats, fixed wing aircraft, and our helicopters. It would improve interoperability not only with other Coast Guard units but also other US armed forces and Allies. It is a proven, widely used system. Link 16 would be very useful if we ever do become part of the US Fleet’s distributed lethality or if we need to call in Navy assets to assist the Coast Guard.

4 thoughts on ““Connectivity Maketh the Cutter” –USNI

  1. The other side of this is that perhaps there is too much expectation that routine matters can be communicated when ships are underway.

    When we go to war, we will want to avoid emitting as much as possible because it will give away our position but routine matters will have to continue.

    We need to shape the system to reflect the realities of underway ships, not expect them to meet the norms of well connected shore stations.

  2. Pingback: The Other Prize Winning USNI Coast Guard Essays | Chuck Hill's CG Blog

  3. Pingback: Coast Guard Commander Craig Allen talks about challenges with national security cutter connectivity. | Chuck Hill's CG Blog

  4. Pingback: Is Our Fleet Recapitalization on Course? Do We Need to Change the Destination? | Chuck Hill's CG Blog

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