Major conflict with China “is coming,” U.S. Strategic Command’s chief warns outright…Navy Admiral Charles A. Richard, has warned that the U.S. should anticipate, and prepare for, a protracted conflict with China in the near future – which could be triggered by further hostile actions toward Taiwan by Chinese forces.
I will admit, that military commanders always tend to look at the worst case scenarios. That seems to go along with the job, but Admiral Richard may know things we do not.
It is abundantly clear that the Chinese are building ships at an amazing rate (and here) and many of them are extremely impressive. It appears increasingly likely China will attempt to retake Taiwan in the near term.
The Coast Guard has been increasingly active in attempting to shape our international environment in peacetime.
Perhaps it is time for the Coast Guard and our Navy partners to start taking the Coast Guard’s potential war fighting role more seriously.
There are significant oportunities for development of modular weapons and sensors (and here) that could be brought aboard Cutters and operated by Navy Reserve personnel. The Coast Guard could do a lot to protect the logistics train from Chinese submarines.
The Coast Guard’s fixed wing aircraft are a significant potential asset for protection of the homeland from surprise attack.
In terms of nation defense, the Coast Guard is a bargain. For small marginal cost, preexisting Coast Guard platforms can be upgraded to provide significant capablity. The problem is that the upgrades may be needed early in the conflict. We may not have months or years to make changes.
And of course, the future option of upgrades has no deterrent effect.