MyCG reports the completion of a Coast Guard UxS Strategic Plan,
“,,,the Coast Guard will find ways to use unmanned systems to improve our mission execution. Second, the Coast Guard will prepare to defend against threats from unlawful use of unmanned systems. Finally, the Coast Guard must establish and enforce a regulatory framework for the safe and lawful use of unmanned systems and automation in the Marine Transportation System.”
Using Unmanned air systems (UAS) and surface systems (USV) for increased Maritime Domain awareness is a no brainer.
Unmanned systems will certainly impact crewing requirements for the marine transportation system, with things like remote watch standers, market forces will make that happen.
The most challenging part of this will be “to defend against threats from unlawful use of unmanned systems.” This should include criminals, terrorists, and malevolent state actors.
For criminals, shipping drugs without using crewmembers that might provide intelligence on their operations if captured, has to seem like a good idea.
The wars in Yemen and Ukraine have already shown us what terrorists or a nation state might do with unmanned surface vessels.
The US Navy and many others are working on unmanned undersea vehicles (UUVs) as weapons platforms.
Will the Coast Guard include countering UUVs as part of its mission?
Will this prompt a return of the Coast Guard’s ASW mission?
It’s likely unmanned surface vessels will be required to counter unmanned undersea vessels.