“Coast Guard Reshaping Body Fat Measurement Standard in Pilot Study” —

USS Zephyr (PC 8) and U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment Pacific personnel, conducting operations in support of JIATF-S Operation Martillo. U.S. Navy photo by MC3 Casey J. Hopkins

The US Naval Institute has post regarding the Coast Guard’s body fat measurement methods.

It sounds like the Coast Guard will use a decision tree with a lot of “if then” statements.

There is a weigh in. If you pass you are home free, if not, then to the taping.

The body fat screening involves taping males on their necks and waist, and females are taped on their necks, waist and hips. The member is now also taped with the abdominal body fat measure, Rooney said. If the member passes either of those two measurements, they are considered compliant.


The Coast Guard standard for the abdominal circumference is a maximum of 39 inches for men and 35.5 inches for women.

For Coast Guard members who exceed both taping measurements, Rooney said they receive a medical screening to determine if they’re eligible to take a physical fitness test, involving a 1.5- mile run, push-ups and sit-ups. Standards are age-based.

“If they pass it, then they’ll be in compliance,” Rooney said. “If they are not eligible, refuse to take it, or they fail it, they will be screened as we already do for medical events that maybe we have missed, and if not there, they’ll be placed on medical weight probation.”

There is more in the original post. Sounds relatively easy to comply, but still sounds like the threat of separation is the only motivation for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It might be said that motivation should come from within, but there are circumstances where the demands of the job discourage healthy lifestyles.

I always appreciated the fact that the Coast Guard generally gave me a place and time to exercise. Hopefully everyone is getting this opportunity and is encouraged to take advantage. For the unit this may be a short term sacrifice, but it pays long term dividends.

We might provide motivation for heathier choices by having physical fitness on fitness reports and enlisted marks and support of fitness for subordinates included on fitness reports and senior enlisted marks. 

Guided Rounds for the 57mm Mk110, ALaMO and MAD-FIRES, an Update

Comments on the recent post, “Defense Primer: U. S. Precision-Guided Munitions,” had enough new information to justify an update on the two smart rounds being developed for the 57mm Mk110, ALaMO and MAD-FIRES. We last discussed ALaMO on April 2, 2019 and MAD-FIRES, May 28, 2019.

This 24 July, 2019 report on MAD-FIRES confirms that, “If ordered, MAD-FIRES won’t be the first smart, guided ammunition for the LCS and FFG(X). The ALaMO round is preceding it. Designed by L3, ALaMO (Advanced Low-cost Munitions Ordnance) HE-4G is a low-cost 57mm guided smart munition being developed for the U.S. Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship, new Fast Frigate, and the U.S. Coast Guard’s National Security and Offshore Patrol Cutters. (emphasis applied–Chuck)

A 2017 report that suggests MAD-FIRES might be applied to the Mk38 mount and discusses earlier development of guided bullets as small as .50 cal. under the EXACTO program.

This 2018 contract tells us that development of the MAD-FIRES should be completed in May 2020. No indication that the Coast Guard will get MAD-FIRES, but it is probably premature to expect that. 

This 27 Sept. 2019 contract, indicates this is still a DARPA program, meaning it is still in development.

The Raytheon Co., Raytheon Missile Systems, Tucson, Arizona, has been awarded an $11,133,688 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification (P00017) for a within-scope change to previously awarded contract (HR0011-15-C-0081) to develop long-lead, high-risk items in preparation for the MAD-FIRES Phase III program. Fiscal 2019 research and development funds in the amount of $11,133,688 are being obligated at the time of award. Work will be performed in Tucson, Arizona (61%); McKinney, Texas (22%); and Karlskoga, Sweden (17%), with an estimated completion date of January 2021. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Arlington, Virginia, is the contracting activity.

Some speculation: 


The video above seems to show a couple of things about the MAD-FIRES round. First that is expected to “hit to kill” rather than being a proximity fused round. Second that It is a subcaliber round, you can see the discarding sabot parts fall away as the round leaves the muzzle. The discarding sabot suggest it will be a higher velocity round than the current unguided 3P round and that it may have a longer range.

The use of  a different discarding sabot or perhaps none, may mean the same projectile could be fired from either larger or smaller caliber weapons.

The MAD-FIRES program often seems to be linked to an earlier program called EXACTO that created a guided .50 caliber round. That program used a form of laser guidance, which may be the case with MAD-FIRES.

There are reports that the British Type 31e frigate will use the MAD-FIRES round. This is logical in that this will be the first ship in the Royal Navy to use the 57mm gun, but there is also something unusual about this design. In addition to the 57mm, the ship is armed with 40mm guns, one forward and one aft on top of the hangar, in lieu of Phalanx or another CIWS. The 40mm gun, like the 57mm is a Bofors design, marketed by BAE. It may be that the 40mm guns will also be equipped with MAD-FIRES. A 40mm so equipped could start engaging incoming anti-ship cruise missiles at much longer range than Phalanx could. This could be the CIWS of the future.


ALaMO is apparently intended primarily to target smarms of small boats. To at least some extent it can be used against air targets, but the developer has not been making any claims regarding countering anti-ship cruise missiles which may be telling. It may be that ALaMO is not as fast, as maneuverable, or long ranged as MAD-FIRES. It is almost certainly cheaper.

“Defense Primer: U.S. Precision-Guided Munitions” –CRS

The Congressional Research Service has issued a three page, “Defense Primer: U.S. Precision-Guided Munitions.” (Thanks to the USNI news service for bringing this to my attention.)

The remarkable thing is how pervasive these systems have become.

The U.S. military has become reliant on PGMs to execute military operations, being used in ground, air, and naval operations. In FY2020, DOD requested approximately $5.6 billion for more than 70,000 such weapons in 13 munitions programs. DOD projects to request $4.4 billion for 34,000 weapons in FY2021, $3.3 billion for 25,000 weapons in FY2022, $3.8 billion for 25,000 weapons in FY2023, and $3.4 billion for 16,000 weapons in FY2024.

What has this got to do with the Coast Guard? The Coast Guard is a military organization. We are an armed force at all times. We are armed, but we are not really armed for the realities of the 21st century.

Precision guided weapons have the potential to provide the capabilities we need on a wider range of platforms, with increased effectiveness, at lower costs, with less likelihood of collateral damage.

One of the Coast Guard’s core peacetime capabilities should be the ability to forcibly stop a vessel of any size. Earlier I discussed why I believe we are not capable of doing this, here in 2011, and in fact not as capable as we were in the 1920s and 30s here in 2012.

If we are to make a meaningful contribution in any future conflict, we need to be equipped with modern weapons.

Precision guided munitions are no longer reserved for capital ships. Littoral Combat Ships, the Navy combatants that are closest to our large cutters, were built with Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) systems and Naval Strike Missiles are being added. There is not a single class of US Navy surface combatants, down to, and including the Cyclone class patrol craft, that is not equipped with some form of precision guided munition.

It is time for an upgrade.

Guided weapons can give even relatively small platforms a heavy weight punch. Anti-ship cruise missiles and torpedoes have been successfully fitted to numerous classes of vessels of less than 300 tons full load (e.g. smaller than the Webber class).

Certainly precision guided weapons, be they missiles or torpedoes, cost more on a per round basis, but a gun system that can inflict comparable damage requires an expensive gun, a large quantity of ammunition that is expensive, heavy, and a potential danger to the ship itself, extensively trained technician maintainers and operators, and frequent live training. The launchers for smart munitions by contrast may be simpler. The weapons are most frequently “wooden rounds” that require no maintenance, and training programs are frequently incorporated in the launch system software.

Lastly, if we are going to engage targets, potentially within the confines of U.S. harbors, we want to make sure rounds don’t go astray and hurt innocent Americans. Guided weapons are far less likely to cause unintended damage.

The document briefly describes twelve systems. This is certainly not all the systems in the US inventory. I presume, only these are described, because these are the systems that are included in current budget deliberations. I am reproducing the description for the systems that I think are most likely to be applicable to the Coast Guard, preceded by comments on how they might be used by the Coast Guard. The document divides missiles into “Air Launched,” “Ground Launched,” and “Naval,” but as we know, several of these missiles can be launched from ships as well as from the air or ground.

Hellfire, a good candidate for countering small, fast, highly maneuverable surface threats. Also capable of inflecting serious damage on larger targets if multiple rounds are used. Damage is roughly comparable to a shell from a WWII cruiser. Versions are now being used to arm Littoral Combat Ships. They appear to be a good fit for vessels as small as WPBs.

Army Multi-Mission Launcher (MML) firing
(IFPC, “Indirect Fire Protection Capability”) Launching Hellfire missile

Hellfire Missile. The first Hellfire was introduced into service in 1982 on the Army’s AH-64 Apache, using laser guidance to target tanks, bunkers, and structures. Hellfire missiles have a maximum effective range of 4.3 nautical miles. During the late 1990s and early 2000s, Hellfire missiles were introduced on the MQ-1 Predator, and later the MQ-9 Reaper, enabling unmanned aerial vehicles to provide a strike capability. Hellfire missiles have become a preferred munition for operations in the Middle East, particularly with increased utilization of unmanned aircraft like MQ-1s and MQ-9s. 

JAGM, a possible direct replacement for Hellfire. same size and shape:

Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM). The Joint Air-to-Ground Missile is designed to replace the Hellfire, TOW, and Maverick missiles. JAGM uses a new warhead/seeker paired with an existing AGM-114R rocket motor to provide improved target acquisition and discrimination. JAGM underwent testing starting in 2010, declaring initial operating capability in 2019 having successfully been integrated on the AH-64E Apache and AH-1Z Super Cobra attack helicopters.

Naval Strike Missile, chosen for the Littoral Combat Ship and new frigate, this would seem to be a natural fit for the National Security Cutter and Offshore Patrol Cutter. I would prefer the LRASM because of its longer range and much larger warhead, but this system does have a smaller foot print so might fit where the LRASM could not. This is the first time I have seen a maximum range of 300 nautical miles quoted.

A Kongsberg Naval Strike Missile (NSM) is launched from the U.S. Navy littoral combat ship USS Coronado (LCS-4) during missile testing operations off the coast of Southern California (USA). The missile scored a direct hit on a mobile ship target. 23 September 2014.
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Zachary D. Bell

 Naval Strike Missile (NSM). The NSM is an anti-ship low observable cruise missile capable of flying close the surface of the ocean to avoid radar detection. The NSM is designed to fly multiple flight profiles—different altitudes and speeds—with effective ranges of between 100 and 300 nautical miles at a cruise speed of up to 0.9 Mach. The Navy has integrated the NSM on its Littoral Combat Ship, which deployed to the Pacific region in September 2019.


LRASM, this would be my preferred option to arm the NSC and OPC. It has sufficient range to almost guarantee that if there were a terrorist attack using a medium to large ship, we would have a vessel underway, ready, and within range to engage it. Its warhead is almost four time the size of that of the NSM, so it would be much more likely to get a mobility kill with a single round. It, like the NSM, can be launched from deck mounted inclined canisters.

US Navy photo. A U.S. Navy Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) in flight during a test event Dec. 8, 2017 off the Coast of California.

Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM). LRASM was conceived by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, using a JASSM missile body to replace the AGM-88 Harpoon. Flight testing began in 2012 with the B-1B and the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. LRASM uses radio-frequency sensors and electrooptical/infrared seekers for guidance.


If you want to dig deeper into this, the Congressional Research Service has done a much more in depth study of the procurement issues.

“Coast Guard releases inland buoy tender top-level requirements” –CG-9

The Coast Guard Cutter Bluebell sits moored on the Willamette River waterfront in Portland, Ore., June 4, 2015. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer David Mosley.)

The following is from the Acquisitions Directorate (CG-9). Note this refers only to the river buoy tender (WLR/WLI). Earlier, CG-9 indicated that the Inland Construction Tender (WLIC) is expected to share a common afterbody with the buoy tender, so I presume there will be many similarities.


The Coast Guard released top-level requirements for the inland buoy tender waterways commerce cutter (WCC) variant in a special notice Nov. 6.

The WCC program plans to exhibit and present updates at the International WorkBoat Show in New Orleans Dec. 4-6, 2019. The program will have a booth (No. 347) and provide information about its mission needs, status, and desired fielding schedule during a presentation on Wednesday, Dec. 4 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. CST. A team of program members will be available to meet one-on-one on Dec. 4 with any shipbuilder that has built a ship that satisfies the inland buoy tender requirements or that could meet the requirements with minor modifications to the ship. The deadline to request a meeting regarding prospective inland buoy tenders is Nov. 18, 2019.

For more information: Waterways Commerce Cutter program page


I am posting this because, first I think it is important, and two, it extends over such a long period the information might get lost. So it will be here if you need to reference it.

united states coast guard

R 30 OCT 19

ALCGOFF 156/19
1. The Boards, Promotions, and Separations Branch (OPM-1), Assignments Branch 
(OPM-2), Officer Evaluations Branch (OPM-3), and Career Management Branch 
(OPM-4) have scheduled several virtual road shows beginning 13 November 2019. 
Each virtual road show will be led by the Officer Career Management Branch 
and have a guest presenter to offer tailored advice to a specific audience 
and/or topic.
2. The virtual road show schedule and guest presenter is as follows:
  a. 12 November 2019, 1400ET: OPM-3 OSMS 2.0
  b. 11 December 2019, 1400ET: OPM-4 Career Management/CMD Screening Panels 
  c. 15 January 2020, 1400ET:  OPM-1 Promotion Boards 
  d. 12 February 2020, 1400ET: Post Graduate School Counseling Session 1
  e. 11 March 2020, 1400ET: Post Graduate School Counseling Session 2
  f. 15 April 2020, 1400ET: OPM-2 Afloat Assignment Officer
  g: 13 May 2020, 1400ET: OPM-2 Intel/DCMS Assignment Officer
  h. 27 May 2020, 1400ET: OPM-2 Prevention Assignment Officer
  i: 10 June 2020, 1400ET: OPM-2 Support/Special Assignments Assignment Officer
  j: 24 June 2020, 1400ET: OPM-2 Aviation Assignment Officer
  k: 15 July 2020, 1400ET: OPM-2 Chief Warrant Officer Assignment Officer
  l: 05 August 2020, 1400ET: OPM-2 Response Assignment Officer
3. The information we provide is meant to generate a discussion between OPM and 
the officer corps and assist officers in the field with becoming more aware of 
the most current trends and policies affecting their assignments, promotions, 
and evaluations.
4. In an effort to meet the volume of officers requesting Post Graduate counseling 
(mandatory for Junior Officers within their first two tours), OPM-4 will offer 
two virtual road shows as well as post a podcast recording of the presentation 
on the OPM-4 Portal Page in the spring of 2020. Mandatory counseling can be 
accomplished in one of three ways: attend the virtual roadshow, listen to the 
podcast, or thru completion of individual member counseling requests scheduled 
thru HQS-SMB-CGPSC-OPM-4@uscg.mil. Commanding Officers shall note the method by 
which mandatory counseling was attained in the Command endorsement section of 
the Post Graduate Panel Submission in Direct Access. Aviators within their first 
two tours applying to Aeronautical Engineer Officer Training and/or Flight Safety 
Officer are not required to complete counseling with OPM-4, but are still welcome 
to request counseling if desired.
5. To sign up for a virtual road show please email the OPM-4 inbox at 
HQS-SMB-CGPSC-OPM-4@uscg.mil with the subject “VIRTUAL ROAD SHOW” and the 
requested presentation date. We recommend commands encourage their 
officers attending virtual roadshows to do so from one consolidated location. 
This should generate robust wardroom conversation and maximize call in 
opportunities for others. 
6. Call in instructions and additional information will be posted prior to 
each virtual road show on the Career Management Branch (OPM-4) 
portal page: https://cg.portal.uscg.mil/units/psc/psc-opm/opm-4/SitePages/Home.aspx.
7. CAPT M. T. Brown, Chief, PSC-OPM, sends.
8. Internet release is authorized.

“Reorienting the Coast Guard: A Case for Patrol Forces Indo-Pacific” –War on the Rocks

An Air Station Barbers Point HC-130 Hercules aircrew flies over the Coast Guard Cutters Midgett (WMSL 757) and Kimball (WMSL 756) off Oahu, Hawaii, Aug. 16, 2019. The Midgett joined the Kimball as the second national security cutter homeported in Hawaii. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Matthew West/Released)

War on the Rocks has a post suggesting that the Coast Guard, with Navy support, should establish a patrol squadron to support United States Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM), even if it means closing down the existing PATFORSWA.

The Coast Guard’s role as lead agency in multiple Indo-Pacific maritime security institutions, particularly the Southeast Asia Maritime Law Enforcement Initiative, provides opportunities to demonstrate America’s role as a key component of the Indo-Pacific security architecture. A larger, operational Coast Guard role in the region would reinforce this message, and contribute to regional security and sovereignty, in sharp contrast to the Chinese Communist Party’s degradation of both. With appropriate funding and manning, an operational U.S. Coast Guard unit in the Indo-Pacific would add credibility to U.S. institutional commitments at a time when American security guarantees are being challenged across the region.

He suggests that this new command needs to be larger than PATFORSWA.

The Coast Guard recently committed to basing three of these cutters in Guam within two to three years, indicating that U.S. Coast Guard leadership is already looking for ways to maintain forces forward in the near term. However, when considering the size and scope of the Indo-Pacific theater, and the fact that current requirements in the Arabian Gulf call for six boats, three cutters is only a good first step, not a complete solution. A robust force consisting of a mix of six fast response cutters, the Coast Guard’s new Heritage-class offshore patrol cutters, and perhaps a rotationally deployed national security cutter would be appropriately sized and ideally positioned to assume responsibility for security cooperation with Indo-Pacific coast guards and navies seeking increased “white hull” interaction with the United States.

He also sees a role for a Coast Guard Intelligence detachment.

In addition to supporting the proposed Patrol Forces Indo-Pacific, a Coast Guard intelligence unit could fulfill the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act requirement for a U.S. intelligence fusion center in the Indo-Pacific without creating an unnecessary parallel structure alongside those already in existence.

Surface Navy Association Symposium Jan. 14-16, 2020, Hyatt Regency, Crystal City

COLONIA, Yap (July 4, 2019) The U.S. Coast Guard Island-class patrol boat USCGC Kiska and Mark VI patrol boats assigned to Coastal Riverine Squadron (CRS) 2, Coastal Riverine Group 1, Detachment Guam, moored in the Micronesia port of Yap. CRG 1, Det. Guam’s visit to Yap, and engagement with the People of Federated States of Micronesia underscores the U.S. Navy’s commitment to partners in the region. The Mark VI patrol boat is an integral part of the expeditionary forces support to 7th Fleet, capability of supporting myriad of missions throughout the Indo-Pacific. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jasen Moreno-Garcia/Released)

The Surface Navy Association (SNA) Symposium is scheduled for January 14-16, 2020 at the Hyatt Regency, Crystal City.

There is, of course, a National Cuttermen Chapter of the SNA so this may be of interest. There will be a Cuttermen’s call. No charge for Active Duty, Reservist in Uniform, and  Gov’t Civilians.

Details here.