New Units for Alaska, the Haley, and Nome

Northeast Russia and Alaska. Photo: Shutterstock

One of our readers sent me an article from the Alaska Beacon about the need for additional housing for the military that includes some insight into the Coast Guard’s future in Alaska.

The information about the Coast Guard is toward the end of the article. This seems to be confirmation that the two FRCs in Ketchikan will be joined by four more, two in Kodiak and one each in Sitka and Seward, and that their additional supporting infrastructure is being provided.

We already knew the third and fourth OPCs, Ingham (917) and Rush (918), will be going to Kodiak.

What About USCGC Alex Haley?:

The crew of the USCGC Alex Haley (WMEC 39) transfers custody of the detained fishing vessel Run Da to a People’s Republic of China Coast Guard patrol vessel in the Sea of Japan, June 21, 2018. The Alex Haley and PRC Coast Guard crews detained the Run Da suspected of illegal high seas drift net fishing. U.S. Coast Guard photo. Petty Officer 1st Class William Colclough

The Alex Haley is currently homeported in Kodiak. When I saw that two OPCs were to be homeported in Kodiak, my first assumption was that they would replace the Haley as well as USCGC Douglas Munro also based there, but perhaps that assumption was unwarranted.

Alex Haley is nominally a medium endurance cutter, but with a 10,000 nautical mile range and a 3,484 tons full load displacement, she is more of a high endurance cutter with the crew of a 270 foot WMEC.

She is an old ship, having been originally commissioned in 1971, but still younger than any of the 210 and considerably more capable. She is well suited to the Alaskan environment, so I don’t see her being moved outside the 17th District (Alaska). She is simple, meaning she is relatively easy to maintain, but with twin shafts and four engines, she also has redundancy.

She was extensively renovated, and her engines replaced before she was recommissioned into the Coast Guard in 1999, more than eight years after the last 270 was commissioned.

The second OPC to be based in Kodiak probably will not arrive before 2028. The last 210 will probably not be decommissioned until about 2033.

If the intention is to ultimately have three OPCs in Kodiak, as I believe may be the case, there is a good possibility that the Haley could hang on until that ship arrives.

What about Nome?:

USCGC Alex Haley moored in Nome, AK.

There is also mention of the planned port expansion in Nome with a suggestion that the Coast Guard may have units there.

One tight spot may be Nome, where there are plans to expand the city port into a deepwater, Arctic-service port which Moore called a “fantastic opportunity” for Coast Guard operations.

I don’t think we will see either large patrol cutters (unless it is the Alex Haley) or FRCs based there, but moving one of the Juniper class seagoing buoy tenders there, with its light icebreaking capability might make sense. I suppose a medium icebreaker might be a possibility, but that is a very long shot.

There will probably be a seasonal air detachment stationed in Nome.

Thanks to Paul for bringing this to my attention.

China Coast Guard in the Russian Arctic?

Chinese Coast Guard officials observed the April 25 anti-terror exercise conducted by FSB Coast Guard in the Kola Bay north of Murmansk. Photo: Murmanski Vestnik

The Barents Observer has an interesting article, “Russia’s Coast Guard cooperation with China is a big step, Arctic security expert says,” that seems to portend a China Coast Guard presence in the Arctic, perhaps shepherding their fishing vessels.

“The Russia-China memorandum signed in Murmansk opens for joint efforts to combat terrorism, illegal migration, fighting smuggling of drugs and weapons, as well as stopping illegal fishing. The deal was signed by top leaders with FSB Border Guards and the Chinese Coast Guard.”

It may be noteworthy that this meeting was not in Asia, in one of Russia’s Pacific ports. It was in Europe, in Murmansk, on the Kola Peninsula, home of the Russian Arctic Fleet.

This agreement may turn out to be a first step toward joint China and Russia exploitation of Russia’s, as yet unrecognized, extensive continental shelf claims in the Arctic extending all the way to the North Pole and beyond into areas also claimed by Canada and Denmark (from Greenland).

Chinese Navy Submarine and Major Surface Ship Order of Battle

Image: Creative Commons.

Below are some info-graphics provided by Sarah Kirchberger on the CIMSEC Internal Discussions Facebook page. I wanted to share them with you. (Not included in the listings are Chinese aircraft carriers, amphibs, and numerous frigates, corvettes, and other small combatants.) I have also provided her notes included with the three Facebook posts, but first some observations.

Geographic Boundaries of the First and Second Island Chains. Image:China Report 2006.pdf. DOD.

What does this have to do with the Coast Guard?

My expectation is that, if there is a major prolonged conflict with the Chinese, that the primary theater of operations will be inside and around the “First Island Chain” with Taiwan the critical center (Think Malta in the Mediterranean during WWII). The Chinese surface fleet is not likely to make significant operations outside this area. Chinese conventional submarines will also concentrate in this area but will also operate in the Straits that access the South and East China Seas.

The Chinese will make air and missile attack out to at least the “Second Island Chain,” including Guam.

The Chinese will want to attack US logistics and underway replenishment ships outside the Second Island Chain, both for the direct effect of reducing logistics available and for the secondary effect of drawing off units from the primary theater of action.

In the initial phase, the Chinese merchant and fishing fleets might be used to lay mines or even directly attack unarmed logistics and underway replenishment ships using containerized weapon systems supported by satellite targeting. (They might also launch cruise missiles into US ports as an opening salvo.) The Coast Guard Maritime Domain Awareness systems and cargo tracking programs will have a role in neutralizing the Chinese Merchant and distant fishing fleets.

The Chinese will operate at least some of their nuclear submarines (SSNs) (which would have difficulty dealing with USN SSNs) outside the Second Island Chain, perhaps as far East as the US West Coast. While MSC has been told not to expect escorts, the benefits of cutters with embarked Navy (probably Navy Reserve) ASW helicopters (and ultimately towed array systems) within effective helicopter range of a dispersed group of logistics ships to provide at least minimal ASW protection and rescue for the crews of the ships that are inevitably sunk, will quickly become evident. The cutters would hopefully be aided by Navy P-8 maritime patrol aircraft and any combatants making the transit trans-Pacific.

(None of the above reflects anything official, it is just the logic of the geography and the capability of the participants.)

Incidentally the format use below would be a good way for the Coast Guard to present its plans for major cutters.

Now to the Kirchberger posts:

After a long pause in making these info graphics, here is an overview of the *approximate* type and age structure of Chinese nuclear-powered submarines. I am decidedly less confident than with the surface fleet graphs about the accuracy of the information, which is why it took so long. Basically, I have decided to just visualize the data given in Manfred Meyer’s book ‘Modern Chinese Maritime Forces’ (March 2023 update) with some minor adjustments based on cross-checking with own research in Chinese newspaper reports. Despite the caveat, the graph might be useful to some, therefore posting it. I will periodically update as more information becomes available.

Blue arrow means boat is (most likely) in service as of April 2023, white means not yet or not any more in service, but may already be launched. Striped means: status unknown.

Feel free to use and republish (unaltered) with attribution. In case you find mistakes, I’d appreciate a note so I can make corrections during the next round!

Here is now also a visual overview of the PLA Navy’s conventionally powered submarine fleet. Blue arrow means boat is most likely in service as of April 2023, white arrow means not yet, or not any more, but may already be launched. The teal color indicates boats equipped with a (Stirling) AIP. Does not include test submarines (such as the Type 032), the unknown type sailless submarine, nor midget submarines.

Feel free to use and republish (unaltered) with attribution. In case you find mistakes, I’d appreciate a note so I can make corrections during the next round!

The speed of naval shipbuilding in China is such that it is easy to overlook that China has earlier this year commissioned the eighth and last of Flight 1 of its new cruiser, the Type 055 (never mind that the PLAN refers to it as a destroyer – at >12,000t full load, 180m length, and given its armament, it looks like a cruiser more than a destroyer).

Since the lead ship entered service in early 2020, China has commissioned altogether 8 of these Type 055 cruisers within a timespan of just 3 years! Further, 8 more are apparently already in the works, for a class of at least 16.
Here is an updated graphic overview of the type and age structure of China’s large surface combatants. Arrows indicate maximum time in service from commissioning until decommissioning – program start and build start is therefore not shown. 40 years per hull may be a bit long (30 years is common practice in most advanced navies), but in practice some navies have operated their surface combatants that long, so I choose to give the maximum conceivable length.
It is interesting to see how the arms embargo since 1989 initially disrupted naval shipbuilding, leading to multiple classes of just one or two hulls being built next to a Russian import, and how mass production finally took off from the Type 052D onward.
The Chinese official newspaper Global Times commented on the completion of the Type 055 class here:
Feel free to use and reproduce this graph for non-commercial purposes (with attribution) and please let me know in case of mistakes so I can make corrections during the next iteration!

“Preserving Alaska’s living marine resources” –D17

USCGC Bertolf class National Security Cutter off Unimak Island, Aleutians, Alaska

Below is a summary of District 17’s Living Marine Resources conservation and management efforts. There is also information about the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSFCMA), 1976, that resulted in the expulsion of foreign fishing vessels from a 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zone even before the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea and about the North Pacific Regional Fisheries Training Center (NPRFTC) (one of five such centers) that “teaches the enforcement of Conservation and Management Measures on behalf of four international fisheries commissions and 62 signatory nations across North and South America, Asia, Oceania, Europe, and Africa, covering over 80 percent of the Pacific Ocean​.”

April 20, 2023

Preserving Alaska’s living marine resources

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Alaska supports some of the most abundant and diverse marine ecosystems in the world. With more than 46,000 miles of shoreline – more than all of the lower 48 U.S. states combined – the ocean is an integral part of Alaska’s ecosystems, economy, history and culture. According to National Marine Fisheries Service’s (NMFS) Fisheries of the United States 2020 report, U.S. commercial fisheries landed 8.4 billion pounds of seafood valued at 4.7 billion dollars, 199-million saltwater recreational fishing trips were taken, and recreational anglers caught one billion fish with 65 percent released alive. According to the 2019 report, commercial and recreational saltwater fishing supported 1.8 million. Alaska produces more than half the fish caught in waters off the U.S. coast, provides jobs and a stable food supply for the nation, and supports a traditional way of life for Alaska Natives and local fishing communities. Protection of the state’s 5.7-billion-dollar domestic fishery has never been more crucial.  

The living marine resources (LMR) mission is one of two missions focused on protecting fisheries in and outside U.S. waters. The Coast Guard is responsible for enforcing LMR regulations on domestic, commercial, recreational, and charter fishing vessels. Tasked with enforcing applicable fisheries laws in partnership with the NMFS, the Coast Guard’s goal is to provide the at-sea law enforcement presence necessary to reach national goals for LMR conservation and management. Vessel boardings are a critical component to accomplishing this mission providing an opportunity for teams to inspect a vessel’s catch, gear, and other items to ensure regulatory compliance as well as safety.

“The 17th Coast Guard District’s LMR mission is to promote a level playing field in Alaska’s extremely valuable commercial fisheries, protect resources, and ensure safety of life at sea,” said Lt. Cmdr. Jedediah Raskie, D17’s domestic fisheries enforcement chief. “The LMR enforcement mission is a complex operation requiring in-depth planning, multilateral partnerships and inter-agency collaboration. A continued at-sea presence is crucial, and this is only accomplished through dedication and teamwork with our enforcement partners.”

Those partners include:

Coast Guard – Coast Guard Cutters from Alaska, Washington, Hawaii, and California, Sector Anchorage, Sector Juneau, North Pacific Regional Fisheries Training Center, Maritime Safety and Security Teams (MSSTs)

State – Alaska State Troopers, Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G), local law enforcement

Other Federal – NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement (OLE), Department of State, U. S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

Collectively in 2022, D17 patrolled 10,723 NMs, conducted 654 federal LMR enforcement boardings (11 on foreign-flagged vessels), detecting 30 violations on 26 vessels, and seizing catch on three fishing vessels. The top five fisheries violations include logbook discrepancies, no Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) permit onboard, expired or no federal fisheries permit (FFP) onboard, sea-bird avoidance gear not onboard or improperly constructed, and improperly marked buoys on fishing gear.

“Right now, our teams are heavily involved with enforcement surrounding the opening of Pacific halibut and sablefish season,” said Lt. Cmdr. Jedediah Raskie. “The Pacific halibut and sablefish Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) program is the largest catch share program in the U.S. and comprises 90 percent of D17’s total fisheries boardings.”

With the IFQ program, each fisherman has a catch quota that can be used during the open season from March to November. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council developed this program to address issues associated with the race-for-fish that had resulted from the open-access and effort control management of the halibut and sablefish fisheries. Top IFQ violations include: not having an official logbook onboard, no IFQ permit and/or FFP onboard, illegally retaining and/or mutilating halibut, and failure to retain and/or log retaining Pacific cod and rockfish.


The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSFCMA) is the primary law governing mariner fisheries management in U.S. federal waters. The act’s keys objectives are to prevent overfishing, rebuild overfished stocks, increase long-term social and economic benefits, and ensure a safe and sustainable supply of seafood. Prior to the MSFCMA, waters beyond 12 NM were international waters and fished by fleets from other countries.

This 1976 law created eight regional fishery management councils responsible for the fisheries that require conservation and management in their region. The councils are charged with conserving and managing fishery resources from 3 to 200 miles off the coast while the State of Alaska manages fisheries that occur within 3 NM from shore. To learn more, visit  About the MSA — U.S. Regional Fishery Management Councils (

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) is one of the regional councils established to oversee fisheries in the 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). With a jurisdiction of approximately 1,025,000 NM, the council manages more than 140 species within 47 stocks and stock complexes, primarily groundfish in the Gulf of Alaska, Bering Sea, and Aleutian Islands, targeting cod, pollock, flatfish, mackerel, sablefish, and rockfish species harvested by trawl, longline, jig, and pot gear. The council also makes allocation decisions for halibut in concert with the International Pacific Halibut Commission that biologically manages the resource for U.S.-Canada waters. Other large Alaska fisheries for salmon, crab, and scallops are managed jointly with the State of Alaska. More at North Pacific Fishery Management Council – Managing Our Nation’s Fisheries Off The Coast Of Alaska (

To better enforce the fishery council’s management plans, the Coast Guard determined that region specific training was necessary to ensure boarding officers received adequate instruction in enforcing the increasingly complex laws that govern our nation’s living marine resources. The Coast Guard’s five fisheries training centers are dedicated to providing training in LMR and protected marine species law enforcement to eliminate natural resource degradation associated with recreational boating, recreational fishing, commercial fishing, and illegal incursions by foreign fishing vessels into our EEZ.

The North Pacific Regional Fisheries Training Center (NPRFTC) in Kodiak trains students operating across the vast and harsh environments of the Seventeenth Coast Guard District, to include the Arctic Ocean, Bering Sea, Aleutian Islands archipelago, Gulf of Alaska, and the Inside Passage, an area that encompasses 3,853,500 SQ NM of sea and more than 47,300 miles of coastline. NPRFTC also teaches the enforcement of Conservation and Management Measures on behalf of four international fisheries commissions and 62 signatory nations across North and South America, Asia, Oceania, Europe, and Africa, covering over 80 percent of the Pacific Ocean​. NPRFTC personnel provide instruction to surface and aviation law enforcement crews, command personnel and supporting staff, and deployable specialized forces units. Upon completion of the training, boarding officers are then charged with carrying out the LMR by performing at-sea boardings to ensure compliance.

The nation’s waterways and their ecosystems are vital to the country’s economy and health. The Coast Guard’s LMR mission is to assist in preventing the decline of marine proteced species populations, promote the recovery of marine protective species and their habitats, partner with other agencies and organizations to enhance stewardship of marine ecosystems and ensure internal compliance with appropriate legislation, regulations, and management practices.

“Media Advisory: Coast Guard cutter to return home following 97-day multi-mission Arctic deployment” –PACAREA

U.S. Coast Guard Cutters Stratton (WMSL 752) and Kimball (WMSL 756) steam in formation while patrolling the U.S.-Russian Maritime Boundary Line (MBL), in the Bering Sea, Sept. 26, 2022. This marked the first time two national security cutters jointly patrolled the MBL above the Arctic Circle. (U.S. Coast Guard courtesy photo).

This isn’t like the Alaska Patrols I went on, which concentrated on the Aleutians/Bering Sea and never went much North of the Arctic Circle. This patrol went across the top of Alaska and apparently, this is getting to be more common.

Media Advisory

Nov. 22, 2022
U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area

Media Advisory: Coast Guard cutter to return home following 97-day multi-mission Arctic deployment

Coast Guard cutter returns home following 97-day multi-mission Arctic deployment

USCGC Stratton conducts operations offshore Little Diomede, Alaska Coast Guard cutter returns home following 97-day multi-mission Arctic deployment USCGC Stratton conducts flight operations while underway in Arctic Ocean

Editors’ Note: Click on images to download high resolution version.

Who: U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Stratton (WMSL 752) and crew

What: Return home from multi-mission Arctic deployment

When: Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022 at 9 a.m.

Where: Coast Guard Base Alameda, 1 Eagle Rd., Alameda, CA, 94501

ALAMEDA, Calif. — The Coast Guard Cutter Stratton (WMSL 752) and crew are scheduled to return to Alameda, Wednesday, following a 97-day multi-mission deployment to the Arctic Ocean and Bering Sea.

The cutter and crew departed Alameda in August to project U.S. sovereignty throughout U.S. Arctic waters, provide search-and-rescue capabilities in the region, meet with Alaskan communities and conduct an Arctic search-and-rescue exercise with international partners.

Stratton operated along the length of the U.S.-Russian maritime boundary line (MBL) from the Diomede Islands to well above the Arctic Circle, while they patrolled within the U.S. Arctic zone. Stratton also patrolled the U.S.- Canadian MBL in the Beaufort Sea, providing Coast Guard presence in the distant regions of the Arctic.

“I’m extremely proud of this crew and all they have accomplished,” said Capt. Stephen Adler, Stratton’s commanding officer. “The U.S. Coast Guard provides the Nation’s most active and visible maritime presence in the high latitudes, and coordinates with our international partners through joint exercises and professional exchanges to maintain a safe and prosperous Arctic region. The Coast Guard remains ‘Always Ready’ to preserve and protect our northern shores and waters. As more ships and people move into the Arctic, the Coast Guard will be there to ensure safety of navigation and preserve our national sovereignty, as it always has. The crew has truly lived up to our ship’s motto of, ‘We Can’t Afford Not To’ throughout our patrol.”

Stratton is one of four 418-foot national security cutters (NSC) homeported in Alameda. National security cutters are capable of extended, worldwide deployment in support of homeland security and defense missions. These cutters and crews routinely conduct operations from South America to the Arctic, where the combination of range, speed, and ability to operate in extreme weather provides the mission flexibility necessary to conduct vital strategic missions.

Media are encouraged to contact Coast Guard Pacific Area Public Affairs at to arrange an escort on Base Alameda to attend the ship’s arrival. Adler and crew will be available for interviews following the ship’s arrival.

I MEF, USCG Pacific Area, U.S 3rd Fleet Sign Tri-Service Memorandum of Understanding

Below is a Pacific Area news release. Apparently it adds the Coast Guard to an existing memorandum of understanding between 3rd Fleet and I MEF (“I” pronounced “One”) .

By expanding the memorandum of understanding to include U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area of Command further solidifies the full maritime approach at the operational and tactical levels.

It may be noteworthy that the agreement is with 3rd Fleet, not Pacific Fleet. Both 3rd Fleet and 1 MEF have homeland defense and Disaster Response/Humanitarian Assistance missions for the West Coast and Alaska. Both have their headquarters in Southern California.

It may signal greater Navy/Marine interest in Alaska and the Arctic

Hopefully this agreement will work in both directions. The Coast Guard will be more ready to execute wartime missions, while the Navy and Marines will be more ready to help in cases of a terrorist attack, natural disaster, or a massive SAR case.

News Release Oct. 28, 2022
U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area
Pacific Area online newsroom

I MEF, USCG Pacific Area, U.S 3rd Fleet Sign Tri-Service Memorandum of Understanding

Vice Admiral Tiongson signs MOU

Editor’s Note: Click on image above to download high resolution version. 

SAN DIEGO – Commanding General, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Commander, U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area, and Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet signed a tri-service maritime strategy memorandum of understanding, Wednesday, at U.S. 3rd Fleet Headquarters. 

The memorandum formalizes the implementation of strategic guidance by developing a predictable framework for integrated exercise design, planning, experimentation and execution, and ensure interoperability between the services and readiness at all levels and across all domains.

“This memorandum solidifies our commitment to training, learning, and adapting as a collective team to meet current and future challenges,” said Lt. Gen. George W. Smith Jr., commanding general, I MEF. “As the largest Marine Air-Ground Task Force assigned to U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, I Marine Expeditionary Force is inextricability linked to the maritime domain. Our work with U.S. 3rd Fleet and U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area Command is critical to generating, employing, and modernizing a true tri-maritime force capable of responding across the spectrum of contingencies at home and abroad.”

Leveraging the complementary capabilities of the U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Navy has the ability to generate integrated all-domain maritime power. By expanding the memorandum of understanding to include U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area of Command further solidifies the full maritime approach at the operational and tactical levels.

“Bringing to bear unique capabilities and broad authorities as both a military, maritime service and a federal law enforcement and regulatory agency, the Coast Guard strives to remain a trusted partner in bolstering safety and security in a free and open, connected, prosperous and resilient Indo-Pacific,” said Vice Adm. Andrew J. Tiongson, commander, U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area.  “We look forward to joining together with U.S. 3rd Fleet and the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force as we campaign to enhance readiness and exercise shared operational capabilities in response to common threats and challenges.”

In addition to integrating live, virtual and constructive training capabilities inside of a predictable framework, the memorandum also outlines information-sharing practices and allows for the development of options for staffs to engage in cross-training opportunities and other coordination forums between the services.

“Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard; we each bring unique capabilities to the fight and we have a longstanding history of working together,” said Vice Adm. Michael E. Boyle, commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet. “Formalizing the integration of our services increases our ability to overcome any conflict, issue, or adversary across the maritime domain; whether its command and control of maritime forces, maritime homeland defense, or defense support to civil authorities.  We are strongest as a Tri-service team.”

An integral part of U.S. Pacific Fleet, U.S. 3rd Fleet leads naval forces in the Indo-Pacific and provides the realistic, relevant training necessary to flawlessly execute our Navy’s role across the full spectrum of military operations—from combat operations to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. U.S. 3rd Fleet works together with allies and partners to advance freedom of navigation, the rule of law, and other principles that underpin security for the Indo-Pacific region.

Pacific Area Command is the Coast Guard’s regional command element and force provider for maritime safety, security and stewardship throughout the Pacific. The command’s area of responsibility encompasses six continents, 71 countries and more than 74 million square miles of ocean.