Ships from the U.S. Coast Guard and Japan Coast Guard conducted exercises near the Ogasawara Islands of Japan, Feb. 21, 2021. The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Kimball and Japan Coast Guard Ship Akitsushima, two of the respective services’ newest and most capable vessels, operated alongside helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles to practice interdicting foreign vessels operating illegally inside Japanese waters. (U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of the Coast Guard Cutter Kimball/Released)
The Coast Guard has been busy increasing its international visibility. Below is a news release concerning increased cooperation with the Japanese Coast Guard that came out yesterday. Today, I see a SeaWaves report, also dated yesterday that,
“The Royal Navy and US Coast Guard have vowed to work more closely to fight crime and protect the planet. The two services already combine to stop drugs traffickers in the Caribbean and Middle East, assist each other with operations in the polar regions, run exchange programs for sailors and frequently work and train side-by-side around the globe.”
The new relationship with the Royal Navy includes expanded personnel postings that began back in 2014.
There are also plans to build on already successful exchange programs, which allows USCG engineers to work with the Royal Navy but will soon also allow pilots and aircrew to do the same. (emphasis applied–Chuck)
Perhaps we are not too far from exercising something like my proposed “Combined Maritime Security Task Force Pacific” with a US Coast Guard Cutter, a Japanese Coast Guard Cutter, and a Royal Navy River Class OPV working with navies and coast guards of SE Asia to protect their EEZ. Perhaps the Indian Coast Guard will join as well.
May 19, 2022
U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area
US, Japan coast guards formally expand cooperation
Editors’ Note: Click on images to download high resolution version.
TOKYO — The United States and Japan coast guards formally expanded cooperative agreements and established a new perpetual operation during a ceremony Wednesday in Tokyo.
Vice Adm. Michael McAllister, commander of U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area, and Vice Adm. Yoshio Seguchi, Japan Coast Guard vice commandant for operations, represented their respective services during the historic document signing ceremony and celebration at Japan Coast Guard Headquarters.
Although a memorandum of cooperation between the sea services has existed since 2010, strengthened relationships, increasing bilateral engagements and continued focus on maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific necessitated expansion of the memorandum.
The new operation’s name, SAPPHIRE, is an acronym for Solid Alliance for Peace and Prosperity with Humanity and Integrity on the Rule of law based Engagement, and it honors the gem regarded as an emblem of integrity and affection found throughout the Indo-Pacific.
Operation Sapphire encompasses all the annual interactions between the Japan and U.S. coast guards, with the goal of increasing interactions over time.
To formalize the expanded cooperation, annexes were added to the existing memorandum of cooperation outlining Operation Sapphire to include standard operating procedures for combined operations, training and capacity building, and information sharing.
“We rely on our partners, allies, and like-minded nations to achieve our shared missions,” said McAllister. “As evidenced by this agreement, our relationship with the Japan Coast Guard is stronger than ever, and I am looking forward to many more decades of partnership and collaborative operations in the Indo-Pacific.”
“We will conduct smooth cooperation in the fields of joint operation, capacity building and information sharing by this agreement” said Seguchi. “Sapphire embodies the rule-of-law based engagement between the coast guards, and we will expand the principle of Free and Open Indo-Pacific to other nations.”