“Japanese PM Kishida Lays Out Indo-Pacific Strategy in Shangri-La Speech” –USNI

Japanese built Philippine CG cutter BRP Teresa Magbanua during sea trials off Japan (Photo: Philippine Coast Guard)

The US Naval Institute News Service reports on a speech by Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida before the Strategic Studies Shangri-La Dialogue forum in Singapore.

During his speech, Kishida also spoke about Japan’s planned efforts to strengthen nations in the Indo-Pacific both in security and economic aspects. The security side will include transferring patrol boats in the region, strengthening regional maritime law enforcement capabilities (emphasis applied–Chuck) and providing defense equipment and technology transfers. Singapore is one of the countries that will sign a defense equipment and technology transfer agreement with Japan.

As China has become more agressive in its behavior, Japan has been a lot more active in reaching out to help friendly nations. It appears they have decided to provide an Asian nation alternative to Chinese hegemony. One of the ways they have done this is transfer of vessels to conduct coast guard functions on favorable terms. We have already seen this with the Philippines (and here), Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam.

We have also seen increased interaction between the Japan Coast Guard and the USCG here, here, here, and here. Japan seems to be promoting coast guards as a way to maintain rules based international norms and may be looking to create an international consensus on coast guard behavior to promote cooperation and interoperability. They are looking at their own Coast Guard’s role as well. They seem to be looking to the USCG as an allied, internationally recognized example of proper coast guard functions to help achieve this consensus.

“U.S., Japan Coast Guards conduct joint counter-narcotics exercise in the Pacific” –D14

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Oliver Henry sails alongside the Japan Coast Guard patrol vessel Mizuho during an exercise off Guam, June 7, 2022. The U.S. Coast Guard and Japan Coast Guard completed the joint counter-narcotics exercise SAPPHIRE which stands for Solid Alliance for Peace and Prosperity with Humanity and Integrity on the Rule-of-Law Based Engagement 2022. (U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam)

An interesting development in US and Japanese Coast Guard cooperation. This is apparently the first implementation of Operation SAPPHIRE announced in May.

This exercise does not seem to be an end in itself. It seems more like a tune-up for follow-on operations.

News Release

U.S. Coast Guard 14th District Hawaii and the Pacific

U.S., Japan Coast Guards conduct joint counter-narcotics exercise in the Pacific

Joint exercise Joint exercise Joint exercise  

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

SANTA RITA, Guam — The U.S. Coast Guard and Japan Coast Guard completed a joint counter-narcotics exercise off Guam, Tuesday. 
 
The exercise was the first operational exchange between U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam and the Japan Coast Guard and was designed to promote cooperation between the partners in areas of mutual interest including maritime security and counter-smuggling operations.  
 
“What an incredible opportunity to conduct joint training with the Japan Coast Guard and be able to share law enforcement capabilities which will enhance future joint mission planning,” said Capt. Nicholas Simmons, commander of Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam. “These exercises further solidify our great maritime relationship and will prove to be invaluable during future missions.” 
 
The exercise was conducted between the crews of the Japan Coast Guard patrol vessel Mizuho, U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Oliver Henry, and U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam. 
 
On Monday, the participants met at Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam for tours of the participating vessels and tabletop discussions to plan the at-sea exercise the next day. 
 
“Conducting exercises based off of real-world scenarios will boost opportunities to respond more effectively,” said Lt. Jack Hamel, the commanding officer of the Oliver Henry. “The cohesion and teamwork on display showcased that both Coast Guards have mutual interest in keeping the maritime commons safe and secure.” 
 
On Tuesday, the crews deployed for the at-sea exercise consisting of two counter-narcotics drills where the crews simulated locating and boarding a target of interest fishing vessel suspected of drug smuggling. 
 
The drills focused on methods of information sharing, vessel tracking, stopping measures, and inspection procedures for greater interoperability between the partners in the future. 
 
The two crews also conducted a personnel exchange and rendered passing honors between the vessels. 
 
The exercise was a part of the Japan Coast Guard and U.S. Coast Guard Operation SAPPHIRE 2022, which stands for Solid Alliance for Peace and Prosperity with Humanity and Integrity on the Rule-of-Law Based Engagement 2022, and was the second such operation held between the U.S. Coast Guard and the Japan Coast Guard, the first being held in San Francisco in May. 
 
SAPPHIRE was created during a joint document signing ceremony and celebration at Japan Coast Guard Headquarters earlier this year and was an annex to a memorandum of cooperation between the sea services which has existed since 2010. 
 
The purpose of Operation SAPPHIRE is to standardize operating procedures for combined operations, training and capacity building, and information sharing between the partners. 
 
The U.S. Coast Guard and Japan Coast Guard have been bolstering each other’s capabilities and effectiveness since the founding of the Japan Coast Guard in 1948. The agencies work together to counter illegal maritime activity and assist foreign maritime agencies in the Indo-Pacific region in improving their own capabilities necessary for maritime law enforcement.

“US, Japan coast guards formally expand cooperation” –PAC AREA News Release / “Royal Navy and US Coast Guard to Forge Closer Bonds”

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.

News Release

May 19, 2022
U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area

US, Japan coast guards formally expand cooperation

US, Japan coast guards formally expand cooperation 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.”

 

Indo-Pacific Strategy of the United States

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Munro and Japan Coast Guard Patrol Vessel Large Aso, transit together in formation during a maritime engagement in the East China Sea Aug. 25, 2021. U.S. Coast Guard members aboard the Munro deployed to the Western Pacific Ocean to strengthen alliances and partnerships and improve maritime governance and security in the region. (Photo courtesy of Japan Coast Guard)

The Whitehouse has issued a new Indo-Pacific Strategy, and it specifically mentions the US Coast Guard.

The document calls out China for its aggressive behavior,

This intensifying American focus is due in part to the fact that the Indo-Pacific faces mounting challenges, particularly from the PRC. The PRC is combining its economic, diplomatic, military, and technological might as it pursues a sphere of influence in the Indo-Pacific and seeks to become the world’s most influential power. The PRC’s coercion and aggression spans the globe, but it is most acute in the Indo-Pacific. From the economic coercion of Australia to the conflict along the Line of Actual Control with India to the growing pressure on Taiwan and bullying of neighbors in the East and South China Seas, our allies and partners in the region bear much of the cost of the PRC’s harmful behavior. In the process, the PRC is also undermining human rights and international law, including freedom of navigation, as well as other principles that have brought stability and prosperity to the Indo-Pacific.

It recognizes the value and values of our allies and partners,

For centuries, the United States and much of the world have viewed Asia too narrowly—as an arena of geopolitical competition. Today, Indo-Pacific nations are helping to define the very nature of the international order, and U.S. allies and partners around the world have a stake in its outcomes. Our approach, therefore, draws from and aligns with those of our closest friends. Like Japan, we believe that a successful Indo-Pacific vision must advance freedom and openness and offer “autonomy and options.” We support a strong India as a partner in this positive regional vision. Like Australia, we seek to maintain stability and reject coercive exercises of power. Like the ROK, we aim to promote regional security through capacity-building. Like ASEAN, we see Southeast Asia as central to the regional architecture. Like New Zealand and the United Kingdom, we seek to build resilience in the regional rules-based order. Like France, we recognize the strategic value of an increasing regional role for the European Union (EU). Much like the approach the EU has announced in its Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, American strategy will be principled, long-term, and anchored in democratic resilience.

It calls for action in five areas:

  1. ADVANCE A FREE AND OPEN INDO-PACIFIC
  2. BUILD CONNECTIONS WITHIN AND BEYOND THE REGION
  3. DRIVE REGIONAL PROSPERITY
  4. BOLSTER INDO-PACIFIC SECURITY
  5. BUILD REGIONAL RESILIENCE TO TRANSNATIONAL THREATS

There is mention of the Coast Guard is in the section “BOLSTER INDO-PACIFIC SECURITY” on page 13.

We will also innovate to meet civilian security challenges, expanding U.S. Coast Guard presence, training, and advising to bolster our partners’ capabilities. We will cooperate to address and prevent terrorism and violent extremism, including by identifying and monitoring foreign fighters traveling to the region, formulating options to mitigate online radicalization, and encouraging counterterrorism cooperation within the Indo-Pacific. And we will strengthen collective regional capabilities to prepare for and respond to environmental and natural disasters; natural, accidental, or deliberate biological threats; and the trafficking of weapons, drugs, and people. We will improve cybersecurity in the region, including the ability of our partners to protect against, recover from, and respond to cybersecurity incidents.

Coast Guard roles presumably extend beyond interdiction and fisheries to include assistance with intelligence, port security, and maritime industry cybersecurity.

The strategy refers to ten lines of effort that are to be pursued in the next 12 to 24 months. The first is “Drive New Resources to the Indo-Pacific” (p.15),

Building shared capacity requires the United States to make new regional investments. We will open new embassies and consulates, particularly in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands, and increase our strength in existing ones, intensifying our climate, health, security, and development work. We will expand U.S. Coast Guard presence and cooperation in Southeast and South Asia and the Pacific Islands, with a focus on advising, training, deployment, and capacity-building. We will refocus security assistance on the Indo-Pacific, including to build maritime capacity and maritime-domain awareness.

Sounds like this may include Coast Guard attachés attached to diplomatic staffs and possibly some new basing.

There is a second line of effort that will undoubtably involve the Coast Guard, “Partner to Build Resilience in the Pacific Islands” (p.17),

The United States will work with partners to establish a multilateral strategic grouping that supports Pacific Island countries as they build their capacity and resilience as secure, independent actors. Together, we will build climate resilience through the Pacific Region Infrastructure Facility; coordinate to meet the Pacific’s infrastructure gaps, especially on information and communications technology; facilitate transportation; and cooperate to improve maritime security to safeguard fisheries, build maritime-domain awareness, and improve training and advising. We will also prioritize finalization of the Compact of Free Association agreements with the Freely Associated States.

A Maritime Executive post, New U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy Singles Out China’s “Coercion”, notes,

In the security arena, the new strategy reiterates that the United States has maintained “a strong and consistent defence presence necessary to support regional peace, security, stability, and prosperity”, pointing to the South China Sea and the East China Sea as a priority. However, it is interesting that while the document underscores the importance of freedom of navigation in the Indo-Pacific, not a single paragraph mentions the US Freedom of Navigation Operations Program (FONOPS) carried out by the US Navy, which has stirred controversy. Conversely, the strategy emphasises the importance of the Coast Guard to lead maritime security cooperation in the region, in “advising, training, deployment, and capacity-building … including to build maritime capacity and maritime-domain awareness”. Indeed, in 2021, the US Coast Guard announced a joint maritime training centre with the Indonesian Coast Guard in Batam.

The emphasis on coast guard cooperation can be seen as a positive gesture since it will be less provocative and sensitive compared to a military presence in the region. And more importantly, coast guard operations in Southeast Asia are very much required to tackle maritime security threats such as illegal fishing.

Thanks to Paul for bringing this to my attention. 

“Time to Revise the Japan Coast Guard Act?” –The Diplomat

Japan Coast Guard patrol vessel PL82 Nagura at the Port of Ishigaki. Photo from Wikipedia Commons, by Yasu

The Diplomat reports that Japan is considering changes to their laws governing the Japan Coast Guard.

One proposal seeks to add “maintenance of  territorial sea integrity” and “security of territorial sea” to the Act’s mission, while another seeks to moderate the prerequisites allowing harm through use of weapons by Coast Guard officers. All of these proposals seek to give the JCG more muscle.

I don’t have a feel for what the actual proposed changes are, but I do know the Japan Coast Guard does not have the same close relationships with the Japanese Navy (Maritime Defense Force) that the USCG enjoys with the USN. It is not a military service. They don’t share equip or even use the same fuel. You can bet they don’t share the same communications systems. This means that the organization is not as useful as it might be in wartime, and, of more immediate concern, it means coordination in crisis is far more difficult.

Currently none of the Japan Coast Guard vessels have weapons larger than 40mm, and very few have an air search radar or any kind of AAW firecontrol system. If Japanese Self Defense Forces are not immediately available as backup, it might be hard not to feel intimidated by better armed China Coast Guard vessels, particularly if supported by aircraft.

This Chinese coast guard ship is equipped with weapons believed to be 76-millimeter guns. © Kyodo

“Coast Guard cutter returns home following Western Pacific deployment” –News Release

Coast Guard Cutter Munro (WMSL 755) crewmember Petty Officer 2nd Class Kurt Chlebek, a boatswains mate, is greeted by his dog after Munro returned to their homeport in Alameda, California, Oct. 20, 2021, following a 102-day, 22,000 nautical mile multi-mission deployment. Munro’s crew departed Alameda in July for a Western Pacific patrol and operated in support of United States Indo-Pacific Command, which oversees military operations in the region. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Matt Masaschi.

Wrap-up of USCGC Munro’s recent deployment to the Western Pacific.

united states coast guard

News Release

Oct. 20, 2021
U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area

Coast Guard cutter returns home following Western Pacific deployment

Photo of U.S. and Japan Coast Guard vessels
Coast Guard Cutter Munro crew returns home following 102-day, 22,000 nautical mile multi-mission Western Pacific deployment Coast Guard Cutter Munro crew returns home following 102-day, 22,000 nautical mile multi-mission Western Pacific deployment

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

Alameda, Calif. – The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Munro (WMSL 755) and crew returned to their Alameda homeport Wednesday following a 102-day, 22,000-nautical-mile deployment to the Western Pacific.

Munro departed Alameda in July to the Western Pacific to operate under the tactical control of U.S. Navy 7th Fleet to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific.

“Munro’s deployment demonstrated the Coast Guard’s unique authorities in support of the Indo-Pacific command,” said Vice Adm. Michael F. McAllister, commander Coast Guard Pacific Area. “Joint operations help strengthen our partnerships through search and rescue, law enforcement, marine environmental response and other areas of mutual interest which preserve a stable and secure global maritime environment.”

Munro’s crew executed numerous cooperative engagements, professional exchanges and capacity building efforts with naval allies and partners, including the Japan Coast Guard, Japan Maritime Self Defense Force, Philippine Coast Guard and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic ResourcesRoyal Australian Navy, and Indonesia Maritime Security Agency.

“Our relationships in the Western Pacific are stronger today, and our partners are unified in their commitment to security,” said Capt. Blake Novak, commanding officer of Munro. “It was an incredible opportunity for our crew to participate alongside allies, sharing search and rescue and law enforcement concepts to promote peace, prosperity, and the sovereign rights of all nations.”

As both a federal law enforcement agency and an armed force, the U.S. Coast Guard is uniquely positioned to conduct defense operations in support of combatant commanders on all seven continents. The service routinely provides forces in joint military operations worldwide, including the deployment of cutters, boats, aircraft, and deployable specialized forces.

Munro is one of four 418-foot national security cutters homeported in Alameda. National security cutters like Munro feature advanced command and control capabilities, aviation support facilities, stern cutter boat launch, and increased endurance for long-range patrols, enabling the crews to disrupt threats to national security further offshore.

Photos from the Munro’s deployment are available here.

“U.S., Japan Coast Guards train together in East China Sea” –Pacific Area

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Munro and Japan Coast Guard Patrol Vessel Large Aso, transit together in formation during a maritime engagement in the East China Sea Aug. 25, 2021. U.S. Coast Guard members aboard the Munro deployed to the Western Pacific Ocean to strengthen alliances and partnerships and improve maritime governance and security in the region. (Photo courtesy of Japan Coast Guard)

Information on the Japanese Cutter, Aso (PL-41), referenced in the PACAREA news release below is available here. Aso is larger than a 210 but smaller than a 270, probably about 1,200 tons full load.  She is propelled by four diesels and four water jets and capable of over 30 knots. She is armed with a 40mm/70 and has a crew of 30. Reportedly Japan is building six similar but slightly larger vessels for the Vietnamese Coast Guard.

united states coast guard

News Release

U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area

U.S., Japan Coast Guards train together in East China Sea

Photo of Coast Guard ships Photo of Coast Guard ships Photo of Coast Guard ships

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

YOKOSUKA, Japan — U.S. Coast Guard members aboard the Alameda-based Coast Guard Cutter Munro (WMSL 755) participated in a cooperative two-day deployment with Japan Coast Guard members aboard the Japan Coast Guard ship Aso in the East China Sea Tuesday and Wednesday.

The engagement followed Munro’s port visit in Sasebo, Japan, Aug. 20-24, and included crew exchanges; two-ship communication, formation, maneuvering and navigation exercises; joint and cooperative maritime presence; maritime law enforcement training and exercises; and several variations of large ship and small boat operations.

“These at-sea engagements with one of our longest-standing partners in the Indo-Pacific region provided excellent opportunities for our crews to train together and learn from each other, further strengthening our alliances and maritime partnerships,” said Munro‘s Commanding Officer Capt. Blake Novak. “Conducting operations and exercises leverages our strong and trusted relationships while expanding our regional security cooperation initiatives and bolstering collaboration in the Indo-Pacific.”

The U.S. and Japan Coast Guards have a long history of cooperation and several recent engagements. In June 2021, the sea services conducted search and rescue training together in Honolulu before teaming up to search for a missing free diver off Kauai, Hawaii. Earlier this year, the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Kimball and Japan Coast Guard Ship Akitsushima conducted drills together near the Ogasawara Islands of Japan alongside helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles to practice interdicting simulated foreign vessels operating illegally inside Japanese waters.

“Partnering with like-minded maritime forces to cross train and expand multi-nation expertise in search and rescue, maritime environmental protection and maritime law enforcement allows our nations to promote regional stability, confront malign activities and threats, and uphold the international rules-based-order underpinning our shared security and prosperity,” said Vice Adm. Michael F. McAllister, commander U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area.

Munro, a 418-foot national security cutter, departed its homeport of Alameda for a months-long deployment to the Western Pacific. Operating under the tactical control of U.S. 7th Fleet, the cutter and crew are engaging in cooperative maritime activities, professional exchanges, and capacity-building exercises with partner nations and will patrol and conduct operations as directed.

As both a federal law enforcement agency and an armed force, the U.S. Coast Guard routinely deploys worldwide its cutters, boats, aircraft and deployable specialized forces.

The Naval Service does not compete, deter, or fight alone. The Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard team are an integral part of the Joint Force and work closely with allies, partners, and other government agencies.

More photos from Munro’s Western Pacific deployment are available here. Subscribe here to receive notifications when new photos are added.

 

“Japan-U.S. alliance ‘cornerstone of peace and prosperity’ in Indo-Pacific” –Indo-Pacific Defense Forum

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)

Some recognition for what the Kimball has been doing in the Western Pacific from the Indo-Pacific Command web site Indo-Pacific Defense Forum, including a really nice photo.

“U.S., Japan Coast Guard strengthen capabilities through joint exercise” –D14

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)

Below is a D14 news release. The Japanese Cutter referred to, AKITSUSHIM (PLH-32),  is one of the largest cutters in the world. It may not look like it in the photo, but it is twice as large as the KIMBALL. Only the Chinese have cutters that are larger.

This is more evidence of the Coast Guard’s continued interest in aiding our Western Pacific allies.

united states coast guard

News Release

U.S. Coast Guard 14th District Hawaii and the Pacific
Contact: 14th District Public Affairs
Office: (808) 535-3230
After Hours: HawaiiPacific@uscg.mil
14th District online newsroom

U.S., Japan Coast Guard strengthen capabilities through joint exercise

 

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

JAPAN — The U.S. Coast Guard concluded a joint law-enforcement exercise Sunday with the Japan Coast Guard in the Philippine Sea, furthering interoperability in performing law-enforcement missions.

This weekend, ships from the U.S. Coast Guard and Japan Coast Guard conducted exercises near the Ogasawara Islands of Japan. 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.

“These illegal activities, such as illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing, can have a major impact on the fragile marine ecosystems in the Indo-Pacific region,” said Capt. Holly Harrison, commanding officer of the Coast Guard Cutter Kimball. “We always benefit from and enjoy working with our Japanese Coast Guard partners as it enhances our collective ability to respond to any number of maritime threats and challenges.”

The U.S. Coast Guard and Japan Coast Guard have been bolstering each other’s capabilities and effectiveness since the founding of the Japan Coast Guard in 1948. The agencies work together to counter illegal maritime activity and assist foreign maritime agencies in the Indo-Pacific region in improving their own capabilities necessary for maritime law enforcement.

“This exercise reaffirms our long-standing alliance and assures our two coast guards operate seamlessly together,” said Vice Adm. Linda Fagan, commander, Coast Guard Pacific Area. “Together we are committed to safeguarding mariners at sea, preventing destructive illegal fishing and smuggling, and promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

“China Coast Guard to be allowed to use force in case of territorial infringement” –People’s Liberation Army Daily

This Chinese People’s Liberation Army Daily post concerning use of deadly force, linked here, may be particularly interesting for its call out of the US Coast Guard.

Law enforcement on land, sea and in airspace under its own jurisdiction, with the use of weapons on necessary occasions, are the rights granted to sovereign states by international law. The Japan Coast Guard (JCG) also stipulates that lethal weapons can be used when enforcing the law in waters under its own jurisdiction. For the US Coast Guard (USCG), the use of force is even more common, and it is even planning to apply long-arm jurisdiction to China.

Admiral Karl Schultz, Commandant of the USCG, claimed to strengthen deployment in the Asia-Pacific region and participate in security patrols in the waters surrounding China in response to Chinese maritime militia’s declaration of sovereignty in the South China Sea in April last year. Robert O’Brien, US National Security Advisor, announced on October 24 that the USCG would deploy Enhanced Response Cutters in the Western Pacific. . Without providing any evidence, he accused Chinese fishing boats of illegal fishing and claimed that the sovereignty of the United States and its neighbors in the Pacific had thus been threatened.

If they should choose to employ force against one of our cutter in their claimed “Nine Dash Line,” it is likely they would attempt to get several units in at very close range before opening fire, as they did in this engagement.

Chinese depiction of the fighting Battle of Paracels Islands

Next time we send a cutter into this area, it might be a good idea to have a squad of Marines along armed with shoulder fired missile or rocket launchers.

Might also be a good idea to provide a bit of ballistic protection (and here) for our .50 cal. gun crews. Not too difficult because you can buy it on the GSA catalog.

Most China Coast Guard Cutters are not as well armed or as fast as the Bertholfs, but there are exceptions. In all likelihood they would be more interested in causing casualties and chasing us off, than actually sinking a cutter. This is more likely to serve their purpose without getting themselves in a war. Not that I think such an attack would go unanswered, but they, or a mid-level commander, might be foolish enough to think they could get away with it. Still probably better not to have a lone cutter doing “Freedom of Navigation Operations,” although air cover might be sufficient. Really I would like to see an international repudiation of their claims in the form of an multi-national demonstration.

Combinations of CCG cutters with weapons larger than 14.5mm machine guns could be extremely dangerous at close range. Some of those are shown below.

The China CG version of the Type 056 Corvette

 

China Coast Guard Cutters Converted  from Type 053H2G frigates