“Nordic Countries’ Response To Nord Stream Sabotage” –Naval News

File:Major russian gas pipelines to europe.png Created: 15 November 2009 Prepared by Samuel Bailey (sam.bailus@gmail.com)

Naval News reports on the Nordic response to the apparent sabotage of the Nord Stream pipeline. Coast guards are involved.

This raises the question of who protects undersea infrastructure? I don’t think there has been a lot of interest in or discussion of this question in the US. Certainly the USCG has a role.

The Air Force’s New Ship Killer (QuickSink) with Torpedo Like Effects

The first Air Force Research Lab video above talks about a new weapon, but it is also recognition of a new threat.

Let’s talk about what is wrong with the scenario in the video, how the Coast Guard could use this new weapon, along with the “Rapid Dragon” delivery system, and why the Coast Guard not only could, but should be the agency to use this weapon against this particular threat.

The Scenario:

NORTHCOM is worried about the cruise missile threat to the continental US, including the possibility of large numbers of missiles launched against priority targets.

“Conventional cruise missiles or hypersonic cruise missiles, low-radar cross-section cruise missiles, cruise missiles from Russia, cruise missiles from China, potentially other countries. Cruise missiles that can be launched from undersea, from 100 miles-plus off the coast. Cruise missiles from on the sea. … Cruise missiles from the air. Cruise missiles from commercial vehicles launched out of a container that can be masked as part of the commercial ship. (emphasis applied–Chuck)

The video shows a ballistic missile being preped for launch from a container. That is possible, but cruise missiles are more likely. In any case, potential actions to stop the launch would be the same.

In the video we see a Navy P-8 Maritime Patrol Aircraft monitoring the activities of a suspicious container ship. Presumably the war has not started since they don’t call for an Air Force fighter to bring in the weapon until the P-8 sees a launcher being elevated for missile launch. This is really too late to call the Air Force. Before the Air Force can get a fighter on scene, the missiles will have been launched. The aircraft monitoring the ship’s activity should be able to immediately initiate countermeasure. The P-8 Poseidon is capable of carrying Anti-Ship Cruise missiles of 725 kg (1,598 lb). It might be able to deploy the QUICKSINK weapon seen in the video which is based on a 2,000 pound bomb. It could certainly deploy a similar weapon based on the 1000 pound bomb. The problem is that, at this stage in the run-up to war, P-8s should be looking for submarines that might also launch cruise missiles, and fighter aircraft don’t have the endurance to loiter on scene waiting for something to happen. They would also be needed to intercept any cruise missiles that are launched.

The Weapon:

In the actual sinking, this was a big bomb used against a small ship, but the key to its effectiveness what where it exploded.

The weapon is discussed here, “Air Force destroys target vessel with ship-killing JDAM.” It clearly is intended to exploit the non-compressibility of water to allow a weapon that would not normally immediately sink a ship, if it hit above the waterline, to break the ship in half.

“In a September 2021 interview with Military.com, Meeks said one of the bomb’s modifications was a redesigned nose plug. This is intended to keep the bomb from veering off in an unintended direction if it hits the water before the target, which Meeks likened to skipping a stone across the surface of a pond.”

There is additional information about the seeker here, including how it works (GPS to get to the general area, then radar, and imaging IR), expected cost (substantially less than $1M for the all up rounds bought in quantity), and range (15 miles, potentially more with range extending wing kits).

As I have pointed out numerous times, no other non-nuclear weapon equals a modern torpedo’s ability to sink a ship. Apparently the Air Force agreed and decided to develop a weapon that would kill a ship in the same way a modern torpedo does, by detonating under water, preferably below the keel, rather than by directly hitting the target above the waterline. Looking at the videos, it appears the bomb enters the water, almost vertically, close to the port side. We see the familiar lift of the center section as we have seen many times when a Mk48 torpedo is used against a surface target, after which the ship breaks in half. For comparison, here is a destroyer hit by a Mk48, and a Mk48 torpedo’s warhead contains far less explosive than a 2000 pound bomb.

The Launch Platforms:

The weapon can be used on a wide variety combat aircraft. The video shows and F-35 and the actual test was done with an F-15, but there is no reason this could not In fact be dropped from a Coast Guard fixed wing using the “Rapid Dragon” concept.

Rapid Dragon hardware being loaded on a C-130. USAF photo.

Why Coast Guard?:

It is not that the Coast Guard will necessarily be the only ones doing this mission, but the Coast Guard does seem to be particularly well suited for the purpose.

If we are to keep watch on vessels off the US coast in the run up to war, you want aircraft with long endurance. You want excellent communications. You want good electro optics so that you can watch what is happening on a ship from outside the range of shoulder launched air defense systems (MANPAD). You get all that with Coast Guard fixed wing aircraft equipped with the Minotaur system. Using Air Force’s QUICKSINK modified JDAM from the Rapid Dragon launcher means we can have a single unit that can remain on station for an extended period, observe the actions of target of interest, communicate effectively, and if necessary promptly eliminate a threat while freeing other assets like the P-8 and fighters to do jobs only they can do.

It would not be necessary for the Coast Guard to store the weapons or arm the aircraft if a agreement could be reached allowing DOD facilities to load the Rapid Dragon and weapons. Actually targeting would be done by DOD assets anyway. It appears this mission could be performed, even to our smallest fixed wing, the HC-144.

Is it doable?:

A recent report suggests that it is. Lt. Gen. James Slife, who leads Air Force Special Operations Command said, “It doesn’t require any aircraft modifications, it doesn’t require any special aircrew training.”

Might be of interest to compare the amount of ordanance used in this SINKEX. It should be recognized that this retired USN frigate was probably a larger, more resilient target than the one used in the “QUICKSINK” demonstration, but I suspect, if QUICKSINK had been used agains the frigate, the results would have been the same, though it probably would have taken the two halves of the ship longer to sink.

What is an Ideal Coast Guard Military Readiness Mission? We Provide the Truck and Driver, Navy Provides the Load

A US Marine Corps Logistics Vehicle System Replacement truck carrying a standard shipping container with a Navy logistics vessel in the background. The Navy is now working on a project to develop a containerized electronic warfare and electronic intelligence system that will work on various naval, air, and ground platforms. USMC / Lance Cpl. Shawn Valosin

The US Coast Guard has had a long history of participation in almost every armed conflict the US Navy has engaged in. But there has always been a tension between peacetime economy and effectiveness and readiness for war.

Some military systems are essential for our peacetime missions, like minimal deck guns or muti-mode radars, we would probably have them, even if we had no wartime missions.

Some military equipment we would be unlikely to have, if we had no military missions, can enhance performance of peacetime missions, like data links and electronic warfare systems. These systems are welcome.

Then there are systems that would enhance our wartime effectiveness that have little or no utility in peacetime. If they require significant training and maintenance time, they can adversely effective peacetime economy and effectiveness. There is an argument to be made that these still offer good return on investment compared with making a similar investment in DOD assets, but diverting DHS assets to support DOD missions can be a hard sell.

Ideally, we would want Coast Guard assets to do their peacetime missions without having to think about wartime missions until mobilization, but when needed, DOD would quickly and easily add capabilities and trained operating personnel.

That is not always possible, but in some cases we might be able to come close to that.

The Danes showed how to make modular naval weapon and sensor systems with their SanFlex system. Now we regularly see announcement of some new modular system. Here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and  here.

TRAPS containerized active/passive towed array from GeoSpectrum Technologies.

Towed sonars can be containerized, here, here, and here.

I even proposed a containerized weapon system.

What I think we need, after determining the most appropriate mission set for Coast Guard units is a determination of what:

  • must be permanently installed and operated by Coast Guard personnel at all times,
  • what can be quickly installed and operated in the event of a crisis, and
  • what can be added in the form of modular equipment maintained by the Navy and to be operated by Navy Reserve personnel upon mobilization.

A primary example of the latter would be an ASW helicopter. Unmanned systems also look like likely candidates for systems that could be quickly added to Coast Guard vessels.

Unmanned mine hunting and destruction equipment might be based on Coast Guard buoy tenders to allow them to look for mines in US waters, including those around Alaska, Hawaii, Guam and Saipan. In fact the Navy is making some extra LCS Mine CounterMeasures (MCM) for ships of opportunity.

If the Navy wanted Coast Guard cutters to augment Navy ASW forces, a likely mission if we have a war with China, they could become useful units by the addition of a modular version of the Navy’s towed array sonar systems and assignment of experienced ASW personnel and an MH-60R aviation detachment. We would need to have identified where we would store torpedoes, sonobuoys, and other support equipment, but those spaces could have other uses in peacetime.

The Coast Guard’s Air Policing Job Over DC and Armed Overwatch

Back in 2014, I published a post, Random Thoughts on CG Aircraft Missions,
that among other things, talked about the Coast Guard’s air policing/intercept duties over the National Capital, now being done by MH-65s, and use of fixed wing aircraft to provide air borne use of force support for Webber class cutters, which is a capability we currently do not have. 
We may have a unique opportunity to address the problems discussed, using excess USAF assets at little or no cost. In the case of the Air Policing operation it might even reduce operating costs.
To outline the problems, as I see them, I will simply repeat the arguments from the earlier post.
The DC intercept: The problems with the current use of H-65s for intercepting general aviation aircraft that violate the standing airspace restrictions over the capital is that: (1) Many general aviation aircraft have a higher maximum air speed than the helicopter. (2) Even if the target is slower, the relatively slow speed of the helicopter may make achieving an intercept problematic. (3) If the aircraft is in fact hostile, the helicopter has to hand over the task of destroying it to an interceptor aircraft or missile battery introducing the possibilities of delays and misdirection.
Airborne use of force for law enforcement: In the Webber class cutters, the Coast Guard has an asset that can perform many of the missions normally expected of a medium endurance cutter, including drug and migrant interdiction, but they do not enjoy the advantage of organic aviation assets. There is no helicopter to augment their search, to chase down high speed contacts, or to use force to compel them to stop. When boardings are performed, they have neither a second boat nor an armed helicopter to provide over-watch as their boarding team approaches a suspected trafficer.
A couple of the aircraft I suggested might be appropriate for these roles were the A-29 Super Tucano and the AT-6 Wolverine.

The second A-29 Super Tucano for Air Force Special Operations Command, which received this one-off heritage scheme honoring the 1st Air Commando Group of World War II. Sierra Nevada Corporation

It just so happens, the Air Force has three A-29s and two AT-6s that are excess, now less than two years old, and they plan to dispose of them.
Compared to our helicopters, these aircraft have greater speed, range, and endurance and are, I believe, less expensive to operate. They are certainly less expensive to operate than our twin engine fixed wing aircraft.
In addition, these aircraft have excellent electro-optics and both air-to-air and air-to-surface capability, should it be necessary.
Replacing the H-65s providing air policing over DC, with the three A-29s, would not only provide a more capable interceptor, one still capable of operating at low air speeds, it would also reduce wear and tear on the H-65 fleet, whose maintenance has become problematic. As Air Force Special Operations Force aircraft, these planes may be better equipped to interface with the Capital Area Air Defenses, including F-16s and Army Surface to Air missile batteries than the MH-65s.

Basing the two AT-6s out of Puerto Rico would allow them to provide armed overwatch to Webber class WPCs in an area of intense activity. They could also be used as search assets given their excellent capabilities. The AT-6s are based on the T-6 Texan II trainer that is used to train all military aviators including Coast Guard. I understand there are now over 1000 T-6s and the two aircraft have 85% parts commonality.

If we chose to arm these, beyond their organic .50 cal. machine guns, we could probably make an arrangement with a nearby DOD air base to arm the aircraft.

An A-29 Super Tucano with potential external stores. 

30mm as Replacement for the 25mm?

From Back Left: 40mm grenade casing, 30x173mm (A-10/M44), 30x113mm (M230), 25x137mm (M242/Mk38 gun mount), 20x103mm (Phalanx), 50 BMG
foreground: 300Blackout (typical rifle round), 9mmx19 (typical pistol round)

We have known for a long time, the 30mm was much more effective than the 25mm even against relatively small vessels. We really did not need the test to show that, physics is very much on the side of the larger round, but the revalation was how ineffective the 25mm using HEI rounds, really was.

More recently, two options that are not available for the 25mm, have made the case for the 30mm even more compelling, an airburst round that can be used against UAVs and a swimmer round that is much more likely to penetrate the hull if if it hits the water short of the target, subjecting the target to flooding.

Then we saw reports that the Navy was procuring a new, very different Mk38, the 30mm mod4.

Recently, one of our readers, Secundius, in an in comments discussion of the status of the ALaMO guided 57mm projectile program, pointed to a document that reports the funding of Navy Department ammunition purchases. (Incidentally the ALaMO round is in service now. MAD-FIRES is in a 27 month, third stage of development, that should end, January 2023.)

Using the document, I took a look at “other ship gun ammunition,” specifically looking at 25 and 30mm ammunition, in hopes of seeing evidence of fielding of the 30mm Mk38 Mod4.

If I am reading Vol. 1-127 correctly, the Navy bought only target practice rounds for the 25mm in FY2020 and 2021, and no 25 mm rounds in FY2022. On the other hand, in regard to 30mm ammunition, in addition to 120,010 training rounds purchased FY2020-2022, they bought 14,177 Armor Piercing Fin Stabilized Discarding Sabot Tracer (APFSDS-T) rounds in FY2021 and 8,245 in FY2022. 3,000 Counter UAS rounds were purchased in FY2021.

We know the Polar Security Cutter will get the Mk38 Mod4 and that, reportedly, existing installations of the Mk38 Mod2/3 are not expected to be replaced by the new mount.

I feel strongly that if the US ever experiences a terrorist attack, using a medium to large ship, the key asset, that will oppose them, will be a Webber class WPC.

Other US armed forces are not prepared to respond to this threat. There are no Navy ships near most of our ports. Our larger cutter will be either on distant patrol or unable to get underway in time. The Webber class will likely be the most heavily armed cutter available.

To be able to avoid being disabled by improvised armaments such a threat might bring along, e.g. ATGM, heavy machine guns, or anti-tank and anti-aircraft guns, we need to be able to engage from at least 4,000 yards.

Reportedly the 30mm MK258 MOD 1 APFSDS-T Swimmer round, “provides a short time of flight, high impact energy and maximum penetration capability out to more than 4 000 m,” so it should meet the range requirement. The effective range of the 25mm is only 2,700 yards (2,457 m) using HEI projectiles. It is probably over 3,200 yards using the APDS projectile.

The Coast Guard can make a strong case, that ships armed with nothing larger than the 25mm Mk38, specifically the Webber class, should either, be given the more capable 30mm Mk38 Mod4, or have short range missiles like APKWS or Hellfire mounted on the existing mounts (which might be the simplest and best solution). Similar missiles have already been mounted on the Israeli mount that is the Mk38 Mod2/3 and on the MSI mount that is the Mk38 Mod4. (My thoughts on countering such a terrorist threat and what we can do with what we have now are here.

To validate the capability of the 30mm with the APFSDS-T round, we really ought to do a SINKEX, using only this weapon from a range of 4000 yards or more. While a larger target might be more appropriate, the Coast Guard could offer up one or two of its decommissioned Island class 110 foot WPBs as targets for the 2024 RIMPAC. The 30mm used for the SINKEX might not be on a Coast Guard vessel, but perhaps if the first OPCs emerge with the 30mm Mk38 Mod4, they could have the honors. Using an OPC in a Coast Guard SINKEX would be a great debut for the new class, and if the 30mm proves ineffective, after expending the equivilent of an FRC’s ammo allowance, the OPC could then use the 57mm Mk110, perhaps with ALaMO ammunition.

We need to see how effective our weapons and their ammunition really are.

We have already had sort of a SINKEX using the 25mm, and it did not turn out well.

Coast Guard Mission from DOD Budget Justification

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Bailey Barco (WPC 1122), a fast response cutter, patrols the waters near Unalaska, Alaska, while providing a security escort for the USS Kentucky, an Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarine, August 24, 2017. The Bailey Barco, homeported in Ketchikan, Alaska, is the first Coast Guard fast response cutter to transit the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Ens. Brandon Newman

I took a quick look at the DOD 2022 budget justification overview. There was only a single paragraph that discussed a mission that the Coast Guard would be expected to do. From page 3-10:


Divest Coastal Riverine Squadron Craft

The Navy divests of 12 MK VI Patrol Boats from Coastal Riverine Squadrons. The Navy reallocated the associated end strength savings to higher priority Navy programs. The final deployment for the affected Coastal Riverine companies is scheduled to be complete by approximately the end of 2021. The MK VI requirement originated from a November 2007 Commander, U.S. Fifth Fleet Urgent Operational Needs Statement for a visit, board, search, and seizure overwatch platform in the littorals and the mission set was expanded to 2nd, 3rd and 7th Fleets and added maritime force protection, Theater Security Cooperation, Expeditionary MCM support, and intelligence collection tasks. Following divestment, these missions will be accomplished using other Navy platforms to include leveraging U.S. Coast Guard to escort High Value Units (HVU) (e.g., CVN, SSN, SSGN) in Fleet concentration areas. (Emphasis applied–Chuck)

 

“New division strengthens operational partnership with U.S. Navy” –MyCG

7.62 mm Chain Gun as Coax as optionally installed on 25 mm Mark 38 Mod 3. Image copyrighted by NAVSEA Dahlgren.

Below I have reproduced a story from the MyCG website . As someone who spent a considerable part of my Coast Guard career dealing with the Navy, it is gratifying to see some recognition of the potential and importance of this interface.

Still CG-453 seems to be pretty deeply buried in the Coast Guard HQ organization. Defense Readiness is one of our eleven missions and the interface with the Navy is central to that mission. From 1974 to 78, as a Lieutenant, I worked in the Military Readiness Division, Office of Operations. The division was headed, like this new office, by a Captain, and we also had a Navy Captain liaison officer. We did much the same work being expected of the CG-453, so I’m not sure there has been a lot of progress, but the existence of the National Fleet Board and Permanent Joint Working Group is encouraging.

There is much to do. 

This is not just about the Navy giving the Coast Guard a few second rate weapons so that cutters can do law enforcement and look sorta like warships. It should be about the Coast Guard being “Semper Paratus” to make a meaningful contribution to the national defense, if we should find ourselves in an existential fight with a near peer competitor, that will reorder all the national priorities.

Since the breakup of the Soviet Union, the US has enjoyed decades without the need to worry about a near peer competitor, but that has changed. So far, I see little indication the Coast Guard has stepped up to accept a meaningful wartime role in meeting the challenges of a now aggressive and capable Chinese military.

That is not to say we need to become Navy lite, but we have assets that with a little money, thought, and coordination with the Navy, could be useful if mobilization is require. I have suggested one possibility here.

While the Navy has shown little interest in weapons appropriate for small vessels, with the new interest in unmanned vessels, it appears they may be showing interest in weapons that might also equip Coast Guard patrol craft. These might include adaptation of Hellfire/JAGM and the Very Light Weight Torpedo. These systems could allow the Coast Guard to fill its unmet need to be able to forcibly stop vessels regardless of size. That would help a peacetime counter terrorism mission, but we may need the capability in wartime as well.

Textron Systems’ CUSV with Surface Warfare payload including Hellfire/JAGM Vertical Launch System at SAS 2019

If we do get into a conflict with the Chinese, I suspect one of the Coast Guard’s first responsibilities will be to take control of the very large fleets of Chinese controlled fishing and merchant vessels. Forcibly stopping these vessels may be a major problem.


Sep 13, 2021

New division strengthens operational partnership with U.S. Navy

By Janki Patel, MyCG Writer

When the Coast Guard deploys cutters and aircraft alongside Navy battle groups, the two components operate together in support of their mutual homeland security and national defense missions. The new Navy Type Navy Owned Combat Systems Management Division (CG-453) has been established to serve as the principal point of coordination between the Coast Guard and Navy System Commands.

In fiscal year 2021 (FY21), the Coast Guard provided nearly 2,900 cutter patrol days to support Department of Defense priorities including:

  • 2,000 major cutter days to Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) for drug interdiction operations.
  • National Security Cutter deployments to support Indonesia Pacific Operations.
  • National Security Cutter escort of two new Fast Response Cutters (FRC) to Navy’s Fifth Fleet.
  • Heavy Icebreaker support for Operation Deep Freeze.
  • Six Fast Response Cutters in Patrol Forces Southwest Asia to support Central Command (CENTCOM) and Fifth Fleet.

All of these joint missions were possible through shared common systems that provide the Coast Guard with the capability to act as a force multiplier for the Navy fleet.

The Navy will spend $164 million in FY21 on the acquisition and sustainment of surface, aviation, and command, control, communications, computers, combat systems and interoperability (C5I) equipment installed on our cutters, aircraft, and training centers.

Both Navy and Coast Guard platforms use the Navy Systems Commands, which offers interoperability between services and vessels. They are also being used to increase the Navy’s combatant picture. Because of the increased integration of our newest assets, it is vital to communicate across the:

  • Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) engineers, builds, buys, and maintains the U.S. Navy’s fleet of ships and its combat systems.
  • Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) supports naval aviation aircraft and airborne weapon systems.
  • Naval Information Warfare Systems Command (NAVWAR) is the communication center for information technology, sensors, and systems connecting air, surface, subsurface, space and cyberspace that are vital to the mission and to national security.
  • Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (OPNAV) is responsible for developing policy, procedures, and requirements and other logistics/warfare centers.

“Collectively, we work together with the Navy to make sure that requirements for the acquisitions program offices are met as well as any requirements for logistics/service centers,” said Capt. Patrick M. Lineberry, Chief of the NTNO Combat Systems Management Division. “On a daily basis, CG-453 works with Navy partners to ensure that the Navy is providing the common equipment that aligns joint resources and supports the acquisition of interoperable systems installed on Coast Guard surface, air, and land-based assets.”

Some of the types of equipment the office oversees are:

  • Fire control and multi-mode RADARs
  • Military satellite communication equipment
  • Electronic warfare systems
  • Large and medium caliber gun weapon systems

“The better stewards we can be of this equipment, the more capable we will be as a joint force in the maritime domain,” said Lineberry. “We will not only offset the Coast Guard budget, but also become more efficient for the taxpayer through common training, maintenance, and logistics systems.”

CG-453 also provides training on interoperable electronics and gun weapon systems to cutter technicians show them how to operate Navy guns and electronics that are also on Navy ships.

The new division was developed in partnership with the National Fleet Board and Permanent Joint Working Group.

“It took over 18 months to solidify culmination of efforts across multiple directorates, but the topic was discussed in some circles for several years before finally taking shape, under the direction of the Executive Steering Committee, led by Rear Adm. Douglas M. Schofield,” said Neal Pratt, Deputy of the NTNO Combat Systems Management Division.

Pratt has been working for 10 years to get the NTNO Program office from development to formal office status and is elated to see both the Coast Guard and the Navy realize the true potential of the NTNO Program, and how each service can mutually benefit from common electronics and weapons systems.

“NT/NO systems are evolving from the stand-alone systems, currently installed on legacy platforms, to complex electronics and gun weapon systems that integrate with command and control capabilities that may be owned by the Coast Guard or another Navy System Command,” added Pratt.

The CG-453 division aligns with “Advantage at Sea” a tri-service (Marine Corps, Navy, and Coast Guard) Joint Maritime Strategy.

Early stage efforts of CG-453 will focus on relationships, communications, and documenting Navy requirements and maintaining Navy systems throughout their entire lifecycle.

Please visit CG Portal site for more information.

How The Fleet Forgot to Fight” –CIMSEC

USCGC Stratton (WMSL-752), left, and the U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell (DDG-85) maneuver in formation during Talisman Sabre 2019 on July 11, 2019. US Navy Photo

Currently the CIMSEC web site is migrating to a new server so it is off line, but they have provided something a shorthand critique of how some think the Navy has fallen short, since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The Coast Guard still has Defense Readiness as one of its eleven missions. We in the Coast Guard are highly dependent on the Navy helping us know what needs doing, but I don’t think we should fail to think for ourselves.

This short five page outline of what the Navy has been doing wrong may be helpful because we have probably been making some of the same mistakes, not just in our preparation to fight a “near peer” major conflict, but in our response to the terror threat, and perhaps in our on-going war with drug smugglers.

White Hull Diplomacy, “The Coast Guard and Stability Operations” –Small Wars Journal

Coast Guard Cutter Stratton (WMSL 752) sales alongside the Indian coast guard ships Abheed and Shaurya (16) Aug. 23, 2019, while transiting in the Bay of Bengal off the coast of Chennai, India. The Stratton is participating in a professional exchange with the Indian coast guard that includes operational exercises at sea and on shore. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Stephen Esterly)

Small Wars Journal makes the case for designating the Coast Guard to maintain expertise in and conduct maritime stability operations.

Historically, the United States military is regularly involved in some sort of stability operation despite the military preference for high intensity conflict. … The United States risks losing some of the lessons learned if it does not develop a holistic and complementary Joint Force that can both dominate a peer enemy and conduct stability operations at and below the level of armed conflict. Competition means that forces will be employed across the spectrum of operations with equal emphasis. Designating specific services to conduct stability as a primary mission is one means of ensuring a Joint Force that is equally capable across the spectrum. The Coast Guard is uniquely suited to a lead role in maritime focused stability operations. As a military force that is resident within the inter-agency, the Coast Guard provides a presence that is “instantly acceptable because of their worldwide humanitarian reputation.” This forward presence dovetails with the Department of Homeland Security mission of “safeguarding the American people” by pushing the boundaries of U.S. law enforcement into regions and countries where it can mentor and develop partner capabilities in the areas it is needed most.

It quotes the Coast Guard Strategic Plan 2018-2022.

“The Coast Guard plays a critical role in strengthening governance in areas of strategic importance. We mature other nations’ inherent capabilities to police their own waters and support cooperative enforcement of international law through dozens of robust bilateral agreements. Our leadership on global maritime governing bodies and our collaborative approach to operationalize international agreements drives stability, legitimacy and order. As global strategic competition surges, adversaries become more sophisticated and the maritime environment becomes more complex. The Coast Guard provides a full spectrum of solutions, from cooperation to armed conflict.”

The post states,

“At its heart the primary stability tasks fall into seven military missions and activities:  protecting civilians, security sector reform, support to security cooperation, peace operations, foreign humanitarian assistance, counterinsurgency, and foreign internal defense.”

It then goes on to describe how the Coast Guard has done each of these tasks in the past.

What we may be seeing here is a preview of the roles the Coast Guard may be expected to perform when the expected Tri-Service Strategy is published.

Thanks to Geoff for the “White Hull Diplomacy” portion of the title. 

“Steer Clear of the Polar Regions” –USNI

 Photo: Official USCG Polar Star Facebook

The US Naval Institute Blog has a new post. Its bottom line,

For Semper Paratus to move beyond a mere slogan, the Coast Guard should steer clear of the Poles, decommission the two heavy icebreakers, and redirect resources toward coastal operations to better secure the homeland. As the smallest armed force, the Coast Guard must proactively roll back the nefarious reach of transnational human smuggling and narcoterrorism for the sake of national security. Leave the Poles to the Navy and to private sector research-and-development firms.

I am not going to comment, but I am sure someone will.