Coast Guard Overview

If you haven’t seen it already, the Coast Guard has a web site that provides a lot of information about the status of the service. The Coast Guard Overview includes sections on Missions, Workforce, Force Laydown, Assets, Authorities, Strategy, Budget, Leadership, Partnerships, and a Resource Library. (You do have to scroll down from the intro.)

I had not seen this before. It seems to be connected to the preparation for the Presidential Transition Team.

Added a link to the web site to the top of my Reference page, so it will be easy to find. I have to say I have not kept my Reference page up to date. I’ll be pay more attention to it.

Navy to Eliminate Rating System for Enlisted, CG to Follow?

The US Naval Institute News Service is reporting that the Navy will eliminate its 241 year old job specific rating system and move to a system more like that used by the Army, Air Force, and Marines.

I would assume the Coast Guard will follow suite. Changes to uniforms, schools, even the way petty officers are addressed.

The Navy will reportedly drop the Airman, Fireman, Seaman distinction for non-rates and call them all Seaman. Will we have Coast Guardsman Recruit, Coast Guardsman Apprentise, and Coast Guardsman as the new E-1, E-2, and E-3?

Commandant’s Strategic Intent, Mid-Term Report

Coast Guard Capt. Douglas Nash, commanding officer of Coast Guard Air Sation Sacramento, salutes a Coast Guard C-27J pilot during a change of watch ceremony at Air Station Sacramento's hanger in McClellan Park, Thursday, July 1, 2016. The ceremony marked the final day that an HC-130 Hercules crew stood the watch at Air Station Sacramento and introduced the newest aircraft. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Loumania Stewart

Procurement of 14 C-27J aircraft was one of the achievements sited. C-27Js replace C-130s at CGAS Sacramento. 

The Commandant has issued a mid-term update on his earlier published “Strategic Intent, 2015-2019” (pdf). The new document is available in pdf format. You can find it here: “United States Coast Guard Commandant’s Strategic Intent, 2015-2019, Mid-Term Report.”

It is relatively short and readable at 21 pages. The recurring themes of the Commandant’s administration are all there, starting with TOC (transnational organized crime) and its deleterious effect on Western Hemisphere governance and prosperity. It does read a little like an Officer Evaluation Report input.

There is nothing particularly surprising here, but even for me, the enumeration of the scope the Coast Guard’s authorities, responsibilities, and international contacts is still mind boggling.

I am not going to try to summarize the report, but there were a few things that struck me.

The Commandant mentions service life extension programs for the seagoing buoy tenders (already begun), the 47 foot MLBs, and the 87 foot WPBs (in the future), but there is no mention of what we will do about the inland tender fleet. There will also be a life extension program for helicopters before they are finally replaced.

“Extend the service life of our rotary wing assets and align with DOD’s Future Vertical Lift initiative.”

There is mention of a program I was not aware of, the “Defense Threat Reduction Agency National Coast Watch System project.” The Defense Threat Reduction Agency attempts to track and reduce the WMD threat. It is not really clear what our role is here. We know about the container inspection programs in foreign ports. Is that it, or is there more to this? (that can be discussed at an unclassified level.)

Britain–Maybe They Need a Coast Guard

There is concern that the kind of people smuggling seen in the Mediterranean may soon come to the English Channel, and according to Chief Inspector of Immigration and Borders David Bolt,

“’It isn’t just a question of people-smuggling. This is also a question of firearms, a question of drugs, we have been woefully unprepared.’

According to the post,

“Many European nations have significant coast guards with dozens, or even hundreds of craft working to protect human life at sea and the integrity of borders. Britain instead has a variety of agencies including the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, which has a small number of craft, the Border agency, which presently has two of their five customs cutters deployed to the Mediterranean rather than in home waters, and charities including the Royal National Lifeboat Institution which has no border defence role.

“Of the United Kingdom’s approximately 1,000 ports and harbours, only 500 are large enough to warrant the security features such as fences and restricted areas as mandated by the International Ship and Port Facility Security code, leaving half totally open to smugglers. At many UK ports, police and border force visits can be rare.”

I have no idea how serious this problem really is, or how serious it may become, but it does remind me of one advantage of having a relatively large, agile, multi-mission force as opposed to several smaller, narrowly focused organizations. When the US is suddenly faced with a crisis, be it a humanitarian crisis like the Mariel Boat Lift, weather related like Hurricane Katrina, a man made pollution incident like the Deepwater Horizon, or a natural disaster like the Earthquake in Haiti, the Coast Guard has the organization, the authority, the resources, and the culture that allows it to refocus and respond.

Thanks to Mike for bringing this to my attention.