UNITAS LXI Concludes

USCGC Legare in the foreground. Directly behind her is the Peruvian Italian built Lupo class frigate BAP Bolognesi (FM-57). To the right is a Colombian Fassmer designed 80 meter OPV (see links on photo below). To the left is an Italian built Ecuadorian Esmeraldas class corvette. US Navy photo by Naval Aircrewman 2nd Class Joseph Aubrey

We noted USCGC Legare’s participation in the 61st UNITAS exercise earlier. The exercise concluded Nov. 11. Below is a news release.

I am really surprised that I have not seen any Coast Guard public affairs information about this.

The exercise included a SINKEX. Would really like to know how that went. Did the Legare shot? Visible damage?

There is no specific mention of submarines in the news release, but it did say there were ASW exercises. Several of the participating nations have subs. Bet, somewhere there is a photo of Legare in the cross hairs of a periscope.


UNITAS LXI, the world’s longest running multinational maritime exercise concluded with a closing ceremony in Manta, Ecuador, Nov. 11.

For this year’s iteration of UNITAS, Ecuador served as the host nation, joined by forces from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Peru, Uruguay, and the United States.

Partner nations used 13 warships and 12 aircraft to conduct scenario-driven joint and combined operations and training to enhance interoperability, flexibility, and increase maritime, air, and ground-domain awareness in the Western Hemisphere.

Events included: surface tactical maneuvers, a sinking exercise (SINKEX), a live-fire exercise, a replenishment-at-sea, search and rescue exercises, anti-submarine warfare exercises, air defense exercises, amphibious landing, reconnaissance, assault, security, and humanitarian assistance/disaster relief response training.

The at-sea phase culminated in a multi-threat, multi-day scenario that allowed participants to work together, further increasing preparedness for real-world crises that would require a multi-national force response effort.

Additionally, U.S. Marine Corps Forces South hosted partner-nations at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, to integrate with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force – Southern Command and conducted further interoperability training for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief situations.

“Congratulations to all participants on the successful execution of UNITAS LXI,” said Brig. Gen. Phillip Frietze, commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, South. “Your efforts and performance have contributed to building the capacity and strength of our nations to rise together and achieve common goals.”

Peru will host UNITAS LXII next year to celebrate the bicentennial of the country and the Peruvian navy.

For 61 years, the United States has built upon commonalities and increased capabilities within the Western Hemisphere through exercise UNITAS. Different countries host the exercise each year, facilitating the opportunity to gain experience leading a multinational force through complex joint and combined maritime warfare scenarios and exercises.

UNITAS, Latin for “unity,” was conceived in 1959, first executed in 1960 and has been held every year since. This year marks the 61st iteration of UNITAS. The exercise continues to develop and sustain relationships that improve the capacity of our emerging and enduring partners’ joint and combined maritime forces to achieve common desired effects and fosters friendly cooperation and understanding between participating military forces.

U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet is responsible for U.S. Naval forces in the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility, including the Caribbean, Central and South America.

For more information and news from U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command & U.S. 4th Fleet, visit http://www.navy.mil/local/cusns/, https://www.facebook.com/NAVSOUS4THFLT, and https://twitter.com/NAVSOUS4THFLT.

201104-N-N3674-011 MANTA, Ecuador (November 4, 2020) Naval ships from Ecuador, Colombia, Peru and the United States conduct naval formations during a training exercise for UNITAS LXI (U.S. Navy photo by Damage Controlman Fireman Isaiah Libunao/Released) The two ships leading are Columbian. The ship in the foreground right is a FASSMER designed 80 meter OPV ARC 7 de Agosto (PZE-47)

USCGC Legare Participates in UNITAS LXI

USCG LEGARE (WMEC 912) passing by pier No. 9 at the Norfolk Naval Base. Returning to port after the passage of Hurricane Floyd up the east coast. Location: HAMPTON ROADSTEAD, VA, Photo credit: Don S. Montgomery, USN (RET)

UPI is reporting that, beginning this week, USCGC Legare (WMEC-912) will be participating in this year’s UNITAS exercise along with USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10), USNS Burlington (T-EPF-10), Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 23 Detachment 9 (which flies MH-60S and MQ-8B drones), Patrol Squadron 9, Patrol Squadron 26 (both VP-9 and VP-26 fly the P-8 Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft) and the U.S. Army Vessel Chickahominy (LCU-2011).

Other participants include representatives form Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Peru and Uruguay for a total of 13 ships.

Freedom of Navigation off Venezuela

Orthographic map of Venezuela centered on Caracas
Controlled territory in dark green.
Claimed territory in light green.
From Wikipedia, Author: Addicted04

Perhaps significantly for the Coast Guard’s drug interdiction efforts in the Caribbean, Navy Times is reporting that the Navy has been conducting Freedom of Navigation Operations off the Venezuelan coast in response to excessive claims not in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

A command official said the mission was undertaken “to challenge Venezuela’s excessive maritime claim of security jurisdiction from 12 to 15 nautical miles along its coastline and prior permission requirement for military operations within the Exclusive Economic Zone, which are contrary to international law.”

These are waters where Coast Guard cutters conduct law enforcement operations. If Venezuela wants to make a show of opposing US operations in these waters, it would be a lot easier for them to take on a 210 that a DDG or even an LCS.

“The Coast Guard Should Helm SouthCom” –US Naval Institute Proceedings

Source: UNrefugees.com

The US Naval Institute has published a feature article by two USCG Lieutenant Commanders, Krystyn Pecora and Piero Pecora, suggesting that perhaps a Coast Guard flag Officer should command SouthCom.

This would certainly put the US military presence in Latin America in a different light, after a history of US meddling in Latin American internal affairs.

“Safety, stability, and economic prosperity in this region will help allay the continuing migration crisis, lay the groundwork for disaster-resilient communities, and prevent a Chinese foothold in the Western Hemisphere. The traditional DoD approach of building partner-nation military capabilities through training and access to U.S. equipment in trade for forward-deployed staging access will not suffice to achieve these goals. It will require a focus on building local civil, law enforcement, and military authorities capable of rooting out TCOs—a mission tailor-made for the Coast Guard. “

While being a Combatant Commander would certainly be a change from the Coast Guard’s normal supporting role, it might not be too much of a stretch. After all, we are not engaged in actual combat in Latin America. Generally Coast Guard forces make up most of SouthCom’s operational units,

and other Department of Homeland Security (DHS) assets make up much of the rest.

Coast Guard leadership in SouthCom is a natural fit. Coast Guard officers have led SouthCom’s J-3 directorate for nearly a decade, and its primary component command, Joint Interagency Task Force–South, for nearly three decades. SouthCom’s lines of effort—building relationships, countering threat networks, and enabling rapid response—all align with the Coast Guard’s statutory missions.

Looking at the humanitarian crisis that is driving the illegal immigration at the border, DHS might see DHS coordination of the US response, in the form of a Coast Guard SouthCom, as the best hope for a long term solution.

Something is Happening in Venezuela

Orthographic map of Venezuela centered on Caracas. Controlled territory in dark green. Claimed territory in light green. From Wikipedia, author: Addicted04

Venezuela is in an area vital to the Coast Guard’s drug interdiction effort.

CBS is reporting,

President Trump recognized the chief opposition leader in Venezuela, National Assembly President Juan Guaido, as the country’s legitimate interim president. The rare move by the White House comes as large anti-government protests erupted across the South American nation on Wednesday.

The Organization of American States (OAS) recently passed a resolution agreeing not to recognize the legitimacy of Maduro’s new term, which began on January 10.

What happens next is anybody’s guess. Civil war is possible, and it already looks like a humanitarian crisis. That our cutters may become involved in some way is not out of the question.

Thanks to Andres for bringing this to my attention.

A Conversation with Admiral Karl Schultz, Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard–CSIS

CSIS and the United States Naval Institute (USNI) conduct an interview with Admiral Karl L. Schultz, the 26th Commandant of the United States Coast Guard, conducted 1 August, 2018.

Below I will attempt to outline the conversation, noting the topics and in some cases providing a comment.

The first question is about immigration. Coast Guard is the “away game.” minimizing the factors that push immigration to the US.

The Commandant does not expect a substantial increase in help from the Navy, because they are already heavily tasked, but would welcome any additional help.

06:30 Talk about Inland fleet. Congressional support is evident. $25M provided so far.

9:20 House Appropriations Committee decision to divert $750M from the icebreaker program to fund “the Wall” in their markup of the FY2019 budget bill. The Commandant is “guardedly optimistic”

11:30 Human capital readiness? Operating account has been flat and effectively we have lost 10% in purchasing power. Want to increase leadership training.

16:30 Support for combatant commanders.

18:00 Capacity building and partnering. Detachments working on host nation platforms.

21:00 Defense Force planning–Not going back to the MARDEZ model.

22:30 Situation in Venezuela/Preparation for dealing with mass migration.

24:30 Arctic forums–Need to project our sovereignty

29:00 UNCLOS

30:00 Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA)

32:30 Tracking cargo as an element of MDA

34:00 Cyber

36:15 High Latitude engagement/partnerships.

39:30 Perhaps the icebreaker should be the “Polar Security Cutter?”

40:00 International ice patrol, still an important mission.

41:00 CG role in response to Chinese aggressiveness in the South China Sea. In discussion with Indo-Pacific Command. Will see more CG presence there.

44:00 Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC)–on track

46:30 Border issue — passed on that

48:00 Small satellites–we are looking at them

49:00 African Capacity building/cooperation. May send an MEC.

51:30 Tech modernization. Looking at it more holistically.

Other Coverage:

This interview prompted a couple of notable posts.

SeaPower’s coverage of the discussion is here. They focused on the growth of demands on the Coast Guard.

Military.com reported on the possibility of a greater Coast Guard role in South East Asia and capacity building in Africa. It probably should be noted that the title, “Coast Guard Could Send Ship to Pacific to ‘Temper Chinese Influence’,”is a bit deceptive in that the Commandant’s remark about tempering Chinese Influence was in regard to Oceania, the islands of the Central and Western Pacific. The Commandant was quoted in the Seapower post, “In the Oceania region, there are places where helping them protect their interests, tempering that Chinese influence, is absolutely essential.”

Tropical Currents: SOUTHCOM’s 2018 Posture Statement–CIMSEC

SOUTHCOM Area of Responsibility

CIMSEC has a review of SOUTHCOM’s 2018 posture statement. Not surprisingly there is much discussion of the Coast Guard and drug interdiction.

Thanks to Lee for bringing this to my attention.

 

 

New Photos of Chile’s Fassmer-80 OPV

, Andres In April 2014 a guest author, Andres Tavolari, provided one of our most popular posts, about a multi-national program to build OPVs to a German design, the 264 foot Fassmer-80. Andres has provided pictures of the latest Chilean vessel of this class, OPV-84 “Cabo Odger” which is to be the forth of a projected six. It is slightly larger than the first ships of the class at 1771.6 tons. She is also ice strengthened and is equipped a recycled 76mm and different radar and communications systems.

This class is one of three contenders for Australia’s OPV program.

LATIN AMERICAN NAVIES AND ANTARCTICA–CIMSEC

Peru’s BAP Carrasco (BOP-171). Photo by Alejo Marchessini (amarchessini@edefa.acom)

CIMSEC has a review of Latin American efforts in the Antarctic. It refers to the efforts of the Navies of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Colombia and Uruguay. The post provides links, (mostly in Spanish) but few photos, so I am providing some photos to illustrate some of the major vessels refered to in the post. There were earlier post about the planned new Chilean icebreaker/supply vessel and Argentina’s newly refurbished icebreaker. Below is a chart of the current claims on Antarctica as reported in Wikipedia.

Chile’s current icebreaker, 6500 ton former Canadian icebreaker, Almirante Oscar Viel

Colombia’s ARC 20 de Julio (PZE-46) which has been modified for operations in the Antarctic. Photo by Juan Nation

Uruguay’s Vanguardia

Brazil’s Almirante Maximiano (H-41) a 5,450 ton icebreaking supply vessel. Brazilian Navy photo

Brazil’s Ary Rongel, Brazilian Ministry of Defense photo, 06/10/2014, Niterói – RJ
Fotos: Felipe Barra