Three Part Webinar Follows USCGC Healy

A three part Webinar will discuss USCGC Healy’s transit of the Arctic Ocean and North Atlantic. I have reproduced most of the information below. The original is here.

Marine ecosystems don’t start and stop at international borders, so when it comes to the effects of climate change on the ocean, we’re all in the same boat. An effective response requires teamwork.

To that end, NERACOOS and CIOOS Atlantic have teamed up to host a three-part webinar series featuring discussions with local experts on scientific, economic, and policy issues facing coastal communities spanning the Arctic to the Northeastern seaboard of the United States.

Each of the three seminars will coincide with part of the voyage of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy, which has partnered with Canada to undertake a research cruise circumnavigating North America. As the Healy passes through the Arctic, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and the Gulf of Maine, experts in a variety of subjects will speak about the challenges they’re encountering, and how we can come up with solutions that transcend borders.
Use the links below to register for each webinar
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Email Address

Speaker Lineup for September 22nd: The Arctic

(All times are Eastern, GMT-5; agenda subject to change)

  • 12:00-12:05- Welcome, review agenda
  • 12:05-12:15- Opening remarks by Melanie Zimmerman, U.S. Consul General
  • 12:15-12:25- Update from USCGC Healy from Bob Pickart, Senior Scientist
  • 12:25-13:10- Panel #1: State of the Science
    • 12:25-12:50-
      • Christina MacDonald, Arctic Eider Society
      • Kristin Schild, University of Maine
      • Lorenz Meire, Greenland Climate Research Centre
      • Mark Patterson, Northeastern University
    • 12:50-13:10- Discussion & audience Q&A
  • 13:10-13:55- Panel #2: Policy, Economic & Community Perspectives
    •  13:10-13:35-
      • Andrew Arreak, SmartICE
      • Chris Flanagan, Baffin Fisheries
      • Michael Sfraga, Wilson Center Polar Institute
    •  13:35-13:55- Discussion & audience Q&A
  • 13:55-14:00- Wrap-up & adjourn

“Coast Guard Pacific Area hosts North Pacific Coast Guard Forum Summit” –News Release

Winkel Tripel projection, WGS84 datum, central meridian : 150°E. Source Wikipedia Commons, Author: Eric Gaba

PACAREA news release.

united states coast guard

News Release

U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area
September 17, 2021

Coast Guard Pacific Area hosts North Pacific Coast Guard Forum Summit

Admiral McAllister

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

ALAMEDA, Calif. – The commander of U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area, an Alameda-based unit that oversees U.S. Coast Guard activities from the U.S. western states to Asia and from the Arctic to Antarctica, hosted an annual forum summit with coast guard counterparts from five countries Tuesday through Thursday.

During this year’s North Pacific Coast Guard Forum Summit, forum members gathered virtually over the course of three days to discuss topics such as challenges in the North Pacific, the need for coordinated responses to those challenges, and Japan Coast Guard’s best practices and lessons learned while supporting the Tokyo Olympics. 

The North Pacific Coast Guard Forum formed in 2000, and it comprises the coast guard and maritime law enforcement agencies of Canada, China, Japan, South Korea, Russia, and the United States. Its six main areas of focus are combating illegal trafficking, combined operations, emergency response, fisheries enforcement, information exchange, and maritime security. A non-binding memorandum of cooperation all participating nations signed governs it.

“I am thrilled that coast guard leaders from six nations with common maritime interests made time to come together for three days to discuss our countries’ shared challenges in the North Pacific region,” said Vice Adm. Michael F. McAllister, commander, U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area and U.S. Coast Guard executive agent for the forum. “The forum presents us the invaluable opportunity to communicate best practices, learn from each other and share information on myriad topics including search and rescue, counterdrug, pollution response, illicit trafficking, and illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, among others.”

By the conclusion of the summit, forum members prepared a renewed memorandum of cooperation for signature by the heads of the delegation and completed many of the final plans for this year’s multi-mission multilateral exercise, which the Canadian Coast Guard plans to host virtually in October.

On a rotating basis, each forum nation hosts two annual weeklong multi-lateral meetings. The first is an experts meeting held each spring and the second is the summit meeting in the fall.  The multi-mission multilateral exercise is the exercise component of the forum. At the conclusion of this year’s summit, South Korea assumed the host nation duties for 2022. 


USCGC Munro trains with Royal Australian Navy

HMAS Sirius conducts a dual replenishment at sea with HMAS Canberra and USCG Cutter Munro as HMAS Anzac sails behind, during Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2021.

Sounds like Munro is having an interesting and unusual deployment, though these WestPac deployments are getting more common. Below is a Pacific Area news release.

united states coast guard

News Release

U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area
Sept. 16, 2021

U.S. Coast Guard cutter engages in maritime training with Royal Australian Navy

Photo of USCG Munro and Royal Australian Navy Photo of USCG Munro and Royal Australian Navy
Photo of USCGC Munro and Royal Australian Navy Photo of USCGC Munro and Royal Australian Navy

Editors’ Note: Photos courtesy of Royal Australian Navy. Click on images to download high resolution versions.

ALAMEDA, Calif. — U.S. Coast Guard members aboard the Alameda-based Coast Guard Cutter Munro (WMSL 755) participated in a cooperative three-day at-sea exercise with the Royal Australian Navy in the South China Sea Saturday through Monday.

The joint training engagement included joint operations, professional exchanges, and multi-unit maneuvering at sea to strengthen interoperability between the U.S. Coast Guard and Royal Australian Navy.

“These at-sea engagements with our long-standing partners in the Indo-Pacific region provided an excellent joint training opportunity for the crew,” said Munro’s Commanding Officer Capt. Blake Novak. “Enhancing cooperation and building trust strengthens our relationship with the Royal Australian Navy while expanding our regional security cooperation initiatives.”

The U.S. Coast Guard has a long history of cooperation with the Royal Australian Navy. The U.S. and Australia, along with New Zealand and France, make up the Pacific Quadrilateral Defense Coordinating Group or P-QUAD. P-QUAD endeavors to enhance maritime security in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean in partnership with the Pacific Island Countries through organizations such as the Fisheries Forum Agency.

“The United States and Australia have deep and abiding interests throughout the Pacific,” said Vice Adm. Michael F. McAllister, commander, U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area. “As leaders in maritime safety and security, our forces are dedicated to upholding regional sovereignty, stability and security. Through joint operations with Australia, we strengthen our interoperability with an ally deeply committed to promote international rules and norms within the Indo-Pacific.”

“The Royal Australian Navy has enjoyed multiple opportunities throughout the year to work with the United States in the Indo-Pacific,” said Capt. David Teitzel, Royal Australian Navy, Commander Task Group 635.3. “Being able to operate with a United States Coast Guard cutter like USCGC Munro has strengthened how we interoperate and boosts how we work together in the interest of regional security. I thank Munro for their time in-company and we look forward to sailing with the United States Coast Guard again.”

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

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.

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. The service routinely provides forces in joint military operations worldwide, including the deployment of cutters, boats, aircraft and deployable specialized forces.

Additional photos of the exercise provided courtesy of the Royal Australian Navy are available here.

“Chinese Warships Sailing Near Alaska’s Aleutian Islands Shadowed By U.S. Coast Guard” –Small Wars Journal

US Coast Guard Captain Tim Brown, USCGC Bertholf’s commanding officer, communicates with a Chinese warship near Alaska in August 2021.

Small Wars Journal has reported,

“The U.S. Coast Guard recently released a set of pictures of the Legend class cutter USCGC Bertholf shadowing a group of four Chinese warships sailing in America’s Exclusive Economic Zone near Alaska’s Aleutian Islands back in August. The emergence of these pictures follows the editor-in-chief of Global Times, a newspaper under the direct control of the Chinese Communist Party, taking to Twitter to criticize U.S. Navy operations in the Pacific that routinely challenge many of Beijing’s widely disputed maritime territorial claims, especially in the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait, and warn of tit-for-tat activities on the part of the People’s Liberation Army Navy.”

The PLAN task force apparently consist of a type 055 very large destroyer or cruiser,

a Type 052D destroyer,

a Type 903 replenishment ship,

160805-N-AI605-081 PEARL HARBOR (AUG 5, 2016) Chinese Navy replenishment ship Gaoyouhu (996) departs Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam following the conclusion of Rim of the Pacific 2016. (U.S. Navy Photo By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Rebecca Wolfbrandt/RELEASED)

and an intelligence-gathering ship with the hull number 799.

This is of course a bit unusual, but not something to be alarmed about. Given the current size and capability of the Chinese Navy (PLAN) we could expect them to transit within 20 miles of San Francisco or Los Angeles.

We recognize their right to do that.

But (there is always that but), having 176 vertical launch cells transiting a few miles away from major US cities does require a bit of mental adjustment, and it suggests maybe we are not as well prepared as we might be.

I almost hope they do it. The American public needs a wake-up call.

Think the Navy could sortie a couple of DDGs on short notice to shadow them?

“NAVCENT Establishes Task Force for Unmanned System Operations” –Seapower

MetalCraft Marine 7 meter “The Watcher” Autonomous Surface Vessel (ASV)

Seapower reports that the Navy has set up a task force within NAVCENT (the naval component of CENTCOM) to use and mature unmanned systems.

TF59 “is designed to integrate unmanned systems and AI. Task Force 59 is the first U.S. Navy task force of its kind … taking efforts from across the Navy, concentrating them here in a forward operating environment — a forward fleet — to gradually move toward development and integration.”

The Coast Guard’s PATFORSWA is part of NAVCENT. I can’t help but believe that they will be seen as the most convenient units to use to test some of these systems. The task force commander, Capt. Michael Brasseur, is a former Cyclone class Coastal Patrol CO, so he has certainly worked with the Coast Guard in the past.

The launch ramp in the stern of the Webber class might be useful for launching unmanned surface and subsurface vessels.

The Coast Guard might get some personnel experienced in working with unmanned systems as a result.

“U.S., Canadian crews conduct joint training exercise during CGC Healy’s Northwest Passage transit” –PACAREA

Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Karl Schultz speaks to Brendon Mendenhall, from the Ship-Based Technical Support in the Arctic (STARC) program, working aboard Coast Guard Cutter Healy (WAGB 20), during a visit aboard Healy while near Resolute, Nunavut, Canada on Sept. 6, 2021. Healy and its crew are circumnavigating North America to strengthen allied partnerships, in addition to conducting Coast Guard missions and supporting oceanographic research to increase understanding of the changing Arctic environment and associated impacts. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer First Class Michael Underwood.

News about USCGC Healy’s activities that will include transit of the North West Passage and circumnavigation of North America. The Commandant pays a call and ops with Canadian Coast Guard.

united states coast guard

News Release

U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area
Sept. 6, 2021
Contact: Coast Guard Pacific Area Public Affairs

U.S., Canadian crews conduct joint training exercise during CGC Healy’s Northwest Passage transit

Photo of U.S. and Canadian Coast Guard members Photo of Coast Guard commandant speaking with Arctic support member
Photo of helicopter landing on cutter Photo of Coast Guard vessel

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

ALAMEDA — The Coast Guard Cutter Healy’s (WAGB 20) crew conducted a search-and-rescue exercise and professional exchange with members of the Canadian Coast Guard and Canadian Rangers near Resolute Bay in Nunavut, Canada, Sept. 6, 2021, during Healy’s Northwest Passage transit.

The search-and-rescue exercise enhanced interoperability and effectiveness of response capabilities amongst the services.

U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Karl Schultz, Canadian Coast Guard Commissioner Mario Pelletier and Canadian Coast Guard Assistant Commissioner for the Arctic Region Neil O’Rourke were aboard Healy to meet with the crew and observe the joint training exercise.

“Training alongside our Canadian partners while underway in the Arctic during a historic circumnavigation of North America is a great example of enhancing our interoperability and mission capabilities,” said Schultz. “Healy is supporting oceanographic research with the science community during this deployment to the critically important Arctic region.”

The U.S. Coast Guard is the nation’s leader in Arctic surface operations and coordinates with international partners to maintain the region as safe, prosperous and cooperative by strengthening international and intergovernmental partnerships in the region through joint exercises and professional exchanges.

“Seeing the members of the Canadian Coast Guard work hand in hand with their counterparts from the Healy has been inspiring,” said Pelletier. “The vastness of the Arctic makes this a very difficult environment for emergency response making every opportunity for training valuable. These exercises ensure our two countries’ Coast Guards stand ready and able to assist should we be needed.”

Coast Guard icebreaker crews aboard Healy and the Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star (WAGB 10) deploy to conduct statutory Coast Guard missions in the Polar Regions such as search-and-rescue and the protection of marine resources. Additionally, the crews support oceanographic research in the Arctic and Antarctic.

The Healy crew is collaborating with the international science community and institutions from the U.S., Canada, Norway and Denmark to perform oceanographic projects throughout the Northwest Passage and within Baffin Bay to inform environmental change research.

The Healy, a 420-foot-long medium icebreaker, departed its Seattle homeport July 10 for a months-long Arctic deployment and circumnavigation of North America. Since departing, the crew has been executing Coast Guard missions, supporting oceanographic research and conducting training to develop the Coast Guard’s future Polar security cutter sailors.

Additional photos from Healy’s deployment are available here. Subscribe here to receive notifications when new photos are added.


“USCGC Escanaba (WMEC 907) returns home to Portsmouth after historic 50-day patrol” –LANT AREA

Courtesy Photo | USCGC Escanaba (WMEC 907) and USCGC Richard Snyder (WPC 1127) practice maneuvering with the Royal Canadian Navy’s HMCS Goose Bay (MM 707) in the Davis Strait on Aug. 13, 2021. In Operation Nanook, the U.S. Coast Guard seeks to work collaboratively with other international partners to enhance collective abilities to respond to safety and security issues in the High North through the air and maritime presence activities, maritime domain defense, and security exercises. (Photo courtesy Royal Canadian Navy)

Below is an Atlantic Area press release. We discussed Operation Nanook earlier, and it looks like Escanaba is arriving just in time for the triple change of home port ceremony reported earlier today.

united states coast guard

News Release

U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area

USCGC Escanaba (WMEC 907) returns home to Portsmouth after historic 50-day patrol

Escanaba crewmembers greet families  Escanaba arrives to Portsmouth Escanaba crew handle lines

Editors’ Note: To view more or download high-resolution photos and b-roll video, click on the photos above.
To see more on Op Nanook please visit Op Nanook 21 on DVIDS by clicking here.

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — The crew of USCGC Escanaba (WMEC 907) returned home to Portsmouth on Tuesday following a historic 50-day patrol in support of Operation Nanook in the Arctic region and the Labrador Sea.

Operation Nanook supports the Coast Guard Arctic strategy to develop international relations with like-minded Arctic states, enhance maritime domain awareness, and expand service capabilities within the region.

Escanaba deployed with the 154-foot Sentinel-class fast response cutter Richard Snyder and an embarked members of the Maritime Security Response Team East. The operation expanded the logistical boundaries of the FRC fleet and further refined the modular capabilities of deployable special forces to enhance a cutter’s organic law enforcement capabilities.

Operation Nanook was made up of two phases, Tuugaalik and Tatigiit. The Tuugaalik phase brought the crews of Escanaba, Richard Snyder, and the Royal Canadian navy together to exercise best practices and demonstrate responsive capabilities to potential terrorist or adversarial threats. The training exercises included were a live-fire surface gunnery exercise, close-quarters formation steaming, towing, small boat approaches, and communication drills. In the following phase, Tatigiit, the Escanaba, and Richard Snyder teams participated in a mass casualty and pollution event along the shores of Baffin Island. Both cutters crews seamlessly supported the Royal Canadian navy in rescue and assistance procedures and creating search and rescue patterns.

In addition to conducting law enforcement operations, Escanaba’s crew participated in Frontier Sentinel, a training event with the U.S. and Royal Canadian navies. The exercise simulated a multi-national response to a maritime threat and strengthened interoperability between all three services.

USCGC Escanaba is a 270-foot Famous-class medium endurance cutter, previously known as “The Pride of Boston, now re-homeported to Portsmouth.

Remember the ALaMO?

We have been following the development of the ALaMO guided round for the 57mm Mk110 for some time. This round is expected to equip the National Security Cutters and Offshore Patrol Cutters in addition to the Littoral Combat Ships.

MilitaryLeak.Com reports on the progress of the program. 

“The MK 332 Mod 0 High Explosive 4 Bolt Guided (HE-4G) is a low-cost 57 mm guided smart ammunition intended for use on the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship and new Fast Frigate, as well as the U.S. Coast Guard’s National Security and Offshore Patrol Cutters. The ALaMO Program qualifies the 57 mm MK 332 Mod 0 High Explosive, 4-Bolt Guided (HE-4G) Cartridge for the United States Navy (U.S. Navy ). Completion of the (Critical Design Report) (CDR) phase allows the program to progress to qualification testing, munition certification and transition to production. L3 Mustang was competing against BAE Systems and its ORKA 57 mm guided smart ammunition.”

The video above accompanied the report. It is from 2018, but still provides good information. Notably the company representative makes no claims for the ALaMO round as an anti-aircraft round, although I have seen claims for its use against UAS. It is primarily intended as an anti-surface round, particularly for use against swarming surface craft.

“Coast Guard Polar Security Cutter (Polar Icebreaker) Program: Background and Issues for Congress” –CRS, Updated August 17, 2021

Photo of a model of Halter Marine’s Polar Security Cutter seen at Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space Exhibition have surfaced. Photo credit Chris Cavas.

The Congressional Research Service has once again updated their look at the Polar Security Cutter (heavy icebreaker) program. (See the latest version here.) My last look at this evolving document was in regard to the July 1,2021 revision.

Changes are few. There is continued concern caused by the late start in construction of the first Polar Security Cutter. There is affirmation of House Appropriations Committee support for the Administrations proposal to fund $170,000,000 for a portion of the long lead time materials for a third PSC. While there was no change to the Administration proposal, there were some interesting comments.

(From p.13/14) “In a letter dated August 16, 2021, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee requested the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to review the management of the PSC acquisition program and the Coast Guard’s efforts to address icebreaking capability gaps until the PSCs are fully operational. The letter stated:

“The PSC’s shipbuilder, VT Halter, [has] begun designing the [Polar Security] cutters but challenges, including impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, have delayed these efforts as well as the start of lead ship construction. To mitigate the effect of these delays, DHS and the Coast Guard may authorize the start of construction before the design is stabilized—a practice that has resulted in poor outcomes, including cost growth, for other shipbuilding programs. Further, with the delivery of the first cutter delayed, the Coast Guard must continue to rely on the aging Polar Star—the U.S.’s only operational heavy icebreaker—and explore other options to address the capability gaps, which could be costly.

“Given the schedule delays and potential for cost growth, continued oversight of the PSC program is critical. As such, the Committee requests that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) review the management of the PSC acquisition program and the Coast Guard’s efforts to address icebreaking capability gaps until the PSCs are fully operational, including but not limited to:

  • The status of the PSC acquisition program and Coast Guard’s efforts to manage schedule delays and cost growth;

  • The status of efforts to maintain and extend the life of the Polar Star; and

  • The status of the Coast Guard’s efforts to explore other icebreaking alternatives.

As for the comments, first there was the perennial attempt to get more icebreaking assets for the Great Lakes.

Great Lakes Icebreaker Program.—The Coast Guard is tasked by Executive Order to carry out icebreaking efforts in support of commerce. The Committee is concerned that in recent years, performance metrics for icebreaking on the Great Lakes has been redefined by the availability of assets, rather than mission requirements, often with severe economic impacts. As the Coast Guard begins to define its requirements for the recapitalization of ice breaking assets in the Great Lakes, the Committee directs the Coast Guard to incorporate historical measures of performance. Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Coast Guard is directed to brief the Committee on such performance measures and other considerations for planning the recapitalization of assets in the Great Lakes. (p. 28)

Then there was a comment addressed to the Navy,

The Committee understands that the Coast Guard is expanding its fleet of polar icebreakers but is disappointed that the Navy has not also considered purchasing either new or used icebreakers. The Committee directs the Secretary of the Navy to submit a report to the congressional defense committees not later than 60 days after the enactment of this Act which details the Navy’s plan  to address this capability requirement in fiscal year 2022 and the future years defense program.