FierceHomelandSecurity is reporting on testimony of VAdm. Charles Michel before the House Transportation subcommittee on Coast Guard and maritime transportation. As we have seen so many times recently, the Deputy commandant for Operations is pointing out that we simply do not have enough cutters to act upon all the intelligence we have for counter-drug operations. (If you look at the actual testimony, he also covers much more.)
It seems the Commandant and his staff have been repeating the same story at every opportunity.
I think they are doing the right thing. The Commandant makes a convincing case for why the country should want to do this. The other theme that accompanies it is the need for three heavy and three medium icebreakers, and the fact that the Coast Guard cannot afford to build them without a substantial budget increase.
It seems the Commandant and staff are doing their best to make a case for more money for shipbuilding. They are using the DHS Fleet Mix Study to point to the need for even more cutters than provided in the program of record and the “High Latitude Region Mission Analysis” to justify the Icebreakers.
I could point to additional shortfalls including the dearth of assets in the Western Pacific, but it looks like the Commandant has chosen his battle, and he is fighting it with determination.
The question now is, is anyone really interested in the Polar regions and our neighbors in Latin America and the problems created by the criminals that run the drug trade there.
Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft delivers his first State of the Coast Guard Address and outlines how America’s Coast Guard will meet the challenges of today while preparing for complexities that remain ahead. U.S. Coast Guard video by Telfair. H. Brown, Sr.
The Commandant has issued his State of the Coast Guard address, and I think you will find it well said, even inspiring. You can watch it above or read more here.
CIMSEC continues their series on “non-navies” with “Narco-Submarines: Drug Cartels’ Innovative Technology,” by Byron Ramirez. It provides an overview of the state of narco-sub development, employment, and countermeasures. It also announces the imminent publication of an unclassified study, “Narco-Submarines – Specially Fabricated Vessels Used For Drug Smuggling Purposes,” to be released by the Foreign Military Studies Office (FMSO).
FierceHomelandSecurity is reporting on testimony of both the Commandant and the Commander of SouthCom, Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly, before a joint hearing of the House Transportation and Infrastructure and Foreign Affairs subcommittees.
“Joint Interagency Task Force South, which is part of Southcom and includes the Coast Guard, (other–Chuck) military services and other agencies, seizes the majority of the cocaine bound for the United States, said Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly, the Southcom commander. Yet it receives only 1.5 percent of the federal government’s total counternarcotics budget, he said.”
Over the last five years, Coast Guard ships and law enforcement detachments operating in the offshore regions have removed more than a million pounds of cocaine with a wholesale value of nearly $17 billion. This is more than two times the amount of cocaine seized by all other U.S. federal, state and local law enforcement agencies combined.
While I have my own reservations about the effectiveness of efforts to restrict supply, if you are going to attempt to cut supply, it sure looks like funding Coast Guard efforts should be the first place to put your money.
The US Naval Institute’s News Service has a summary of Admiral Papp’s testimony before the House’s Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security. He outlines what he sees as the effect of budget cuts and sequestration.
He connected the cuts to a general decline in patrol activity,
“Papp acknowledged the sequestration’s impact in another way in answering a question about why the Coast Guard’s patrols in the air and on the water declined by more than 6,000 hours last year because of “asset failures,” in the words of a Department of Homeland Security inspector general’s report.”
Defense News is reporting DOD is apparently discussing changes to its COCOM structure. One possible change is combining NORTHCOM and SOUTHCOM into a single AOR.
Since the current boundary bisects maritime smuggling routes, this change might be helpful in easing coordination of counter drug patrols and might make it easier for the resulting organization to consider alternative strategies regarding where to commit assets.
“Combining Northern and Southern commands could lead to greater resources for activities in South and Central America, which experts say has long been DoD’s most neglected region.
“Combining the regions could better address cross border issues — particularly drug trafficking — between Mexico, South America and the United States, said Bob Killebrew, a retired Army colonel and senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security.
“Mexico is part of Northern Command, which also includes the contiguous United States, Alaska and Canada.
“[I]t makes … sense not to have a kind of artificial DoD boundary, not only between Mexico and Central America, but between Mexico and the American border as well,” Killebrew said.”
Eliminating or reshaping AFRICOM is also being considered.
“The Colombian navy will be given a decommissioned (in service 1983, out of service 2011) South Korean corvette …for anti-drug operations … part of South Korean plans to boost arms exports to Latin America) (rmks: dates given seem to indicate DONG HAE class 755 AN YANG)
Coast Guard units may have an opportunity to work with this vessel. Here are the specs for the ship found in Wikipedia. No helicopter deck, but perhaps that might be changed, otherwise looks like a good addition for drug enforcement.