DefenseMediaNetwork has taken the occasion of the transfer of the former USCGC Jarvis (WHEC-725) to review the progress of the Bangladesh navy (BN). In addition to Jarvis the USCG is expected to transfer another 378 and
“…the USCG has been steadily delivering significant quantities of small craft – primarily 16 Safeboat Defenders and 20 Metal Shark Defiants, with more than 30 such craft delivered to date. Deliveries of Defiants are ongoing under the USCG Security Assistance Program. Most of these craft are used by the naval Special Warfare and Diving and Salvage (SWADS) although a few have gone to the Bangladesh Coast Guard.”
Given what Bangladesh has done with their former British Castle Class OPVs (discussed at the end of the article), we may expect that the former cutters will soon be equipped with Chinese made sensors and weapons including anti-ship cruise missiles.
The idea of “influence squadrons” has been kicking around the Navy for a while now. The idea is an expansion of the “partnership” stations that the Coast Guard has participated in (here), (here), and (here). Information Dissemination offers some background and has a proposal for implementing these concepts and he sees the Coast Guard as an integral part of it.
Specifically he suggests that we test the concept off the Horn of Africa (Somalia and adjacent territory) by deploying an influence squadron in October of 2011. In addition to the LEDETs and Deployable Operations Group personnel you would expect, he would like to include, “The USCGC Bertholf (WMSL 750), which will work in cooperation with regional Coast Guards to establish fishery protection operations and training around Somalia.” He did not mention the Fast Response Cutter, but vessels like these were including in the original concept of the influence squadron and they are the type of small ships that we might offer our allies in the area through the Foreign Military Sales program (aircraft) (boats). This not only helps the ally, increasing the total size of procurement can lower the unit cost for the Coast Guard as well.
In “New Fiscal Year Reflections ” there is also a call for the Navy to “put its money where its mouth is” in terms of implementing a cooperative strategy or support someone who will (the Coast Guard).
“Either the US Navy needs to make the strategic commitment to the low end and have this reflected in shipbuilding with vessels more appropriately sized for engagement with Coast Guard sized fleets of regional partners, or advocate for a larger US Coast Guard to take up that responsibility as part of the National Fleet. Including smaller vessels as part of the US Navy fleet isn’t a tactical choice as it is framed by Naval leaders; it is a strategic choice the US Navy decided against, despite the rhetoric of their own strategy.”