New Mission off Somalia?

gCaptain is reporting, “The United Nations Security Council authorized naval inspections of ships off Somalia’s coast and beyond suspected of carrying illegal weapons and charcoal, a commodity that generates millions of dollars a month in revenue for militants linked to al-Qaeda.”

Possibly there will be some Coast Guard involvement in the form of detachments on US Navy ships and conceivably with the 110 foot WPBs operating out of Bahrain.

Unfortunately, it appears, that if inspections are done, it will be in a haphazard fashion. The expectation is that the ships already in the Indian Ocean doing counter piracy will also do this. But really, the places the ships need to be to do these inspections is different from where they need to be to respond to piracy attacks, because innocent ships avoid the Somali coast. The place to intercept smugglers is close to the Somali coast.

This is the kind of operation the Coast Guard specializes in. It is essentially no different from drug or migrant interdiction. It is what the Coast Guard did in Vietnam as part of Markettime.

If the Coast Guard had some built in excess capacity to respond to contingencies, they could take on this sort of operation.

The entire US Navy is excess capacity to respond to contingencies. It is not built for routine peacetime operations. It would not be a bad thing for those that decide the budgets to see building a capable Coast Guard as the same sort of insurance.