Category Archives: Capability Analysis

Analyzing Specific Naval and Maritime Platforms

China’s Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities

“The U.S.-Chinese military balance in the Pacific could nevertheless influence day-to-day choices made by other Pacific countries, including choices on whether to align their policies more closely with China or the United States”

Superbly researched and organized, China’s Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities—Background and Issues for Congress by CRS analyst Ronald O’Rourke serves as an excellent resource from which to better understand China’s evolving naval capabilities and how the U.S. Navy can retain its edge in the face of the Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2/AD) challenge. The scope of the report is wide, with information given on a large variety of platform and weapons procurements. The breadth is matched by depth of analysis, as the author assesses the sophistication of individual systems, offers concepts of employment, describes potential conflict scenarios, and explains how naval modernization is tied to broader policy. The report is broadly organized into sections that cover Chinese platforms and weapons, American policy decisions responding to China’s naval rise, key U.S. Navy acquisition programs, relevant sections from the National Defense Authorization Act, and an appendix providing supplemental readings. Certain sections could be strengthened and new areas could be explored to further flesh out the expanse of information, but nonetheless this fact packed publication has plenty to teach.

The detailed section on the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) is thoroughly informative on China’s maturing navy. Every surface combatant the PLAN fields is covered in the report. Each ship class’s capabilities are described along with their production history and projected numbers. Ships are contrasted with the capabilities of the vessels they are replacing, producing an appreciation of progress. Furthermore, certain ships are highlighted for their ability to enable operations that were not feasible until recently, such as the power projection and humanitarian assistance missions that could be conducted by the new Liaoning carrier and Type 071 vessels. Extensive attention is devoted to the new carrier, including the significant limitations posed by a ski-ramp configuration and the critical research role the vessel will play in familiarizing the PLAN with carrier operations. Information is also given on upcoming and prospective designs such as the Type 055 cruiser, Type 081 amphibious assault ship, and Type 095 nuclear attack submarine. In total, these sections combine to produce a clear trajectory of naval modernization.

The Liaoning, China’s first aircraft carrier. The vessel was commissioned in 2012, and is being used to familiarize the PLA Navy with carrier operations.

The American perspective is captured as well. The report documents in numbers the changes being made to the Navy’s force posture and forward basing in order to operationalize the Asia Pivot. The Air Sea Battle concept is discussed along with the operational goal of disrupting kill chains in the electromagnetic spectrum. An especially insightful subsection describes the variety of nuances that should inform comparisons between the U.S. and Chinese navies, and naval forces in general. A unique strength of CRS reports, relevant legislation is included, providing key information into how Congress is influencing policy towards China and America’s own naval modernization. These sections in the National efense Authorization Act (NDAA), will help the reader better understand how Congress perceives the implications of China’s naval modernization, and which ongoing U.S. Navy procurement programs have Congressional priority towards meeting the A2/AD challenge. The NDAA also identifies certain knowledge gaps and requires reports be drafted in order to raise awareness, offering a glimpse into potential weaknesses and priorities.  

There are certain key points and gaps of information within the report that need to be addressed in order to fully appreciate the increasing modernity of China’s Navy and A2/AD abilities. For example, the author states “Changes in platform capability have been more dramatic than changes in platform numbers” but this is contradicted by ONI Officer Jesse Karotkin’s testimony that is included in the appendix: “China is implementing much longer production runs of advanced surface combatants and nuclear submarines, suggesting a greater satisfaction in their recent ship designs.” The tables provided by the author on yearly ship comissionings support this conclusion, marking a new and more confident phase of modernization that is gaining momentum. This trend highlights an aspect of modernization that requires greater attention, China’s increasingly formidable shipbuilding industrial base.

China’s naval modernization can be subsumed under a greater A2/AD aspiration, and the author stresses that proper assessment of a potential maritime conflict includes understanding “maritime relevant capabilities that are outside their navies.” Information is included on land based platforms such as backfire bombers procured from Russia, UAV’s, ASBMs, and even EMPs. However, if it is the intent to draw awareness towards addressing the A2/AD threat as a whole, primary attention should be given to China’s robust cruise missile inventory, which is the most significant weapon system towards enabling land based A2/AD. Although the author takes note throughout the report which platforms can field ASCMs and LACMs, the ASCM section lacks information on the precise range and speed of China’s cruise missiles and their advantages relative to comparable weapons fielded by American surface combatants. There is also no information provided on LACM types and capabilities.

The author writes “China’s naval modernization effort also includes reforms and improvements in maintenance and logistics, naval doctrine, personnel quality, education and training, and exercises.” Yet these topics received hardly any attention, and are arguably more critical to the maturity of the PLAN than capabilities borne from more modern platforms and systems.

When it comes to logistics, underway replenishment vessels are the foundation of blue water power projection. The number of these vessels in a Navy’s inventory is indicative of broader policy and the priority placed on projecting presence far from home. China possesses eight such ships, with three constructed from 2012-2014. The five type 903A “Fuchi” class vessels are relatively modern, with the first pair of ships launched in 2004. These ships may be among the most operationally experienced vessels in China’s navy. Since China began its anti-piracy mission in the Gulf of Aden in 2008 there have been twenty deployments, and a replenishment vessel has accompanied every task force sent. The PLAN also operates two type 904 general stores ships, which have delivered necessities to installations in the Spratly Islands.

Type 903 Fuchi class  vessel conducts simultaneous replenishment of Type 071 landing dock vessel and Type 052C guided missile destroyer
Type 903 Fuchi class vessel conducts simultaneous replenishment of Type 071 landing dock vessel and Type 052C guided missile destroyer

The PLAN is clearly committed to producing personnel with the high degree of technical proficiency necessary to operate modern warfighting platforms and systems, and such investments are already paying off in active operations. The PLAN is partnered with thirteen universities, and financial aid given to enrolled students was doubled to ten thousand RMB in 2009. Beginning in 2012, the PLAN launched programs partnering with specialized vocational schools from which high school graduates chosen through a competitive process would receive senior technical certifications following graduation, and be inducted as NCOs. Skill redundancy is achieved by requiring more technical proficiencies be acquired as an enlisted sailor rises in rank, resulting in units with greater shared expertise.  In 2011, technical evaluation stations were stood up in an effort to standardize assessment of NCO performance, and operate at the level of local units.

Author Ron O’Rourke writes “China’s naval modernization is a broad based effort with many elements” and China’s Naval Modernization certainly captures many of them. However, analysis of China’s military has been dominated by more observable material developments such as ship acquisition and weapons procurement. The trend has been made clear, and now it is as much a given for China to be continually introducing better platforms as it is for the United States. But these developments are subsidiary to more immaterial initiatives. Key elements such as doctrine, organization of forces, personnel education, operational experience, interoperability, and exercises are all more meaningful indicators of the growth of the PLA Navy than new equipment. And all of these areas have undergone their own changes in tandem with procurement programs. The challenges posed by the effective implementation and evaluation of these reforms need to be acknowledged, but this institutional development of the PLA Navy is what will ultimately best empower it to function as an enabler of policy.

Dmitry Filipoff is an Associate Editor with CIMSEC. 

Russia’s Supersonic Tu-160 Bomber Is Back: Should America Worry?

The article can be found in its original form at The National Interest here and was republished with permission.

By Dr. Tom Nichols

Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu announced recently that Russia is going to begin production of the Tu-160, a Soviet-era bomber known as the “Blackjack.” The Tu-160 is a nuclear platform, basically something like the Soviet version of an American B-1 bomber: a big, heavy, swing-wing bomber meant to deliver nuclear weapons at long distances. The Soviets built about thirty-five of them in the 1980s, of which only fifteen remain in service.

So what does this mean to the strategic balance between the United States and the Russian Federation in 2015? In reality, it means absolutely nothing in military terms. As a political signal, however, Shoigu’s announcement is just the latest in a series of provocations. No American response is required and none would matter.

The Blackjack, assuming the Russians even manage to build any more of them, is a perfectly capable nuclear bomber that, in time of war, would fold back its swan-like wings and dart toward its targets at top speed. Once in range, it would launch cruise missiles that would make the last part of their journey low and slow under enemy radar. This is pretty much what all bombers would do in a nuclear war. (The one major advantage of the American B-2 is that it could penetrate farther into enemy airspace with less chance of detection.)

o worry about the extra capability of additional Blackjacks, however, requires believing that nuclear bombers matter at all in 2015. During the Cold War, when a “triad” of land, air and sea weapons were the guarantee against a massive surprise attack, both sides invested in various tripartite combinations of ICBMs, sea-launched weapons and bombers. In a massive first-strike, at least some of these weapons would survive and destroy the aggressor, which is why no one could contemplate doing it. (The Soviets likely did not contemplate it very seriously in any case. There’s an interesting declassified CIA report from 1973 you can read here.)

Today, no one seriously worries that the Russians or the Americans will, or can, execute a disabling first strike against the other. A “BOOB,” or “Bolt-Out-Of-the-Blue,” is neither politically likely, nor militarily feasible. The days when command and control, satellites and even strategic delivery systems themselves were all far more shaky are long gone. The ideological competition between two global systems, in which one would seek to destroy the other as rapidly as possible, is also over.

Moreover, the sheer number of strategic weapons isn’t up to the job. In 1981, the United States and the Soviet Union fielded a total of nearly 50,000 weapons against each other. Strategic targets, including opposing nuclear forces, numbered in the thousands. Today, in accordance with the New START treaty, Russia and America will only deploy 1550 warheads each. (Coincidentally, this week marks the fourth anniversary of New START.) Even if both sides were committed to a first strike, there aren’t enough weapons to do it: 1550 means 1550, and it doesn’t matter what platform—bomber, ICBM or submarine—is carrying them.

So why are the Russians even bothering to do this?

For starters, not everything is about us. The Russians have a huge nuclear infrastructure, and a military obsessed with symbols of nuclear power. Building more nuclear toys makes everyone happy: Russia’s nuclear military-industrial complex gets jobs and money, the military gets its nuclear security blanket, and Russian leaders like Shoigu and President Vladimir Putin get to thump their chests about holding back the nuclear savagery of Barack Obama. Outside of Russia, no one except nuclear wonks like me even know what a Tu-160 is, but Russians know of it and many are likely proud of it.

President Vladimir Putin in the cockpit of a TU-160 in August 2005

The part that is about us is more disturbing. The Russians, and Putin in particular, have decided to forego any further pretense of accepting the outcome of the Cold War. Some foreign-policy realists lay Putin’s aggressiveness at NATO’s door, and rightly point out that NATO expansion needlessly handed Russian nationalists a cause. But Putin, it should now be obvious, was never going to accept the Soviet loss. His feints at cooperation were unsustainable, and his Soviet-era nostalgia for the days of the USSR has reasserted itself with a vengeance. If Putin can’t get along with a U.S. president as passive and accommodating as Barack Obama, he can’t get along with anyone.

That’s why the United States has no play to make here, other than to remind the Russians of two things.

First, if we react to Shoigu, we should note only that the United States has a fully capable deterrent that cannot be destroyed, and that we have no interest in Russian bombers, so long as they do not exceed New START’s warhead limits. We do not need to create a new nuclear system, or start returning nuclear weapons to Europe. If Russia means war, they know it will end in 2015 the way it would have ended in 1965: with the destruction of most of Russia and North America, and the deaths of millions of innocent people.

More important, we must reaffirm our commitment to NATO, because Europe, not America, is really the intended audience for Russia’s nuclear antics. Bringing back the Tu-160 is another of the Kremlin’s many attempts to scare the Europeans with the same threat the Russians have been harping on since the 1950s: “If war comes, the Americans will be so afraid of us they will not lift a finger to help you.” Each time we ignore these threats, we encourage more of them.

The way to reassure NATO is match Russian moves not with nuclear threats, but with conventional forces, as U.S. ambassador Steven Pifer and others have argued. This is what the Russians fear most, because they know that the Cold War equation is now flipped, with Russia the weaker conventional power. If Shoigu wants to build more of his pretty bombers, that’s his business, but no Russian leader should think that an attack on NATO can produce anything but a Russian conventional loss, at which point the Russians will have to think about whether they want to face the escalatory burden that once haunted NATO.

Our reaction to Russia’s nuclear threats should be no reaction at all, other than to affirm our ability to defend ourselves—and the most populous, wealthy and powerful alliance in human history—as the mature and confident superpower that we are.

Tom Nichols is Professor of National Security Affairs at the Naval War College and an adjunct at the Harvard Extension School. His most recent book is No Use: Nuclear Weapons and U.S. National Security (University of Pennsylvania, 2014) The views expressed are solely his own. You can follow him on Twitter: @RadioFreeTom

Call for Articles: Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (UUV) Week, June 1-5

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) have consistently proven their considerable utility since their operational debut. Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUVs) may be ripe for similar operational success. Despite the command and control challenges inherent in conducting underwater operations, the sophistication and proliferation of UUVs has accelerated rapidly over the last decade.

From Boston Engineering’s hyper-realistic BIOswimmer, which mimics the swimming motion of a tuna to maintain position while conducting inspections of hulls and other underwater infrastructure, to Boeing’s mini-sub sized Echo Ranger AUV, UUV platforms run the gamut in size, endurance, and capability. UUV’s actual and notional applications are similarly diverse. Suited for ISR operations in contested environments, port security, special operations, and mine clearance/countermeasures as well as more mundane tasks like maintenance and mapping, UUVs offer tremendous utility for maritime forces’ rapidly evolving mission set, maximizing the benefits of underwater stealth while minimizing risk and, eventually, cost. Critics of UUVs, however, cite substantial development costs and technological hurdles (like the aforementioned communications difficulties). Indeed, just because UUVs can accomplish a mission may not mean they should…particularly when other assets can accomplish the job equally well.

th-1
BIOswimmer Pictured in Action

During the first week of June, CIMSEC will host a series focused on the development, application, and unique challenges of Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUV). As such, this is a general call for articles concerning UUVs. Articles should be between 500-1500 words in length and must be submitted no later than 25 May. Contributions may address the utility of UUV platforms to address the Navy’s evolving needs, the challenges of their application, their contributions to a particular mission or strategy, or some other facet of UUVs. Publication reviews will also be accepted.

Send articles to: nextwar(at)cimsec.org
Length: 500-1500 words
Due by: 25 May 15

CIMSEC members can expedite their submission uploading it directly to wordpress. In fact, we will probably ask you very nicely to do so.

Possum Anti-Boarding System: Filling the Void in Piracy Response

First released by Naval-Technology, September 29th, 2014

Matrix Remote Sentinel Systems’ new product line, Possum, promises to augment lookout and threat response tasks with tactical defence capabilities by introducing a ship-mounted, local and remote-controlled, non-lethal Capsaicin fog release and propeller fouling system to deter unauthorised boarding and stop approaching small craft.

According to Michael J. Scott, founder and inventor of Matrix and the company’s new Possum anti-boarding system series, “all past efforts at combating piracy have been chasing a global problem, never to get ahead of it. A radical rethink of what part of the problem to solve opens for the first time the possibility of getting ahead of the problem.”

The Possum line, which is scheduled for production in 2015, grows out of the company’s namesake remote data transmission technology for the maritime domain, Matrix. The Matrix system promises a cure to human error in threat detection and augments vessel monitoring and control, according to the manufacturer.

Remote eyes and ears on board

Matrix offers the ability to remotely and covertly see, hear, communicate with, and take remote control of a client vessel, 24/7/365, world-wide, in port, at anchor and on the open seas.

The system’s primary purpose is to communicate data and video from ship-to-shore-to-ship. It is capable of monitoring perimeter access, bridge functions, engines, propellers, refrigeration systems and cargo systems, among others.

Matrix is managed through a proprietary base-station with screen interface in the bridge. It links directly to Inmarsat fleet broadband satellite for remote data acquisition and provision allowing real-time transmission worldwide.

The system also integrates into the vessel’s radar, PA and video system. It can communicate with wireless camera and sensor technology up to 5km away. Data is transmitted back to land to display on a standard web browser at the ship owner’s office.

Matrix has also planned its own land-based monitoring centre to which ship-owners can outsource vessel function and data monitoring, allowing land-based staff to monitor ship operations 24/7. Matrix’s engineers can work with the ship-owner or operator to design a customised control and recovery system linking the vessel to the land-based monitoring centre, allowing expert staff to remotely take control of the vessel, engines and steering, in the event of a hijacking or other crisis.

Possum: Filling the void in threat response

Although the Matrix system, according to its developers, proves vessels can achieve close to 100%, 24/7 detection and monitoring, a need still remains to stop attackers should they attempt a hostile boarding. After discussion with potential clients and investors seeking something more to provide tactical defence, Matrix developed its new Possum line. The product is aimed at the merchant navy fleet, one of the primary targets of pirates.

Possum is a non-lethal anti-boarding system designed to close the tactical response gap in Matrix, completing the overall concept of total surveillance and deterrence, while integrating into the main Matrix system for global control. It aims to provide a simple and effective solution for stopping attackers and attack craft without lethal force, all at less than 15% the cost of armed guards, according to the manufacturer.

However, the Capsaicin cloud will be visible and thus avoidable for non-target parties navigating outside the immediate area. Capsaicin is heavier than air and will settle and disperse in the sea after deployment.

Protocol for use will recommend having all crew inside a secure area prior to discharge. Post-use, any residue can be hosed away from the ships exterior to prevent accidental contact with crew or passengers.

Maritime Security Cooperation and the Coast Guard

By Derek S. Reveron

Given shrinking global fleets and growing seaborne challenges, the United States has embraced security cooperation to augment its own force to improve maritime security around the world.[1] The country looks to its partners to address sub-national and transnational actors who generate maritime insecurity. As such, the U.S. builds global maritime partnerships to respond to piracy, illicit trafficking, and other illegal activities to protect important sea-lanes. And where limited capacity exists, the United States helps to build national capabilities with new countries such as East Timor, post-conflict countries such as Liberia, or long-time allies such as the Philippines.

.S. Coast Guard Ensign looks for safety hazards from aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Forward's bridge as the ship docks at the pier in Monrovia, Liberia, during an international mission in support of the Africa Partnership Station (APS) June 17, 2011.
Coast Guard Ensign looks for safety hazards from aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Forward’s bridge as the ship docks at the pier in Monrovia, Liberia, during an international mission in support of the Africa Partnership Station (APS) June 17, 2011.

This effort to build global maritime partnerships is not new. A decade ago, Vice Admiral Morgan and Rear Admiral Martogolio wrote, “policing the maritime commons will require substantially more capability than the United States or any individual nation can deliver.”[2] This thinking underlies the tri-service maritime strategy signed by the Coast Guard Commandant, Chief of Naval Operations, and Commandant of the Marine Corps. The strategy called for fostering critical relationships overseas, screening ships bound for our ports, and responding to threats approaching our coastline.[3] To be effective, the partnerships include navies, coast guards, commercial shipping companies, and port operators. This is logically based on the importance of seaborne trade, the size of the world’s oceans, and interconnectedness of the maritime transportation system.

There is renewed interest in protecting the maritime commons. The United Nations General Assembly is “concerned that marine pollution from all sources, including vessels and, in particular, land-based sources, constitutes a serious threat to human health and safety, endangers fish stocks, marine biodiversity and marine and coastal habitats and has significant costs to local and national economies.”[4] Many countries lack the resources to protect their fisheries and enforce environmental laws giving rise to security deficits on the seas. This lack of government presence further enables criminal groups to traffic drugs, people, and weapons. They thrive in the vastness of the oceans and relative lack of maritime domain awareness or response capabilities in most of the world. The result is that Mexican and Colombian drug trafficking organizations generate, remove, and launder between $18 billion and $39 billion in wholesale drug proceeds annually.[5] These groups use the profits to equip themselves with the latest equipment and employ various means such as semi-submersible vehicles, which challenge governments’ abilities to interdict.

To meet these challenges, partners generate demands for U.S. assistance. When the Caribbean was identified as America’s third border, for example, the Caribbean Community and the Dominican Republic “recognize[d] the importance of close cooperation to combat new and emerging transnational threats that endanger the very fabric of our societies.”[6] U.S.-Caribbean engagement programs are designed to enhance cooperation in the diplomatic, security, economic, environmental, health and education arenas. Through the Central American Regional Security Initiative, for example, partner countries supported 67 percent of illicit trafficking disruptions in 2012.[7]

 

A Coast Guardsman trains with foreign servicemembers.
A Coast Guardsman trains with foreign servicemembers.

For the United States, the global illicit drug trade is a significant transnational security threat that undermines democratic governments, terrorizes populations, impedes economic development, and hinders regional stability. The UN Office of Drug Control and Crime Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa warned that, “States in the Caribbean, Central America and West Africa, as well as the border regions of Mexico, are caught in the crossfire between the world’s biggest coca producers, the Andean countries, and the biggest consumers, North America and Europe.”[8] This formulation places Caribbean countries as victimized bystanders to a Yankee drug problem[9], but the State Department recognized that this view is changing and partners see drug trafficking as a shared problem in that “We all face a thinking, well-financed enemy and we must all, every legitimate nation-state and international authority, work together to thwart this network.”[10]

Indeed, there is a shared insecurity enabling cooperation on shared challenges like transnational organized crime. But this has not been easy. Drug traffickers successfully exploit weak security institutions and take advantage of political tension created by U.S. drug policy and declining presence. The challenge for the United States, however, is to build renewed relationships without overwhelming these countries with its military and law enforcement efforts. With its intervention history and large size, the U.S. military too easily scares its partners. The U.S. Marine Corps, for example, is larger than almost every country’s military in the Western Hemisphere and Africa. Further, a slowing defense budget is reducing military deployments in the Western Hemisphere where the Coast Guard already supplies the bulk of ships and aircraft to disrupt drugs bound for the United States.[11]

Royal Malaysian Navy sailors stand security watch during a boarding exercise aboard the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mellon as part of Southeast Asia Cooperation Against Terrorism 2010. SEACAT is a weeklong at-sea exercise designed to highlight the value of information sharing and multinational coordination.
Royal Malaysian Navy sailors stand security watch during a boarding exercise aboard the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mellon as part of Southeast Asia Cooperation Against Terrorism 2010. SEACAT is a weeklong at-sea exercise designed to highlight the value of information sharing and multinational coordination.

Maritime security cooperation can offset U.S. absence and empower its partners. Under international law, countries have basic obligations under the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea Convention, International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. These laws form the basis of partnerships as countries seek to prevent security incidents on ships and in ports through the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code.[12] And trust can be reaffirmed through programs like the Proliferation Security Initiative and the Container Security Initiative to reduce illicit trafficking. While countries ratify these agreements, they often lack the maritime capability and capacity to patrol their waterways, ports, and territorial waters.

Given its history, law enforcement capabilities, and place in the federal government, the U.S. Coast Guard is well-positioned to build partnerships and promote maritime security. Under Title 14 of the U.S. Code, the Coast Guard has jurisdiction both in territorial waters and on the high seas. As the service responsible for protecting U.S. ports and its lead responsibility for maritime drug interdiction, the Coast Guard has the expertise and experience to work with maritime partners around the world. While the Coast Guard has no independent funding authority to conduct security cooperation, it can draw program support from the Foreign Assistance Act and Section 1206 of Title 10, which provides funding for international education, training and equipment.

Congress intended international military education and training (IMET) to accomplish three principal goals. First, foster increased understanding between the United States and foreign countries in order to enhance international peace and security. Next, enable participating countries to become more self-reliant by improving their ability to utilize defense resources obtained through foreign military financing (FMF). Finally, increase the awareness of internationally recognized human rights issues.[13]

The Coast Guard provides international education at its Academy and technical training through its various schools. New London counts 114 international cadet graduates since 1971, while schools and mobile training teams train thousands of students annually from more than 80 countries.[14] In support of U.S. embassies around the world, the Coast Guard conducts boarding officer training, engages with maritime police, and trains search and rescue personnel so countries can meet their international legal obligations. International coast guard officers also attend DOD-funded schools such as the US Naval War College, where it can count among its alumni the current heads of coast guards in Bangladesh, Belize, Cape Verde, Jamaica, and Seychelles.

Augmenting military training and education is the FMF program that supplies grants and loans to finance American weapons and military equipment purchases. Working with allies and partners, the United States seeks to develop regional capabilities to protect trade, natural resources, and economic development. This includes establishing maritime domain awareness through the automated identification system, an array of coastal radar systems, and improved command and control. Most countries lack significant maritime capacity to protect their territorial waters let alone their Exclusive Economic Zones. Nigeria, for example, which is the largest country in sub-Saharan Africa, counts about 7,000 maritime enforcement personnel with several offshore patrol vessels to include former US Coast Guard cutters Gallatin and Chase. More broadly, the Coast Guard supported delivery of over 300 vessels and trained the crews of 56 countries.[15] Through FMF, excess defense articles programs, and other authorities, the United States transfers weapons to increase maritime capacity.

Security cooperation also includes maritime security sector reform, which is an area of increasing importance. Sustained maritime security sector reform includes governance, civil and criminal authority, defense, safety, response and recovery, and economy.[16] It focuses on improving civil-military relations, promoting collaboration among regional partners, and fostering cooperation within partners’ governments. The United States has learned that contemporary security challenges often require whole-of-government solutions and regional cooperation. Consequently, it seeks to foster this same approach around the world. Programs support legislative reform (e.g. seizing assets from drug traffickers), enhancing cooperation between police and defense forces (e.g. building bridges among bureaucratic rivals), and managing the legacy of past human rights abuses (e.g. integrating human rights training in programs).

To be sure, the United States has a long history of global presence and supporting almost every country in the world. Fiscal austerity is likely to restrict this presence, yet security cooperation can offset U.S. assets through U.S. partners. As my colleague Ivan Luke has written, “strategists and practitioners will need to be smart about how they approach peacetime missions.”[17] With growing international trade and security deficits, the Coast Guard’s unique civil-military blend makes it an ideal service to conduct maritime security cooperation.

Derek Reveron is a professor of national security affairs and the EMC Informationist Chair at the U.S. Naval War College and author of Exporting Security: International Engagement, Security Cooperation, and the Changing Face of the U.S. Military. These views are his own.

[1] Derek S. Reveron, Exporting Security: International Engagement, Security Cooperation, and the Changing Face of the U.S. Military, (Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2010).

[2] Vice-Admiral John Morgan, Jr. and Captain Charles Martoglio, “The 1,000-Ship Navy: Global Maritime Network,” U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings 131, (November 2005), p. 18.

[3] Cooperative Strategy for Twenty-First Century Seapower, October 2007.

[4] February 28, 2008.

[5] Office of National Drug Control Policy, National Drug Threat Summary, (Washington, DC: ONDCP, 2009) http://www.usdoj.gov/ndic/pubs31/31379/index.htm

[6] “U.S./CARICOM/Dominican Republic Statement on Third Border Initiative,” January 14,2004. http://www.america.gov/st/washfile-english/2004/January/20040114144116nesnom0.569256.html#ixzz0AZrjgdVl

[7] U.S. Southern Command, “Posture Statement of General John F. Kelly, United States Marine Corps Commander, United States Southern Command before the 113th Congress Senate Armed Services Committee,” March 19, 2013.

[8] Quoted in UN Office of Drugs and Crime, Annual Report 2009, (New York: United Nations, 2009),  11. http://www.unodc.org/unodc/data-and-analysis/WDR.html

[9] Horace A. Bartilow and Kihong Eom, “Busting Drugs While Paying with Crime,” Foreign Policy Analysis, Vol. 5, Iss 2, (April 2009), pp. 93-116.

[10] Department of State, International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, (Washington, DC: Department of State, 2008). http://www.state.gov/p/inl/rls/nrcrpt/2008/vol1/html/100772.htm

[11] U.S. Southern Command, “Posture Statement of General John F. Kelly, United States Marine Corps Commander, United States Southern Command before the 113th Congress House Armed Services Committee,” February 26, 2014.

[12] ISPS is an amendment to the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention (1974/1988).

[13] Committee on International Relations and Committee on Foreign Relations, Legislation on Foreign Relations through 2002, (Washington, DC: Congress, 2003), chapter 5.

[14] U.S. Coast Guard, International Training Handbook, Edition 14, p. 12.

[15] U.S. Coast Guard, International Training Handbook, Edition 14, p. 12.

[16] Maritime Security Sector Reform Guide, December 2010.

[17] Ivan Luke, “Naval Operations in Peacetime: Not Just ‘Warfare Lite,’” Naval War College Review, Spring 2013, p. 24.

Coast Guard Budget Battles Revisited

Post by Chuck Hill

Why does the Coast Guard seem to be losing the budget battle within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)? While funding for the Department has grown, the Coast Guard budget has in fact declined in real terms. I suspect it has a lot to do with perceptions of a miss-match between DHS missions and Coast Guard missions.

Congress attempted to address this perceived mismatch in the Homeland Security Act of 2002 by requiring an annual report of resources allocated to DHS missions and non-DHS missions, to ensure non-DHS missions are not ignored. I will refer to this “Annual Review of  the  United States Coast  Guard’s  Mission  Performance” (pdf) as the Performance Report.

It is an interesting report, but it does have significant weaknesses, largely stemming from the use of undifferentiated and undefined “resource hours” as a measure of effort. I reviewed a report back in 2010 and offered my criticisms, which have not changed herehere, and here.

Unfortunately, I think this report may be part of the problem, in that it defines several Coast Guard missions as “non-DHS,” and it gives the impression, erroneously I believe, that roughly half of the Coast Guard’s budget goes for things outside the DHS charter.

Of the eleven Coast Guard missions, six were regarded as Non-Homeland Security missions: SAR, AtoN, Living Marine Resources, Marine Environmental Protection, Marine Safety, and Ice Operations.

The five Homeland Security missions are Ports, waterways, and coastal security, Drug Interdiction, Undocumented Migrant Interdiction, Defense Readiness, and Other Law Enforcement (primarily Foreign Fisheries Enforcement).

But these distinctions are fallacious.

The Department views its own missions as:

  1. Preventing Terrorism and Enhancing Security
  2. Securing and managing our borders
  3. Enforcing and administering our Immigration laws
  4. Safeguarding and securing cyberspace
  5. Ensuring resilience to Disaster

NON-DHS MISSIONS: All these missions, at least in some respects, support DHS missions.

SAR: A robust SAR organization is clearly a necessary foundation for “Ensuring resilience to Disaster.” What were Katrina and Sandy but huge SAR cases? SAR command posts and communications are the skeletal structure upon which Disaster Response is based. After all, every SAR case is really a response to a disaster of some dimension. If the 3,000 plus people the CG saves every year had died in a single incident, it would have been a disaster on the order of 9/11.

AtoN: Most of the population lives near the coast or inland waterways. Most depend heavily on marine transportation and in many cases fishing. When there is a disaster, restoring safe navigation is a high priority both for bringing in assistance and for recovery.

Marine Environmental Protection (MEP):  The Deepwater Horizon was a disaster. MEP regulation attempts head off disasters and mitigate its effects, that is “ensuring resilience to disaster” plus offshore and port-side energy infrastructure are potential terrorists targets.

Marine Safety: Marine Safety is designed to prevent marine disasters. A sunken cruise ship could be a disaster on the order of 9/11. Marine Safety standards tends to mitigate the effects of a terrorist attack on marine targets

Living Marine Resources: Destruction of valuable marine resources can actually be as disaster for the economy of some communities.

Ice Operations: Domestic icebreakers can prevent flooding. We recently had a case where a community in Alaska would have been left without fuel, if an icebreaker had not opened a path for delivery.

THE UNLISTED COAST GUARD MISSION:

Safeguarding and securing cyberspace: It is not one of the Coast Guard’s eleven statutory missions, but this is in fact one of the Commandant’s key priorities. Still it is not addressed in the Coast Guard’s annual Performance Report.

THE NON-DHS DHS MISSIONS: Two missions listed as DHS missions in fact are of little interest to the department, and performance goals (which are themselves perhaps inadequate) in these two areas are not being met.

Defense Readiness: Apparently the Coast Guard is doing more for Defense Readiness now than it was before 9/11, but really little has been done in terms of adapting resources for wartime roles. Additionally, a potentially major Coast Guard contribution to defense readiness, the major cutters, are being replaced at such a slow rate, the fleet continues to age, making it less reliable.

Other Law Enforcement (primarily foreign fisheries): DHS probably has little interest in this. This mission also suffers from the aging of the cutter fleet, and additionally the very large US EEZ in the Western Pacific has been largely ignored.

Problems in DHS: I do think the Departments placement of priority on counter-terrorism over more general disaster response is misplaced,  and this is another source of problems.

CONCLUSION:

I will quote my closing paragraph from my 2010 post,

When it comes time to decide the Coast Guard budget, I would suggest Congress take a different approach. Consider return on investment. If you like the return you are getting from the Coast Guard now, invest more.  Don’t say, “Agency ‘X’ isn’t working, we need to put more money into that.” “The Coast Guard, is doing a good job with their current budget so we don’t need to give them any more.” I don’t quote scripture very often. I’m not religious, but there is some wisdom there. Check out the story of the “good and faithful servant” Matthew 25:14-30.

 

This article can be found in its original form on Chuck Hill’s CG blog.  Chuck retired from the Coast Guard after 22 years service. Assignments included four ships, Rescue Coordination Center New Orleans, CG HQ, Fleet Training Group San Diego, Naval War College, and Maritime Defense Zone Pacific/Pacific Area Ops/Readiness/Plans. Along the way he became the first Coast Guard officer to complete the Tactical Action Officer (TAO) course and also completed the Naval Control of Shipping course. He has had a life-long interest in naval ships and history.

China’s Anti-Piracy Flotillas: By the Numbers

On April 3, the 20th anti-piracy flotilla of the People’s Liberation Army Navy got underway for operations off the Horn of Africa.  Since the arrival off Somalia of the first Chinese anti-piracy flotilla in January 2009, approximately three flotillas have successively served annually in that region.  Simple data compiled from open sources on the deployments of these flotillas is provided in the slides below.  Although these only represent anti-piracy flotillas, combined with other studies, they represent a broader pattern of global presence and increased capabilities of the PLA/N.  The following recent articles and studies are offered to provide readers with greater recognition of the issue:

Slide2

Slide3

Slide5Slide4

 

Claude Berube teaches at the United States Naval Academy. @cgberube