Distributed maritime capability: optimized U.S. Navy-U.S. Coast Guard interoperability, a case in the South China Sea
Villar, Shawn S.
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This thesis asks whether or not the U.S. Navy (USN) and U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) are sufficiently prepared to operate together if conflict escalates in an area of forward-deployed operations and investigates opportunities for naval interoperability to be bolstered if required. Today, the USN faces naval power constraints, specifically ship-force deficiencies. Comparatively, competitors like China are modernizing their naval forces, which are on a path to surpass U.S. naval power. The conclusion is that the USN and USCG are not yet adequately prepared to operate together if conflict arises abroad. One solution is to optimize USN--USCG interoperability through enhancing the USN distributed lethality concept to distributed maritime capabilities--the use of the USCG as a force multiplier. The distributed maritime capability model is based on an examination of USCG capabilities during conflict as well as independent and joint naval operations. China is assessed to be a dominant aggressor in the South China Sea that poses a threat to regional security and economic stability--major U.S. national interests. Distributed maritime capability is demonstrated by applying the concept to fisheries enforcement in the South China Sea in order to suppress the Chinese Maritime Militia (CMM), which is identified through this thesis as China's primary means of coercion and the major threat to stability in the region.
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