Remaining relevant: historical contributions, civil-military challenges, and anti-submarine warfare capabilities on Coast Guard cutters
Smicklas, Brian A.
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Since 1790, throughout both World Wars, Vietnam, and a majority of the Cold War, the Coast Guard’s major cutters relevantly contributed to United States naval warfare capacity. The post–Cold War global security environment reinforced the Coast Guard’s relevance as a hybrid military-and-law enforcement service, sharing similarities with many navies throughout the globe. However, despite very recent recapitalization, Coast Guard major cutters, the mainstay of Coast Guard armed service relevance, are potentially less prepared for war than at any other time in service history due to the reemergence of long-term, strategic competition from revisionist powers such as Russia and China, and rogue regimes in North Korea and Iran. These nations present grave threats to the United States homeland, especially in the undersea domain. Adding to the relative lack of armed service relevance, the Coast Guard continues to struggle with professionalism, in part due to the many, non-military missions accrued throughout service history. To improve armed service relevance and professionalism, the Coast Guard should reconstitute the anti-submarine mission it cast aside in 1992. By doing so, the major cutters can effectively deter peer adversaries, protect the vulnerable marine transportation system, increase effectiveness against subsurface threats against the homeland, and achieve the functional and societal imperative to Guard the Coast, thereby enabling the Navy to take war to the enemy and enhancing the relevancy of the Coast Guard as an armed service.
RightsThis publication is a work of the U.S. Government as defined in Title 17, United States Code, Section 101. Copyright protection is not available for this work in the United States.
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