Last week I again had the pleasure of joining my colleagues to discuss the nation’s maritime security challenges. This time at the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space Expo 2009. The panel included the CNO, Commandant of the Marine Corps, and the acting Maritime Administrator. The topic was “Sea Power and America’s Security.”
This was a great session, about 90 minutes long, with some really frank and candid conversation on some of the more serious issues and challenges we are dealing with now and trying to prepare for in the future. Half of the time was dedicated to Q&A from the audience. For my part, in the introduction I briefly covered the following topics:
* Current performance.
* Operations on the Southewest Border, and more specifically, the importance of counter-drug operations off Mexico’s southern border.
* The Cooperative Maritime Strategy and its importance especially considering how the Coast Guard, Navy and Marines all “meet in the littorals”.
* The status of operations off Iraq.
* The status and our role in the QDR & NOC.
* Coast Guard force capacity challenges.
* Coast Guard in theater security cooperation.
* Acquisition update, including status of NSC and FRC platforms.
* Importance of modernization.
It was a great round of Q&A. This was clearly an informed audience with real interest in these critical topics. The discussion specific to the Coast Guard covered:
* Countering piracy, specifically questions about the possibility of arming vessels or employing convoys, legal frameworks, etc.
* Arctic policy, specifically the status/condition of our polar icebreaking fleet and the revised National Security Policy Directive issued in January as well as the need to ratify UNCLOS.
* Coast Guard impressions of the LCS platform and future plans for the leased PC-179’s being operated by the Coast Guard.
* Maritime Domain Awareness and the thread of continuity between the vehicles used in the more significant maritime security threats. Specifically, small unregulated and/or unregistered vessels including self-propelled semi-submersibles, the maritime conveyance for the Mumbai attack and vessels involved in piracy.
A video of the entire session is available .