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A Job Hooligan's Navy: The Military Role Of The U.S. Coast Guard Into The 21st Century
CSC 1995
SUBJECT AREA Strategic Issues
Title: A Job for Hoolligan's Navy: The Military Role of the 
U.S. Coast Guard into the 21st Century 
Author: Thomas J. Vitullo, LCDR/USCG 
Research Question: Is the Coast Guard still this nation's 
fifth military service? 
Discussion: This research project examined traditional 
Coast Guard roles and missions from the pre-World War II era 
 to present. This was done to give the reader a grasp of 
Coast Guard history and to draw any historical elements that 
may support the findings and future options for the Coast 
Guard's role in National Security Strategy. 
The Coast Guard's tendency in the past, regarding its 
role in national security, has been to relate its mission 
solely to the service's traditional naval element. Other 
options and elements of Coast Guard operations exist that 
could be exploited in strengthening the Coast Guard role in 
executing national security strategy. 
Thesis Conclusion: 
The mission of Environmental Protection, Maritime 
Safety, Law Enforcement and National Defense all function to 
support the National Security and National Military 
Strategies. The Coast Guard can continue to be a credible 
instrument for policy into the next century. The Coast 
Guard is slowly losing the "naval auxilary" component of its 
cutters. Historically it was this component that kept the 
service linked to the other military services. However, the 
recent trend for cutters to not participate in operations 
such as, Grenada (1983), Gulf Reflagging (1987), Panama 
(1990) and the Persian Gulf War may be a trend for the 
future. The Coast Guard cutter fleet of the future will 
have to undergo significant change if it is to survive. The 
cutters are primary tools in accomplishing the following: 
(1) Acting as maritime interceptions platforms in coastal or 
littoral waters, (2) Providing credible forward presence in 
the Caribbean Basin and Latin American in conjunction with 
normal operations, (3) Serving to expand the Coast Guard 
role in training Third World navies, and (4) Asset available 
for use by the CINCs and not just an extension of the Navy. 
The service cannot afford the loss of its military 
character that has carried it for 205 years. The service 
needs to emphasize its security and military missions to its 
personnel before another study determines the service may 
better be served as a civilian agency. 
Purpose of Study: 
With a changing world order, and a greater portion of 
our military assets becoming engaged in operations other 
than war, what will be the U.S. Coast Guard's future role in 
national security? The objective of this study is to 
determine which Coast Guard missions support the National 
Security Strategy and how Coast Guard assets could be best 
employed in the future. 
With the advent of the Post Cold War Era, the down 
sizing of United States (U.S.) military forces and the use 
of the military for "non-traditional" functions, such as 
operations other than war(OOTW), how does the Coast Guard, 
with its traditional maritime flavor and largely peacetime 
missions, contribute to U.S. national security strategy? 
The paper will examine what the Coast Guard's contributions 
towards national security strategy have been in the past. 
Based on historical data and survey information, the 
question as to how the Coast Guard can remain a critical 
contributor in future security strategies will be explored. 
Captain Bruce Stubbs, U.S. Coast Guard, conducted 
extensive research of this topic while assigned as the Coast 
Guard Liaison Officer at the Naval War College. In his 
research titled "The U.S. Coast Guard's National Security 
Role in the Twenty-First Century," Captain Stubbs focused 
the scope of his thesis at the the Coast Guard's role in 
national security as it relates to naval warfare. Captain 
Stubbs also proposed a collateral objective, that the 
research would help to stimulate thought among Coast Guard 
senior and junior officers on what the Coast Guard future 
role should be.1 
Study Methodology: 
The study consists of three sections. First, a review 
of Coast Guard operations from the pre-World War II era to 
the present. This serves to set the stage regarding Coast 
Guard support of National Security policies in the past and 
how the Coast Guard has progressed to its current level of 
support. The goal is to identify trends in Coast Guard 
support of National Security Strategy, and suggest which 
direction the Coast Guard should proceed in the future. 
Second, a survey questionnaire (see Annex A) , reflects 
opinions from various Coast Guard commands. There are two 
reasons for use of the questionnaire. First, primary source 
material concerning the topic is limited. Second, to garner 
the opinions of those Coast Guard officers who may be in 
positions where they will have the opportunity to influence 
Coast Guard policy as it moves into the next century. 
The survey analysis is of a political, not analytical 
nature. The goal was not to obtain a definitive matrix 
solution for each question. Political analysis provides a 
means to measure opinion and to indicate trends.2 The  goal 
was to help stimulate thought on the topic and provide some 
support to the author's opinions on future Coast Guard 
support of national security. As a consequence, much of the 
survey data is left to subjective evaluation by the author. 
Captain Stubbs' research used a similar method. His 
questionnaire was directed to current and retired Admirals 
of both the Coast Guard and Navy and the various CINCs.3 
The latest survey did not target that senior an audience for 
two reasons. First, personnel at that level of 
responsibility can be the protectors of "rice bowls" and not 
necessarily willing to part with components (people + 
missions' = money) of their particular service or command. 
Second, it is the responsibility of mid-level and junior 
leaders of the Coast Guard to look at the direction the 
Coast Guard is heading. It is incumbent upon the future 
leaders of the service to determine whether the Coast Guard 
still has a role as a military organization. As those 
senior members of the service that saw combat action during 
the Vietnam War era retire, we must look at our past 
military roles and decide whether they are still viable 
operational options today. 
The final part of the study consists of interviews with 
the Branch Chiefs in the following offices at Coast Guard 
Headquarters, Defense Operations and Cutter Management 
Division. These branch chiefs represent, elements of the 
Coast Guard that comprise the major components that support 
the Coast Guard's role in National Security Strategy. 
Additionally, these officers have extensive operational 
experience dating from the Vietnam War era. 
Problems with Study: 
The first and major limitation was the lack of primary 
resource material available. This is due to lack of 
doctrine dealing with the subject in the Coast Guard. 
Additionally, there has been a slow transformation of the 
Coast Guard during the last fifty years, from a service with 
a strong military component to one with increasing peacetime 
Another factor was that the fluid nature of the 
research topic lent itself to conjecture by the author. The 
Coast Guard does not have concise publications like FMFM 1, 
"Forward . . .From the Sea" or NDP 1. The lack of Coast 
Guard doctrineprovides an additional element of 
uncertainty. Where doctrine usually withstands the 
changing of Commandants, other directives are often changed 
as new Commandants take office. 
Given the changes in the new world order, there has 
been a significant increase in national security issues that 
concern operations other than war (OOTW). Many of these 
OOTW issues lend themselves to solution by elements of the 
Coast Guard given the Coast Guard's multi-mission nature. 
As a cousequence, an opportunity exists for the service to 
have more than a supporting naval role in national security 
The scope of the research question grew from the study 
conducted by Captain Stubbs. However, as Captain Stubbs 
states in his study, he may have been too narrow in the 
 scope of his thesis questions, concerned more with aspect of 
the Coast Guard's role in national security as it relates to 
naval warfare.4  This  study attempts to broaden the scope by 
reviewing all roles and missions that relate to the 
President's National Security Strategy. Though the author 
was able to arrive at valid conclusions, another step in the 
research process, if time had been available, should have 
been added. A second survey, providing the repondents a 
rough outline of the study's results and seeking additional 
input would have been useful in drawing additional 
conclusions and fostering further debate by other Coast 
Guard officers. 
The Coast Guard was formally established on 20 January 
1915, as a combination of the Revenue-Cutter Service and 
Life-Saving Service. The Coast Guard was to "constitute a 
part of the military forces of the United States . . . under 
the Treasury Department in time of peace and  operate as 
part of the Navy, subject to the orders of the Secretary of 
the Navy, in time of war or when the President shall so 
This combination of two very different services may be 
the source for the lingering feeling that the Coast Guard is 
only partly a military service. The Revenue Cutter Service 
saw military action during the Quasi-War, War of 1812, the 
first Seminole War, the Mexican War, the Civil War, and the 
Spanish-American War.6 Having  served in these conflicts and 
maintaining a peacetime mission of regulating commerce on 
the high seas, the structure of the Revenue Cutter Service 
melded nicely with the military establishment in the Coast 
Guard in 1915. The members of the Life-Saving Service were 
not as accustomed to life in a military organization. Their 
ties were civilian based. They lacked the structure of a 
military organization and were very dependent on regional 
and civic concerns vice national/international interests of 
the United States. 
Ellsworth Price Bertholf, Captain-Commandant of the 
Revenue-Cutter Service, 1911-15, and of the Coast Guard, 
1915-19, offers the following regarding the establishment of 
the Coast Guard: 
"The Coast Guard occupies a peculiar position among other 
branches of the Government, and necessarily so from the 
dual character of its work, which is both civil and 
military. Its organization, therefore, must be such as 
will best adapt it to the performance of both classes of 
duties, and as a civil organization would not suffice for 
the performance of military functions, the organization 
of the service must be and is by law military. More than 
120 years of practical experience has demonstrated that 
it is by means of military drills, training and 
discipline that the service is enabled to maintain that 
state of preparedness for prompt performance of its 
important civil duties, which . . . are largely of an 
emergent nature."7
These two variations, one of a military organization 
and the second of a civilian service, are the foundations of 
the Coast Guard. These themes have been prevalent 
throughout the Coast Guard's history, from periods of high 
military involvement to an ever increasing role concerning 
civic duties and operations other than war. With the end of 
the Cold War the United States will be involved with a world 
where threats come less from a comparable military force but 
more from regional powers, increased low intensity conflicts 
and greater domestic requirements. The Coast Guard may 
prove to be the perfect organization for adaptive force 
Before World War II engulfed the European Continent, 
the civil roles and missions of the Coast Guard grew. Three 
major acts of legislation expanded the civil/domestic roles 
of the service. 
The first change provided for the enforcement of the 
International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling. The 
legislation that accompanied this mission established the 
Coast Guard as the United States' primary maritime law 
enforcement agency. The bill enacted 22 June 1936 states, 
"commissioned, warrant and petty officers were empowered to 
make inquires, examinations, inspections, searches, seizures 
and arrests upon the high seas . . . for the prevention, 
detection and suppression of violations of the laws of the 
United States, under certain limitations."8 
The next was the Merchant Marine Act of 1936, which was 
designed to establish an American-flag merchant fleet 
capable of carrying the foreign commerce of the United 
States, and satisfy various defense needs during war. 
Initially only a small portion of the act affected the Coast 
Guard; the inspection and certification of lifeboats 
carried aboard the vessels. This responsibility quickly 
expanded to an increasing role in the Maritime Service. 
This role included licensing and training of merchant 
mariners, a significant task given the explosive expansion 
of the merchant fleet following the legislation of 1936.9
The final piece of legislation affecting the Coast 
Guard was the transfer of the Lighthouse Service to the 
Coast Guard in 1939. With the transfer came nearly five 
thousand full and part-time employees, and sixty-four 
vessels of varying size; and the responsibility of 
maintaining some 30,000 aids to navigation, which ranged 
from lighthouses and lightships to buoys and shore markers 
of nearly every navigable waterway of the United States.10
As these civic missions were becoming established, the 
threat of war in Europe loomed over the United States. 
Although President Roosevelt's goal was to keep the U.S. 
neutral, several measures were taken to protect vital U.S. 
security interests. Many of these measures melded nicely 
with existing Coast Guard missions. 
The first of these was the inspection of merchant 
vessels of belligerent ownership to decide if they carried 
offensive armaments. This role expanded to include 
overseeing the safe loading of hazardous cargoes aboard 
merchant vessels bound for Europe.11 
The next mission assigned the Coast Guard was the use 
of patrol vessels and aircraft for Neutrality Patrol off the 
northeast coast of the United States. The Coast Guard 
patrol vessels that comprised this squadron had to forgo 
civil missions to meet the new security demands. These 
vessels were eventually reassigned to duties on strategic 
weather stations and the Greenland Patrols through the 
Atlantic Ocean. 
The final pre-war mission saw the Coast Guard assume a 
forward presence role off the coast of Greenland in 1941. 
Greenland was considered a strategic location due to its 
proximity to the Atlantic Sea Lines of Communications 
(SLOCS) and the valuable meteorological data that could be 
obtained for German forces fighting in Western Europe. The 
Danish people of Greenland requested assistance from the 
United States in patrolling their coast. The State 
Department considered the use of armed U.S. naval vessels to 
patrol Greenland, but was concerned this would be construed 
as an offensive act, something the U.S. did not desire. The 
State Department decided the use of Coast Guard vessels 
offered the best option, as Coast Guard cutters would not be 
taken as an offensive act by the U.S.: yet they would still 
provide a deterrence to German forces attempting to land in 
THE WAR YEARS (1941-1945) 
During World War II, the Coast Guard was a critical 
element of the Navy for the following reasons: The size of 
the Coast Guard at the outbreak of war produced a 
significant force multiplier for the Navy; the capabilities 
of the Coast Guard vessels and aircraft of like classes were 
equally equipped to conduct various missions for the Navy; 
the various peacetime missions of the Coast Guard acted as a 
force multiplier, as there was no significant learning curve 
for the Coast Guard personnel once they were chopped to the 
The primary missions assigned to the Coast Guard were: 
convoy escort (including Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) 
duties), port security and beach patrol, coastal pickets, 
manning of rescue craft during D-day, and manning of 
amphibious landing craft for assaults in the Pacific and 
Atlantic. Many of these duties meshed nicely with the Coast 
Guard missions and skills developed during peacetime. 
The Coast Guard did not just serve in these various 
military roles on paper. Its actions, as operational 
elements of the Navy, were no less distinguished then any 
other unit. By mid-1943, the total number of German U-boats 
sunk by U.S. Naval vessels was eleven. Of these, six had 
been destroyed by Coast Guard cutters.13 
The Neutrality and Weather patrols, which consumed a 
large amount of Coast Guard assets before the war, turned 
into the Greenland Patrol during the war. A majority of 
Coast Guard assets saw service in the waters off Greenland's 
coast. It was critical to the success of the Allied effort 
in Europe to have accurate weather forecasts for that 
theater and to deny the Germans the same information. 
Greenland was a key location in predicting the Western 
European weather patterns. As a consequence, the Coast 
Guard became responsible for the capture of several German 
secret weather stations in Greenland.14
At the end of World War II, Coast Guard and Navy 
vessels of like class or design were equal in their 
capabilities for Anti- Surface Warfare (ASUW), Anti-Air 
Warfare (AAW) and Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW). This would 
be the last time that Coast Guard and Naval vessels of like 
class would be on par with each other. It would also be the 
last time that the Coast Guard, as a complete service, would 
serve under the Navy for national defense. 
The Coast Guard was successful as a service during 
World War II for the following reasons. First, this was 
total war, there was no time for rice bowls or fear of 
mission creep by one service into the realm of another. 
Second, the Coast Guard's peacetime missions, though vast 
and growing, as shown by the expansion just before the 
outbreak of war, were not so great that domestic politics 
would intervene to stop the use of Coast Guard assets 
because of a possible reduction in their peacetime missions. 
Third, the weapons system, such as gun batteries and anti- 
submarine depth charges, used aboard naval war ships then 
were of the nature that a vessel of like construction, like 
Coast Guard and Navy vessels, could quickly be equipped to 
meet the military missions. 
Two missions from the Coast Guard's involvement in 
World War II continue to this day in support of national 
security strategy. The first is the Coast Guard 
responsibility for Port Security operations. This 
capability was recently demonstrated on a large scale with 
operations in Southwest Asia. The Coast Guard deployed 
several port security personnel to assist with operations. 
This is also an area in which the Coast Guard is seeking to 
expand in the future. Second, the Coast Guard cutters that 
patrolled the Greenland coast before and during the war 
provided a credible deterrence, without causing serious 
political conflicts. The Coast Guard has been used in such 
"forward presence" roles in recent history off the coasts of 
Grenada and Columbia. The use of Coast Guard assets to 
perform such functions, when the political situation is 
sensitive, will be critical to future security concerns, as 
diminishing DOD assets are stretched thin. 
Was the fate of the Coast Guard military component 
sealed at the end of World War II? Prior to the end of the 
war, the Commandant of the Coast Guard, Vice Admiral Waeshe, 
formed a committee to help determine the future of the Coast 
Guard. Vice Admiral Waesche remembered the tough struggle 
at the end of World War I to retain the Coast Guard as a 
part of the Navy.15 The goal of his committee was to detail 
the peacetime duties of the Coast Guard, and to ensure a 
speedy return of the service to the Department of the 
To help facilitate the move, the committee downplayed 
the military aspect of the service and concentrated on the 
Coast Guard's civic duties. In this fight, Admiral 
Waesche's planning committee prepared the Coast Guard 
mission statement: 
To enforce all applicable Federal laws upon the 
navigable waters of the United States and its 
possessions and upon the high seas; to develop and 
promulgate safety requirements for the construction, 
manning and operation of vessels (other than public 
vessels) under the jurisdiction of the United States; to 
develop, establish, maintain, and operate aids to 
navigation and rescue facilities to promote safety on 
the navigable waters of the United States and on and 
over the high seas; and to maintain a military readiness 
function as a specialized service with the Navy in time 
of war. 
The committee placed emphasis on the civic nature of the 
Coast Guard missions. This was done to facilitate a quick 
return of the service to the Treasury Department and to its 
peacetime place in the government. The civic missions of 
the Coast Guard were distasteful to the Navy, who were more 
concerned with naval warfare. 
Despite the efforts of Admiral Waesche and his staff to 
produce a clear understanding of Coast Guard missions and 
service to the country, a study by Congress attempted to 
define the anomalous status of the service. In 1947/48, at 
the request of Congressman Everett Dirksen, a study was 
conducted to help ascertain the nature of the service and 
explain the "waste and extravagance in Coast Guard 
operations."17 Instead of identifying the Coast Guard as a 
useless service, which could be reduced or abolished to help 
government downsizing in the post war years, the study 
helped to cement the Coast Guard's status for several 
decades to follow. The opening remarks of the study offered 
great comfort for any in the Coast Guard who thought their 
future was at risk: 
The survey findings . . . show that all of the duties 
performed by the Coast Guard are in the public 
interest. Also, each duty is a proper part and 
responsibility of the federal government. The 
performance of these duties represents a necessary item 
of expense to the public, and they are now logically 
classified or grouped for performance by one government 
agency. No evidence has been noted that any other 
agency of the Federal Government could perform these 
functions at lower cost or with greater efficiency and 
better adequacy of service than does the Coast 
During the period that followed World War II Coast 
Guard participation in major military engagements was mixed. 
However, there was a significant increase in operations that 
could be classified as OOTW. These types of operations have 
grown significantly in their effect on current national 
security strategy. 
At the end of the war the U.S. Navy no longer wanted to 
maintain the oceanic weather stations, which were critical 
during the war for air commerce. In late 1947, when the 
Weather station program began in earnest, the vessels used 
by the Coast Guard were on loan from the Navy Reserve 
fleet.19 The requirement to maintain these patrols would 
remain in effect until the mid-1970s. 
At the end of WW II a determination of what the Coast 
Guard's role during war should be was made by Congress, the 
Navy, and the Coast Guard.20 It  was decided that the Coast 
Guard's role during war "should be an extension of the of 
normal peacetime tasks."2l With the Coast Guard cutters 
involved heavily with civic missions, such as weather patrol 
and search and rescue, there was little flexibility to 
support the Navy during the Korean War. The Coast Guard 
would assume increased weather station patrols, port 
security tasks and search and rescue duties in the Pacific, 
as U.S. forces deployed to the Far East. Despite the lack 
of total integration of the Coast Guard with the Navy, as 
seen during WW II, many Coast Guard missions were expanded. 
The Coast Guard saw a significant increase in port 
security duties during the war, mostly as a result of fear 
that the Soviet Union could possibly explode a nuclear 
device in a U.S. port. The Coast Guard Reserve component was 
increased to help the short fall of resources available to 
sustain the increased tempo of the port security mission.22 
After the war the Reserve would continue to be the main 
component of the Coast Guard Port Security Units. 
During this period, the Coast Guard undertook some of 
the first international military training with the Republic 
of South Korea. In l946, a Coast Guard detachment, headed 
by Captain George E. McCabe, organized and trained the 
Korean Coast Guard Service. This service would become the 
nucleus of the Republic of Korean Navy.23 The model of the 
Coast Guard then, and now, is an excellent example for third 
world navies to emulate. 
As had been the goal in 1946/47, the Coast Guard 
service in Korea was merely an extension of its peacetime 
missions. The reorganization of the reserve forces helped 
to establish permanent Port Security Units (PSU) that can be 
activated during national emergencies. 
The years immediately following the Korean War saw 
little change to the traditional roles of Ocean Station, 
Search and Rescue, and Maritime Safety. Though there was an 
increase in the Coast Guard role in international 
organizations, such as the International Maritime 
Consultative Organization (IMCO), which was concerned with 
maritime safety practices and navigation at sea, there was 
little activity regarding the Coast Guard's military 
capability during this period. 
By the early 1960's the Coast Guard was again faced 
with a lack of clear definition concerning its roles and 
missions in the eyes of Congress. A roles and missions 
study conducted by the Kennedy Administration in 1961 helped 
to identify the service's major functions: port security, 
military readiness, law enforcement, search and rescue, aid 
to navigation, oceanography, and ocean station.24 
The Coast Guard quickly assumed a major role in 
international crises; ensuring the safety of thousands of 
Cubans who fled their homes as Fidel Castro came to power.25
This role, concerning the safety of life at sea for 
immigrants fleeing their countries, continues as a 
significant Coast Guard mission today. 
On 1 April 1967, the Coast Guard was transferred to the 
Department of Transportation. The transfer of the Coast 
Guard to the newly formed Department of Transportation (DOT) 
initially met with some misgivings in the Coast Guard. The 
loss of the service's military element was the major 
concern. Initial opposition to transferring the service 
caused concern that the Coast Guard would be dismembered and 
its various functions spread throughout the government.26 
The 1960's also brought a significant change to the 
Coast Guard fleet, as two new major cutter types were 
commissioned: the Reliance Class Medium Endurance 
Cutter(WMEC), and the Hamilton Class High Endurance 
Cutters (WHEC) . The former vessel was capable of 18 knots 
and equipped with only a single 3-inch 50 caliber gun of 
World War II vintage. The latter vessel had a true multi- 
mission character, being 378 feet in length, capable of 29 
knots and equipped with a 5-inch 38 caliber gun, air search 
radar, 40 millimeter mounts, antisubmarine depth charges, 
antisubmarine torpedoes and sonar. Though fewer vessels of 
each class were built than the initial ship construction 
plans called for, these vessels continue to serve the Coast 
Guard today.27 
Both classes of cutter have received a mid-life 
overhaul that should extend their service life an additional 
15 years. Additionally, ship construction was conducted to 
support the roles of navigation and ice-breaking. The Coast 
Guard's assumption of the ice-breaking mission, both 
national and international, came about because of the Navy's 
desire to shed yet another civil role and concentrate on 
warfare missions.28 
The 1960's also saw the last engagement of Coast Guard 
vessels in a war. As the war in Vietnam grew during the mid 
1960's, the Commandant of the Coast Guard, Admiral Roland, 
was trying to figure a way to get the service involved. His 
fear was that if the Coast Guard was limited to a support 
role, as had been seen in the Korean War, the Coast Guard's 
status as an armed force might be jeopardized.29 
Coast Guard patrol craft fit nicely into the Navy's 
Operation MARKET TIME, (the operation designed to conduct 
coastal surveillance patrol). Initially, seventeen vessels 
formed Coast Guard Squadron 1 in the summer of 1965. By the 
Fall an additional nine patrol vessels joined the squadron. 
Although the Commandant believed that if the Coast Guard 
was denied a combat role it would begin to lose its military 
flavor, there were Coast Guardsmen who were not enthusiastic 
about going to war. Personnel on patrol boats who wished to 
be excluded from going to Vietnam were not required to do 
so. However, the Coast Guard had no lack of volunteers to 
replace them.30 
Patrol craft were not the only Coast Guard vessels to 
see combat. In April 1967, Coast Guard Squadron 3, 
comprised of WHEC class cutters, formed and sailed for the 
Philippines. During the war the vessels from Squadron 3 
would serve as part of the offshore assets for Operation 
MARKET TIME. Additionally, the cutters would provide naval 
gunfire support. By mid-1971, when the last of the large 
cutters had completed service in Vietnam and returned home, 
a total of thirty Coast Guard High Endurance Cutters had 
participated in Operation MARKET TIME, including seven of 
the new Hamilton Class cutters.31 
Combat was not the only mission performed by Coast 
Guard personnel during the war. With the surge in merchant 
vessel traffic in the area supporting U.S. forces, the need 
for an effective aid to navigation systems became apparent. 
The Coast Guard deployed five bouytenders to help the 
Vietnamese government establish and maintain a safe 
navigation system. Additionally, Coast Guard Port Security 
Units were deployed in theater to help with the explosive 
handling mission. A total of 8000 Coast Guardsmen would see 
duty in Vietnam, but not more than 1000 at any given time. 
The role of Operation MARKET TIME could be described as an 
anti-smuggling operation, or to use current military 
terminology, as maritime interception operations. This 
would be the last time Coast Guard vessels would serve in 
such roles during war. 
By the mid 1970s, the Coast Guard performed three 
missions that support National Security and National 
Military Strategy today: Port Security, International 
Training, and Maritime Interdiction. First, the Port 
Security Units, largely be comrised of Coast Guard Reserve 
forces, would perform this military mission.32 
Second, the Coast Guard role in training the Korean 
Coast Guard after WWII has served as the model for the Coast 
Guard role in future international training missions. Coast 
Guard organization and training missions serve as a model 
for many third world nations, which are less concerned with 
global stature than regional stability. 
Last, maritime interdiction has played as important a 
role in the service's previous 200+ years as it will in the 
future. Anti-smuggling operations would continue as a 
mainstay of Coast Guard cutter operations after Vietnam. 
Maritime Interdiction missions have varied from enforcement 
of United Nation's embargoes to monitoring of foreign 
fishing vessels off the U.S. coast. 
The civic missions of the Coast Guard have grown 
significantly during the last 20 years. In 1967 the 
offshore fishery zone around the United States expanded to 
twelve nautical miles from shore. The addition of the 200 
nautical Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and the establishment 
of the Magnuson Fishery Conservation Act in the mid-1970s 
expanded the Coast Guard's domestic law enforcement roles. 
Additionally, the Coast Guard became the primary maritime 
enforcement agency for the war on drugs at sea. The 
maritime safety mission grew substantially with increasing 
concern for environmental effects of pollution and hazardous 
In 1980 the Coast Guard undertook what would become an 
increasing role in the interdiction of illegal immigrants to 
the U.S. In that year the Coast Guard began regular patrols 
of the Windward Passage, between Haiti and Cuba. From 1991 
- 1995 this mission would absorb a large portion of Coast 
Guard afloat and airborne assets. These operations 
eventually became known as Operation ABLE MANNER, involving 
safety of life at sea, and enforcement of the United 
Nation's embargo against Haiti in cooperation with U.S. and 
foreign naval vessels. 
In 1983, the tiny island of Grenada provided the 
opportunity for Coast Guard forces to meet national security 
needs in a traditional sense. During the invasion Coast 
Guard assets assumed roles as search and rescue platforms 
for the invasion forces. Though the Coast Guard played only 
a minor role during the invasion, it was the follow-on 
mission which melded nicely with its peacetime missions. 
After organized resistance had collapsed and the country of 
Grenada was attempting to reestablish order, a security 
presence was needed. Two primary missions for the security 
force existed. First, to prevent the escape of Marxist 
fugitives and infiltration of weapons or military 
contraband. Second, to demonstrate a continuing U.S. 
commitment through naval presence. The Coast Guard became 
the logical choice to accomplish these missions for two 
reasons. First, the service had developed great expertise 
in maritime interdiction and coastal surveillance. Second, 
as principally a peacetime and humanitarian service, its 
presence was less politically sensitive than having a naval 
warship off the coast of Grenada.34 
In the late 1980's, Coast Guard Commandant, Admiral P. 
Yost, put forth an effort to emphasize the military aspect 
of the service. During a Naval Institute seminar in 1987, 
the Commandant stressed the service's defense mission; "The 
Coast Guard has served in every one of our country's wars 
and regards military readiness as its most solemn duty."35 
Some of the major changes made by the Admiral Yost, during 
his term as Commandant are: (1) To place a section on the 
Officer Evaluation Report, for Warfare Skills. 
(2) Implementaion of the Maritime Defense Zone (MDZ) 
commands.36 Despite efforts by the Commandant to strengthen 
the Coast Guard's military mission, his efforts seem minimal 
during a period with a general downward trend in the 
services military abilities. 
In 1987, during the reflagging mission of Iraqi oil 
tankers in the Persian Gulf, it was recommended by the the 
Chief of Naval Operations, for the services of the Coast 
Guard new 110' Island Class patrol boats to assist in the 
mission. Congress blocked sending these vessels. The 
concern was that there would be a significant loss of assets 
to conduct drug interdiction operations.37 The service,
therefore, lost another opportunity to see military action. 
With Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM in 
1990/91, the Coast Guard played another role with its Ports 
Security Units and the use of Law Enforcement Detachments 
(LEDETS) aboard Navy vessels to assist in the enforcement of 
United Nations sanctions. Again, Coast Guard cutters had no 
From the Post-Vietnam war era the following missions 
played a role in the Coast Guard's support of National 
Security Strategy: Port Security, Forward Presence, and 
Maritime Interdiction. Over the last 50+ years of Coast 
Guard history the service has continually responded to an 
increase in missions, most of them civil in nature. The 
service has also been subjected to serious scrutiny 
regarding its missions and the need for such an 
organization. As evidenced after World War II and later in 
the 1960's, the Coast Guard peacetime missions helped to 
save the service from possibly being dissolved and its 
missions assigned to other government agencies. Many of the 
missions that fell upon the Coast Guard were cast aside from 
the Navy as being non-glamorous or less military in nature. 
These missions have, at times, helped to maintain the Coast 
Guard's military flavor. 
With the slow dissappearance of the traditional Naval 
warfare role, what options remain for the Coast Guard 
regarding support for the National Security and the National 
Military Strategy? The next Chapter will discuss current 
Coast Guard missions and their relationship with national 
Strategy at all levels consists of three elements: 
ends, ways, and means.39 Nationally and internationally the 
goals or policies of a nation are the ends. Ways are 
translated into strategy. Means are the combination of the 
elements of national power (military, economic, political, 
social) and could be called tactics. The missions performed 
by the the U.S. armed forces serve as means to support the 
National Security and National Military Strategies. This 
chapter will look at how the various Coast Guard missions 
support these strategies. 
Historically, U.S. national security meant only the 
national defense and the nation's foreign relations 
concerns. The singular challenge of the past half century 
has given way to a more diverse set of security 
challenges.40 The definition of national security has 
broad meaning, beyond the defense and well being of a 
nation's citizens, to global interconnectivity with other 
nations. The world is changing from a bipolar world of 
military superpowers, to a multipolar world that needs 
regional stability to guarantee prosperity. 
Threats affecting our nation's security are wide 
ranging. Militarily, the U.S. is concerned with the 
proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the 
increasing threat of their use by terrorist groups. 
Politically and economically, the U.S. faces mass migration 
of people from underdeveloped countries to those that are 
more economically stable. Internally, the U.S. culture has 
been troubled because of the effects of illegal drugs. The 
world's security concerns have become so interconnected that 
influence from one region may have a wide ranging effect 
across many continents and cultures. 
The current National Security Strategy of the United 
States provides the basis for national security policy. 
President Clinton divides national security interests into 
three primary objectives: 
Security priorities vary depending on whether they are 
of survival, vital, major or peripheral interest. The means 
to achieve security are dependent on the combination of the 
elements of power. Historically, the Coast Guard's security 
role has been that of a supporting arm to the Navy. With 
the changing focus of national security, largely related to 
military solutions, what elements of the national security 
does the Coast Guard support? 
The Coast Guard tends not to be directly involved with 
security interests concerned with either survival or vital 
roles. The service does have a direct role in those major 
and peripheral areas that affect economic, social and 
environment concerns of the nation. 
The National Security Strategy places emphasis upon the 
emergence of nonmilitary objectives to support our 
security.42 Security objectives that directly relate to the 
Coast Guard are as follows: 
o Maintaining a Strong Defense Capability: Though 
military capabilities are critical to our 
security, the Coast Guard is a contributing member 
in the following areas: 
- Providing Credible Overseas Presence 
- Fighting Drug Trafficking and Other Missions 
(including illegal migrant interdiction) 
- Peace Operations 
- Protecting Environment Resources 
o Economic and security interests are becoming 
interwoven and dependent on activities 
external to the United States. 
o Ensuring the safety of economic markets. 
o Economic expansion is dependent upon a stable 
global environment and halting cross-border 
environmental degradation. 
o Providing for future U.S. energy needs. 
o Enlarging the community of democratic and free 
market nations. 
o Promoting democracy and human rights as promoted 
by the United States 
o Humanitarian assistance programs and nation 
In the new National Security Strategy, the President 
suggests that the ability to develop public support for 
these new and varying security priorities has become 
increasingly more difficult.43 The  frequency with which the 
U.S. military has been deployed for humanitarian operations, 
since the fall of the Berlin Wall, has far surpassed what 
was experienced during the Cold War. With the Department of 
Defense (DOD) down sizing, the requirement for services 
capable of multiple missions has grown. The Coast Guard has 
historically demonstrated a unique ability to assume new 
missions without a loss of effectiveness in other areas. An 
opportunity exists for the Coast Guard to become much more 
involved with the DOD in operations that are of a 
noncombatant nature. 
The unique nature of the Coast Guard, with its numerous 
peacetime missions within the Department of Transportation, 
has if difficult to fully identify its role in the National 
Military strategy. As envisioned at the close of World War 
II, the Coast Guard's military missions would be an 
extension of its peacetime role.44 During the Cold War 
period many solutions to national security issues were of a 
military nature. This placed the Coast Guard at a 
disadvantage, regarding national security strategy, due to 
the civic nature of the service's missions. 
The new National Military Strategy of the United States 
provides a view of how the Military services will support 
the President's National Security Strategy. The new policy 
is based on four principal dangers that must be addressed by 
the military: regional instability; the proliferation of 
weapons of mass destruction; transnational dangers (such as 
drug trafficking/terrorism); and the dangers to democracy 
and reform.45 This  new strategy requires the appropriate 
military capability together with economic, diplomatic and 
informational elements of the United States' national 
There are two major national military objectives: 
promoting stability and thwarting aggression. The new 
military strategy has three major components to provide for 
its success: peacetime engagements, deterrence, conflict 
prevention, and fighting and winning our nation's wars. 
A review of these major components reveals how the 
Coast Guard can support the policy in the following areas: 
o Peacetime Engagements: 
- Promoting democracy through military-to-military 
contact, nation assistance, security assistance, 
humanitarian operations, and counter-drug 
o Deterrence and Conflict Prevention: 
- Responding to potential adversaries and denying 
them their goals through crisis response, arms 
control, noncombatant evacuation operations and 
sanctions enforcement. 
o Fighting and Winning our nations' Wars: 
- Responding to emergencies and integrating with 
DOD assets to support national policy. 
The Coast Guard's heritage dates to the Revenue Cutter 
Service's formal establishment under the Treasury Department 
in 1790, as a maritime organization responsible for the 
enforcement of revenue laws and the prevention of 
smuggling.47  Since then, the service's missions have grown 
significantly. The basis for most of the Coast Guard's 
authority is derived from United States Code (U.S.C.). Title 
14 of the U.S.C. establishes the Coast Guard as a military 
service always, not just in wartime. 
The Coast Guard, by law, is one the five armed 
services. However, its long history of peacetime missions 
often gives it a less then traditional military flavor. The 
Coast Guard provides the nation with a maritime capability 
that is flexible in nature and with assets that are multi- 
mission in nature. 
Board 90 large vessels for port safety checks 
Process 120 seamen's documents 
Seize 209 lbs marijuana and 170lbs cocaine worth $9.2 
Conduct 191 SAR cases 
Respond to 34 oil or hazardous chemical spills 
Conduct 120 law enforcement boardings, identifying 
65 violations 
Investigate 17 marine accidents 
Inspect 64 commercial vessels 
Save 14 lives and assist 328 people 
Save $2.5 million in property 
Service 150 aids to navigation 
Interdict 176 illegal migrants
FIGURE (3-1)48 
Coast Guard missions can be divided into four broad 
areas: maritime safety, law enforcement, environmental 
protection and national defense. These broad mission areas 
are further subdivided into supporting mission areas: 
- Recreational Boating Safety (largely handled by Coast 
Guard Auxiliary) 
- Commercial Vessel Safety 
- Search and Rescue (SAR) 
- Waterways Management (largely consisting of Aids to 
Navigation management) 
- Ice Operations (both domestic and international) 
- Port Safety and Security 
Within the Maritime Safety mission area, only the port 
safety and security, and ice operations have a role in the 
National Military and National Security Strategy. 
- Interdiction of illegal drugs/contraband from entering 
the United States 
- Enforcement of the 200 nautical mile Exclusive Economic 
Zone(EEZ) for fisheries and other natural resources. 
- Interdiction of illegal aliens from migrating to the 
United States. 
- Enforce all other applicable laws and regulations which 
correspond to maritime safety. 
All of the supporting missions under law enforcement have 
a role in current National Security Strategy or Military 
- Preventing illegal discharges of hazardous material 
into the sea. 
- Coordinating spill response and cleanup activities. 
- U.S. representative at various national and 
international conferences on maritime environmental 
- Regulatory inspection (a portion of port safety and 
All environmental protection missions support the 
current National Security and Military Strategies. 
- Maritime Defense Zone (done together with the Navy) 
- Port Security and Harbor Defense 
- Maritime interception/embargo enforcement 
(surveillance and interdiction) 
- Cutter convoy escort capabilities (limited capability 
All of the Coast Guard's peacetime operations support 
the security concerns identified above. Operations may be 
limited to a geographic theater of operations or hemisphere. 
However, the Coast Guard's ability to conduct world wide 
operations has been proven in the past. 
A dilemma for the Coast Guard has been that there is 
not a clear delineation between mission areas. This is 
evident when reviewing the support missions for national 
defense. Many of these are spinoffs from daily mission 
areas. This is further complicated when trying to see how 
the various missions support national security and the 
national military strategy. A problem has been the Coast 
Guard's ability to clearly define the service's common 
purpose. The Coast Guard needs a governing service doctrine 
in this area.  a doctrine would provide clear 
guidance on the Coast Guard's role in national security and 
a better understanding by service members of the 
relationship with the DOD. 
The Coast Guard's link to military operations and 
support of security policy has previously been with the 
Navy. The Navy-Coast Guard Board or NAVGARD Board, as it is 
commonly referred to, was established to provide high-level 
coordination and recommendations on major policy issues of 
mutual interest to the Navy and Coast Guard.50  The next 
section will analyze whether the NAVGARD Board remains the 
best mechanism for the Coast Guard's support of national 
The NAVGARD Board was established in 1980, with four 
primary functions: 
1. Advise and make recommendations to the Chief of 
Naval Operations and the Commandant of the Coast 
Guard on policies, concepts, and issues which 
require high-level Navy/Coast Guard coordination. 
2. Consider and recommend Navy-Coast Guard positions on 
Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) initiatives 
which mutually affect their services. 
3. Consider and recommend Coast Guard-Navy positions on 
Office of the Secretary of Transportation (OST) 
initiatives which impact the naval services. 
4. Consider and make recommendations on naval warfare 
capabilities, doctrines, objectives, and related 
requirements in support of national strategy.51 
This mechanism has provided a valuable path for 
supporting current/future weapons systems and the roles of 
Coast Guard forces in national defense. It was an adequate 
mechanism when the primary national security risk was based 
solely on a military solution and the Coast Guard's 
participation was linked closely to naval warfare. 
Since the end of the Cold War, the Coast Guard's role 
in national military strategy has been strengthened with a 
Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the DOD and DOT on the 
use of U.S. Coast Guard capabilities and resources in 
support of National Military Strategy. This MOA was signed 
in November 1994. Three primary areas regarding the Coast 
Guard's national defense roles were agreed upon as follows: 
- Maritime Interception Operations 
- Environriental Defense 
- Deployed Port Operations-Security and Defense 52
However, this MOA was initiated by the NAVGARD Board 
and is still dependent on the link between the Chief of 
Naval Operations and the Commandant of the Coast Guard, as 
is the NAVGARD Board. The problem is two-fold: First, the 
Coast Guard continues to link its national security role 
with that of national defense or military solutions. 
Second, with the DOD in its eighth year of a draw down, and 
third year of roles and missions studies, all services may 
be looking for other means to minimize reductions on top 
(people + missions = money). The Coast Guard may find 
itself in competition with the DOD and particularly the 
Additionally, the various service chiefs are no longer 
the "War Fighters" for the U.S. This role has shifted to 
the combatant CINCs. The Coast Guard and the U.S. may be 
better served if some functions for national security 
affairs are shifted away from the liaison with the Navy and 
placed with the various CINCs. 
The author sent a survey questionnaire, at Annex A, to 
various Coast Guard commands to obtain opinions regarding 
the Coast Guard's role in supporting national security 
strategy. The object of the survey was to obtain personal 
opinions from service members. The survey was not designed 
to prove a certain theory or provide a definitive solution 
for the Coast Guard's security options. 
The survey went to the following Coast Guard commands: 
Coast Guard Area Commanders Office of Cutter Operations (2), 
Coast Guard Districts Commander Chiefs of Operations (10) 
Commanding Officers Coast Guard High Endurance Cutters (12), 
and Commanding Officers Coast Guard Medium Endurance Cutters 
(26). The groups were divided in the survey analysis as 
shown in figure (5-1). 
Figure (5-1) also shows the response numbers by groups. 
The goal was to obtain a 50 percent response in the survey. 
Though the percentage was not as high as desired (36 
percent), the data was valuable in providing a wide range of 
No response was received from group one. This group 
will be omitted in the subsequent analysis matrixes (figures 
5-2, 5-4 to 5-6)
QUESTION ONE: Should the Coast Guard continue to design 
and crew cutters based on an ability to assume the role of a 
naval combatant? The question was particularly directed at 
the Coast Guard cutter fleet. The lack of a role for the 
cutter fleet in the Persian Gulf may have signaled an end to 
the naval warfare mission for future cutters.
The response to this question was an even split. The 
major theme in most of the responses was that Coast Guard 
cutters first need to be built and manned to formally 
support Coast Guard operations (SAR, maritime interdiction 
and law enforcement). The Coast Guard uses Navy Command and 
Control systems and Communications technologies to support 
many of its peacetime missions. The use of these systems in 
peacetime is justified by the naval warfare mission that 
many cutters might have to preform. 
The Coast Guard weapons systems are "on loan" from the 
Navy. The systems that are employed by the Coast Guard are 
often near the end of their service life. The need for 
complex and expensive weapons systems, however, is losing 
its appeal to some respondents. Technological advances in 
weapons systems have outgrown the Coast Guard requirements 
in the naval warfare arena. In the November 1994 MOA 
between the Department of Transportation and the Department 
of Defense, the major defense mission for Coast Guard 
cutters would be Maritime Interception Operations. This 
mission is accomplished in a relatively low-threat 
environment and melds nicely with Coast Guard routine 
execution of peacetime duties.53 By using Coast Guard 
assets in this role combat effectiveness is enhanced by 
redirecting naval combatants to higher-threat missions.54 
The combination of the above two elements reinforces the 
need for large Coast Guard cutters. Though the cutters do 
not necessarily need to be configured as naval combatants. 
During my interviews with the Branch Chiefs of the 
Office of Defense Operations and Cutter Management at Coast 
Guard Headquarters, they described what is called the 
"Slippery Slope" theory. The Coast Guard has had limited 
growth or even a declining capability in the naval warfare 
missions in comparison to the Navy since World War II. 
This declining capability is compounded by the lack of 
serious participation by Coast Guard cutter assets in a 
Naval Warfare mission, since Operation MARKET TIME in 
Figures 5-3 A-C, depicts this theory for the three 
major Naval Warfare areas Anti-Air Warfare(AAW), Anti 
Submarine Warfare (ASW), and Anti-Surface Warfare (ASUW) 
Figure 5-3 A graphically contrasts the AAW capabilities 
between the Navy and the Coast Guard from the end of World 
War II to the present. The various peaks in the Navy graph 
can be attributed to advances in radars, missile systems, 
and command and control capabilities. The upward swing on 
the Coast Guard line can be attributed to the addition of 
the MK 75 Gun Fire Control System (GFCS) on the 270 Class 
WMEC and the Phanlax Close in Weapon System (CIWS) and MK 75 
GFCS on 378 Class WHEC. The AAW systems that are currently 
in use aboard Coast Guard vessels are self protection 
systems only. These systems were not designed for, nor do 
they possess, the capability as an offensive weapon. 
Figures 5-3 B, graphically contrasts the ASW 
capabilities between the Navy and the Coast Guard from the 
end of World War II to the present. Again the various peaks 
on the Navy graph can be attributed to advances in sonar, 
torpedoes and command and control capabilities. The 
downward tail on the Coast Guard line can be attributed to 
the removal of all ASW equipment from 378 Class WHEC. 
Figure 5-3 B: Comparison between USN and USCG ASW
capabilities from 1945 to 1995.56 
Figures 5-3 C, contrasts the ASUW capabilities between the
Navy and the Coast Guard from the end of World War II to the 
present. The various peaks on the Navy graph represent 
advances such as surface to surface missile, AEGIS system, 
phased-array radars, and command and control capabilities. 
The small upward spike, followed by the downward trend on 
the Coast Guard graph, represents the initial installation 
of the Harpoon weapons system aboard 378 Class WHECs and 
then their recent removal. 
Figure 5-3 C: Comparison between USN and USCG ASUW
capabilities from 1945 to 1995.57 
As depicted in the graphs, Coast Guard WHEC class 
cutters have lost a large portion of their naval warfare 
capability, particularly in ASW and ASTJW. These losses 
bring the naval warfare element of the cutter mission area 
to an extremely limited status. This raises the question 
whether the Coast Guard still has a viable naval warfare 
Some survey participants did suggest that the Coast 
Guard can conduct maritime interdiction and limited forward 
presence operations in the Caribbean with its current naval 
warfare capabilities. These opinions support the Maritime 
Interdiction Operations capabilities as identified in the 
November 1994, Memorandum of Agreement, between the DOT and 
DOD on Coast Guard defense capabilities. The Coast Guard 
can provide a force multiplier if needed, by relieving naval 
combatants of duties a in low threat environment. 
The long standing tradition that cutters are an 
integral part of the blue water naval combatants must give 
way to Coast Guard missions that support National Security 
policy. In future Coast Guard cutter design efforts, 
considerations must be given for rapid expansion of the 
naval warfare mission if a significant crisis arose. Coast 
Guard assets may be needed as the follow-on echelon of naval 
forces and future cutter designs should support a quick 
transition to combat readiness. However, the Coast Guard 
has lost the "naval warfare" connotation with its afloat 
QUESTION TWO: Should the Coast Guard seek a greater 
role in OOTW type missions in the future? With the end of 
the Cold War, and the national security strategy being 
focused less on a singular military threat, the United 
States has seen a significant increase in OOTW. The Coast 
Guard historically has been a front runner in missions of an 
OOTW nature (anti-smuggling law enforcement, refuge 
As one respondent phrased it, "OOTW is what the Coast 
Guard does for a living. We should continually examine ways 
we can do more." The Coast Guard has continually sought 
this type of mission throughout its history. The 
examination of the Coast Guard's past indicates the 
service's ability to take on increased OOTW missions to 
support national security. This is evident in the increased 
roles the Coast Guard has assumed in law enforcement, 
environmental protection, and maritime safety duties during 
the last fifty years. 
One respondent suggested that this does come at a 
price. Operations off Haiti and Cuba in l994 had a serious 
draining effect on other peacetime missions of the service. 
The services within the DOD are also starting to receive 
additional tasking beyond their traditional core mission of 
preparation for war. Some survey respondents indicated that 
the Coast Guard should only support OOTW as it relates to 
current Coast Guard missions and not get into a contest with 
the DOD over possible future roles. 
During the past forty years the other services have 
concentrated solely on preparation for war. The Coast 
Guard's multi-mission nature lends itself as a model for DOD 
and particularly the Navy for the future.58  The Coast Guard 
serves as an example in the following ways: First, by being 
able to conduct humanitarian operations while remaining 
prepared for war. Second, by not taking the simplistic hawk 
vs dove view of the world as the Post Cold War period 
unfolds. Last, by not equating the success of the service 
to budgetary dollars. All the services must remain focused 
on finding creative ways to solve future problems.59 
It would be a mistake to sit idly by, as the DOD 
expands into mission areas that could be solved with current 
Coast Guard resources. The major obstacle is doctrinal, 
which is how to employ Coast Guard forces. One respondent 
gave the best option for a future course of action. The 
Coast Guard needs to establish liaisons on the CINC staffs. 
The CINC is the current "war fighter," and this involves the 
use of United States assets in OOTW. It is no longer the 
various service chiefs who decide how to employ forces, but 
the operational CINCs. A Coast Guard liaison on each of the 
CINC staffs would provide an avenue of support by Coast 
Guard assets in national security issues. 
The current liaison with the DOD through the NAVGARD 
Board and liaisons on the CINCLANT and CINCPAC naval fleet 
staffs may be adequate for dealing with procurement of 
weapon systems/equipment and training programs. However, 
the Coast Guard needs representation at a senior level on 
the CINC staffs. This will ensure that all aspects of the 
service are used to support security threats. 
Capt K. Kirkpatrick, USCG, in his research at the Naval 
War College, on the Coast Guard and the adaptive planning 
process, presents the following solution to this problem: 
First, the Coast Guard must look at the broader role of 
supporting the CINCs as opposed to primarily supporting the 
Navy.60 The Coast Guard must look at its roles in 
relationship with the deliberate planning process and in 
conjunction with the Navy and the CINCs discern how the 
service meets U.S. security needs.61 Second, the Coast 
Guard must present its national security and defense roles 
to the service members, the Department of Transportation, 
National Security Advisors and to the Department of 
Defense.62 Given the diminishing nature of naval warfare as 
an area for support of national security strategy by the 
Coast Guard, it seems the Navy may not be our best liaison. 
better balance in the employment of its Law Enforcement 
Assets? The high pace of Alien Migration Interdiction 
operations has had a deletrious effect on Coast Guard 
operations over the last several years and whether more 
traditional law enforcement missions (Drug smuggling and 
fishery enforcement) have suffered. 
This question may have been too regional in nature 
given the varying comments received from many survey 
The Coast Guard Law Enforcement role can be divided 
into four major areas: 
* Anti-smuggling/Drug Enforcement 
* Fishery Enforcement 
* Alien Migration Interdiction 
* General Law Enforcement (Vessel Safety at Sea) 
The major theme in most of survey respondents who 
thought that a balance already existed was that the pendulum 
had swung too far in the direction of drug enforcement 
during the "Miami Vice" hey days in the 1980's. During that 
period there was a large commitment by the Reagan 
Administration to increase the war against drugs. As the 
primary maritime enforcement agency it was natural for the 
Coast Guard to take a leading role. This leap in emphasis 
in drug law enforcement may have caused a seemingly 
disproportionate relationship to the other law enforcement 
Other respondents said that because of alien migration 
operations over the last 3-4 years, the cutter's ability to 
conduct law enforcement operations in the drug or fisheries 
fields had suffered. The knowledge of law enforcement 
regulations and their practical application is a highly 
perishable skill for cutters law enforcement members, if not 
regularly exercised. These types of losses could be equated 
to the loss of war fighting skills by other DOD forces, if 
they were to solely engage in OOTW type operations that did 
not exercise war fighting skills. 
One respondent indicated that the Coast Guard must be 
ready to answer "all bells" as they occur, but the service 
can ill afford to allow certain mission capabilities to 
atrophy due to increasing operations tempo in a particular 
area. Where does this leave the operational units, which 
must balance training for future missions with the high pace 
of current operations? First, it should not be the sole 
responsibility of each command to ensure that they are not 
deficient because operations have limited their ability to 
train for other missions. Both staffs and planners must 
provide operational schedules for varying operational 
missions to ensure that adequate time, resources, and 
exposure to other missions exist for all units. 
With the war on drugs slowing, and the loss of funding 
under the drug umbrella, the Coast Guard has seriously cut 
back resources for this mission. Trying to support 
components of national security strategy that fluctuate due 
to political influence, and high media visibility (as with 
the Haitian and Cuban operations), is difficult. The Coast 
Guard may suffer through operational peaks and valleys that 
are politically driven, having adverse effects on mission 
QUESTION FOUR: Is the Coast Guard in need of 
reorganization? This final question in the survey caused 
the most concern and confusion among respondents. The goal 
of the question was to see whether the current Coast Guard 
organization (particularly at the Headquarters level) and 
the various operations elements of the Coast Guard that can 
support national security policy lack the proper internal 
organization to maximize effectiveness. 
The fourth survey question failed to produce the 
expected result that there was a need for reorganization. 
Though the responses were mixed, one survey participant put 
it best, "The public needs to see one Coast Guard on the 
As discussed earlier, the Coast Guard missions that 
support National Security are not clearly defined. The 
elements are divided among four major offices of the Coast 
Guard; Navigation, Operations, Readiness and Reserve and 
Marine Safety (NORM). Some respondents said that to 
disestablish "NORM," and return to a concept of an 
Operations Directorate would cause a serious power 
imbalance. However, given the changes in National Security 
and National Military Strategies in the Post Cold War era, 
the Coast Guard must seek to better organize how it will 
support these areas. 
"The Coast Guard cannot significantly improve its naval 
wartime performance until it concentrates more of its 
resources on that objective during peacetime. . . 
especially if it acquires new or expanded naval 
wartime missions in the near future."63 
During the 1980's, when the DOD was experiencing 
significant growth, the above quote, stressing a firmer 
commitment to the Coast Guard's naval warfare capabilities, 
made sense. Strengthening the Coast Guard's naval warfare 
component would also reinforce the service's support of 
National Security and National Military Strategies. The 
Coast Guard did experience some growth during this period 
with the establishment of Maritime Defense Zones(MDZs) and 
the placement of improved weapons systems on the WHEC Class 
cutters. However, growth in the national defense mission 
area has given way to changes caused by the arrival of the 
Post Cold War period. 
The Coast Guard has continually seen action in our 
country's wars. Threats to national security can no longer 
be addressed solely with military solutions. The U.S. needs 
to be flexible in its ability to respond. The Coast Guard 
officer corps no longer possesses the skills or platforms to 
be naval "Surface Warfare Officers." However, this does not 
mean the service should not remain a part of the military. 
As the first Commandant of the Coast Guard, Ellsworth Price 
Bertholf, offered: 
"Its organization, therefore, must be such as will best 
adapt it to the performance of both classes of duties, 
arid as a civil organization would not suffice for the 
performance of military functions, the organization of 
the service must be and is by law military. More than 
120 years of practical experience has demonstrated that 
it is by means of military drills, training and 
discipline that the service is enabled to maintain that 
state of preparedness for prompt performance of its 
important civil duties, which . . . are largely of an 
emergent nature."64 
Recently, the Coast Guard has sought to strengthen its 
role within the DOD in support of National Security and 
Military Strategies with the November l994 Memorandum of 
Agreement. This agreement provides three areas as to how 
the Coast Guard can support national defense roles and 
missions for the future: (1) Environmental Defense 
Operations, (2) Deployed Port Operations Security and 
Defense and, (3) Maritime Interception Operations. However, 
as previously discussed the Coast Guard's link for security 
missions remains through the NAVGARD Board and the liaison 
between the CNO and the Commandant of the Coast Guard. 
In order for the Coast Guard to remain a valuable asset 
for future national security strategy the service must 
accomplish the following. First, the service must be able 
to clearly articulate what it has to offer in support of 
future national security objectives. The dilemma is, 
how does the Coast Guard solve this problem? The service 
needs to establish doctrine to pilot its relationship with 
national security. Cdr Waterman, USCG, conducted research 
in this area based on the thesis that internal Coast Guard 
policy guidance does not communicate a coherent vision of 
the service's national security potential.65 Many senior 
and mid-level Coast Guard officers are neither conversant in 
National Security nor National Military Strategy, or how the 
Coast Guard can support these policies.66
The lack of doctrine makes the service a continual 
target for well intentioned studies. Recent efficiency 
proposals, such as the l982 DOT study and the l9B4 Grace 
Commission, provided recommendations to privatize and 
subdivide or eliminate the Coast Guard.67 In its own 
defense the Coast Guard must provide clear doctrine as to 
how it supports national security and military policies. 
Doctrine would establish common framework, purpose and 
guidelines for future planning and decision-making about the 
Coast Guard.68 By establishing a means to continually study 
the National Security and National Military Strategies, and 
how Coast Guard missions support them, the Coast Guard would 
also help educate its personnel, reinforce service morale 
and service identity. 
This will require more than a Commandant mission paper 
or vision statement to accomplish. The raw materials for 
such a doctrine exist in the following: (1) The 1994
Commandant's Direction, (2) Commandant's Long Range View 
and, (3) the 1994 Memorandum of Agreement with the DOD. 
Though this material discusses in generic terms what the 
Coast Guard does and provides direction for the service, 
they are not suitable as doctrine. The Coast Guard needs to 
capture what exists in service manuals, standard operating 
procedures, policy statements and memorandums of 
understanding and agreements with other services into a 
concise standard for support of national security 
strategy.69 An important step has been taken in this area 
with the assignment of a Coast Guard Liaison Officer at the 
Naval Doctrine Command in 1994. 
From the service's origin, as the Revenue Cutter 
Service, the Coast Guard has been involved in all major 
military conflicts of the United States. The role of the 
Coast Guard, as an armed extension of the Navy during war, 
has great historical value and provides tradition to the 
individual service members. To cast aside a mission which 
the service has performed so well is not easy. The time is 
upon Coast Guard leadership, however, to think less about 
naval warfare missions, as the main element for supporting 
the National Security and National Military Strategies and 
more on the use of other elements of the Coast Guard. 
The Coast Guard must divorce itself from the notion 
that national defense and naval warfare solely equate to 
support of national security. The organization has 
continually tried to relate the national defense mission 
only with assets that may operate in a hostile environment. 
With the blue water threat to the U.S. lessened, the need 
has arrived to look at other areas of the Coast Guard for 
support of security policy. Captain Stubbs drew the 
following conclusion for the Coast Guard's large cutters 
(WHEC and WMEC classes) in naval warfare during his study: 
There will be no justification for the Coast Guard's 
large cutters, medium and high endurance, to retain combat 
systems, sensors and weapons. Coastal defense requirements 
for the CONUS based MDZ commands will not generate the need 
for combat systems for these cutters. . . The Coast Guard's 
patrol boats have utility in regional conflicts as coastal 
patrol and interdiction assets. If the Navy decides that it 
has no requirement to deploy them to such a conflict, these 
cutters too will have no need for combat systems. The only 
requirement for weapons systems will be law enforcement 
duties and low-order confrontations with other nation- 
states. Basically Coast Guard cutters will become a family 
of offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) and possible loose their 
naval auxiliary status.70
In performing its peacetime missions, such as maritime 
law enforcement, migrant interdiction operations, and port 
safety and security the Coast Guard operates in the OOTW 
environment daily.71 The service remains a major 
contributor for OOTW type operations because of its 
familiarity with that operating environment. 
Despite the changes in threat to U.S. security, there 
remains a valid need for the military element of the Coast 
Guard into the next century. Recent operations off Haiti 
and Cuba prove that the Coast Guard can quickly adapt 
to a changing environment. During the months prior to the 
U.S. troops going ashore in Haiti, Coast Guard cutters 
preformed dual roles. First, as a humanitarian service 
saving the lives of thousands of Haitian migrants. Second, 
as a member of a multi-national force responsible for 
enforcement of the United Nations embargo against Haiti. 
Once troops were ashore in Haiti, some Coast Guard 
units which were previously involved with the humanitarain 
and enforcement efforts, had to quickly change modes of 
operation and become part of the Harbor Defense Forces in 
Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. At the same time other Coast Guard 
units were redirected from Haiti to conduct migrant 
interdiction operations off the coast of Cuba, in the 
vicinity of Havana. The multi-mission nature and 
flexibility of the service during this period suggests the 
Coast Guard can maintain a military mission, yet still 
conduct its peacetime duties. 
Third, the Coast Guard must seek out and gain 
representation on the various CINC staffs. Keeping the 
Coast Guard's ability to support future National Security 
and National Military Strategies tied solely to the Navy may 
be hazardous. As the Navy seeks to expand her roles and 
missions, the Coast Guard may find itself in direct 
competition for missions. The Coast Guard must seek a 
broader role of supporting the CINCs, as opposed to 
primarily supporting the Navy.72 Captain Kirkpatrick, USCG, 
offers the following, as to how the Coast Guard can best 
contribute to the CINCs missions. 
Internally to the Coast Guard should: 
1) Form an organization responsible for national 
security planning. 
2) Determine the service's national security role. 
3) Articulate this role to the service, the DOT 
and Congress. 
Externally the Coast Guard should: 
1) Place officers on CINC's planning staffs 
2) Redefine the Coast Guard relationship with the 
Navy in national defense matters. 
3) Articulate to the CINCs what the Coast Guard 
has to offer in the national security and 
defense arena.73 
Additionally, without proper support on the CINC 
staffs, the U.S. government is denied the advantage of being 
able to use all available resources to resolve security 
concerns. The capabilities of the Coast Guard have not gone 
unnoticed. John White, chairman of the Commission on Roles 
and Missions of the Armed Forces, states, "The Coast Guard 
provides a model we ought to think about, they have terrific 
Last, the Coast Guard must expand its role 
internationally. The Coast Guard can serve as the role model 
for many Third World navies. The Navy currently executes a 
majority of the maritime aspects of the U.S. Security 
Assistance Program (SAP).75 However, the Navy lacks the 
expertise and understanding of how to relate to third world 
services, due to the nature of their missions. The Coast 
Guard offers the following to SAP. First, the organization 
of the Coast Guard is much like that of many Third World 
Navies.76 The  small size of the Coast Guard demands that 
its personnel and mission be multi-dimensional. Coast Guard 
and Third World units may find themselves doing law 
enforcement, or humanitrarian service all in the same day. 
Second, the Coast Guard holds a unique status from that of 
the Navy and other DOD services. The diplomacy carried by a 
naval combatant may not be the proper choice when trying to 
strengthen relations with Third World countries.77 Third,  
Coast Guard cutters and patrol craft are similar to those in 
use by Third World countries. The high technology in use in 
the Navy provides little common ground for professional 
exchanges. The Coast Guard does have an active role through 
its Mobile Training Teams. However, these teams have been 
unable to keep up with the demands placed upon them.78 
The wide range of missions the Coast Guard performs 
requires that the service maintain some level of military 
capability in support of the National Security and National 
Military Strategies. The Coast Guard is slowly losing the 
"naval auxiliary" component of its cutters. Historically, 
it was this component that kept the service linked to the 
other military services. The Coast Guard can continue to be 
a credible instrument for national security by: (1) Acting 
as maritime interception platforms in coastal or littoral 
waters, (2) Providing credible forward presence in the 
Caribbean Basin and Latin America in conjunction with normal 
operations, (3) Receiving an expanded role in training Third 
World navies, and (4) Becoming a tool available for use by 
the CINCs and not just an extension of the Navy. These 
roles for the Coast Guard become increasingly more important 
in light of the DOD draw down and the nation's committment 
to be able to respond simulataneously to two major regional 
contingencies. The use of Coast Guard assets will allow for 
the deployment of DOD assets to more traditional military 
roles. The major challenge for the Coast Guard is that it 
must better define how it will support these strategies in 
the future. 
1. Bruce Stubbs, The Coast Guard's National Security Role in the 
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21. Johnson 281. 
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51. COMDTINST 542O.23B, 1. 
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Capabilities and Resources in Support of the National Military 
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of the National Military Strategy, November 1994. 
54. Kramek, 6. 
55. Interview with CAPT Jay Creech, USCG, USCG HQ, G-OCU. 
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USCG HQ, G-ODO. Washington, November 1994. 
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USCG HQ, G-ODO. Washington, November l994. 
58. Ronald Fraser, For a Flexible Navy, the Coast Guard is a 
Model, Navy Times, Marine Corp Edition 13 Feb 1995, 29. 
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Process. Naval War College, Newport, May 1992, 2. 
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62. Kirkpatrick, 3. 
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64. Johnson, 33. 
65. Waterman, ii. 
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68. Waterman, 24. 
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Naval Institute Proceedings, October 1989, 120-122. 
70. Stubbs, xlvii. 
71. Louis Orsini, The Right Service for the Job - Security 
Assistance and the Coast Guard, Naval War College. New Port, May 
1990, 10. 
72. Kirkpatrick, 2. 
73. Kirkpatrick, 8. 
74. William Matthews, "Other Agencies Should Share Burden of 
Peace," Army Times, November 1994. 
75. Orsini, ii. 
76. Orsini, 15. 
77. Orsini, 16. 
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United States Coast Guard, l9l5 to the Present. 
Annapolis Md.: Naval Institute Press, 1987. 
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Commandant Instruction 16000.21. Washington. 21
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1. Coast Guard involvement in major military conflicts in the 
past focused on the cutter fleet. At the end of World War II, 
the military capabilities of the cutter fleet serving during the 
war were parallel with similar type combatants of our sister 
service. Since World War II, the nature of war has changed 
significantly. As the complexity of war changed, the Navy's 
technology to wage war grew proportionately. For the Coast 
Guard, our afloat warfighting capabilities have grown in spurts. 
Recently, they have begun to diminish with the removal of various 
weapons system from some cutter classes. 
The limited role played by Coast Guard afloat units during 
Operations Desert Shield/Storm signaled a seemingly greater 
domestic role for our cutters. Major contributions were Squadron 
staffs/LEDETS/Reserve Port Security units. 
The Coast Guard's role under DOD control is vague. Considering 
the current world political/military environment, should we seek 
to continue designing and manning cutters based on an ability to 
assume the role of a naval combatant? 
2. The current DOD roles and mission study are hoping to better 
define the DOD services role in OOTW. Conventional warfare may 
be outdated. The Coast Guard has emerged as a front runner with 
our ability to conduct operations other than war. 
Should the Coast Guard push for a greater role in these types of 
operations in the future? 
3. Operations with main emphasis on law enforcement have been 
hampered over the past three years because of migrant 
interdiction operations. 
Given that both drug trafficking and migrant flow are considered 
security concerns under the new Presidential security strategy, 
should the Coast Guard seek to focus attention back toward 
efforts in drug and general law enforcement arenas? 
Do you believe that an adequate balance among Coast Guard mission 
areas exists? 
4. Current organization of Coast Guard Headquarters, Area Staffs 
and Districts fail to place the Coast Guard operational elements 
that relate to Coast Guard security assets in a clear internal 
organization. Coast Guard Headquarters, Office of Law 
Enforcement and Defense Operational (G-O), which is the Coast 
Guard's traditional link to its role in national security 
affairs, controls only a small portion of operational mission 
The new national security policy contains security concerns that 
parallel Coast Guard missions. Should the Coast Guard expand the 
responsibilities of the operations staff to possibly include the 
following: Readiness and Reserve, Marine Safety (port 
security/operations) and Environmental Protection and Navigation 
and Waterways Management?

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