Cutter Programs Update
FEATURES: Coast Guard Law Enforcement Personnel Readiness Aviation Programs Update
COAST GUARD PHOTO BY AUX. WILLIAM GREER
Coast Guard Station Humboldt Bay 47-foot Motor Lifeboat crews conduct surf training near the Humboldt Bay Channel, California. The crews train in high surf to ensure they are prepared to respond to maritime emergencies during rough weather conditions.
CONTENTS 8 Ready, Relevant, Responsive A mission-ready Total Workforce for the Coast Guard By Craig Collins
16 Coast Guard Is Overhauling White, Red and Black Hull Fleets By Edward Lundquist 26 The Coast Guard Air Fleet Uniquely Coast Guard. Uniquely durable and resilient. By Craig Collins
34 Polar Presence Depends on New Polar Security Cutter By Edward Lundquist 42 Marine Exchange of Southern California A unique public-private partnership ensures safe, secure, and efficient operations at the Los Angeles/Long Beach port complex. By Edward Lundquist 50 Maritime Law Enforcement Is a Team Sport
U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO BY CHIEF PETTY OFFICER JOHN MASSON
The Coast Guard works with partners to protect the nation. By Edward Lundquist
We salute all the men and women who serve. Special Thanks to District 13 and Sector Puget Sound.
58 A Leg Up For Coast Guard Civilians The new Civilian Career Management Team By Craig Collins
Above: Coast Guard Cutter Kimball (WMSL 756), foreground, meets Coast Guard Cutter Midgett (WMSL 757) off Diamond Head Aug. 16, 2019.
CONTENTS 64 Updating IT Infrastructure By J.R. Wilson
70 Sector Puget Sound: A Case Study in Coast Guard Partnerships By Edward Lundquist 76 Coast Guard Marine Inspectors: In From the Start By Craig Collins
82 New USCG Base San Juan, Base Detachment Borinquen Support Coast Guard Missions
U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO BY PETTY OFFICER 3RD CLASS ANDREW BARRESI
86 The Last Ride out of Rocky Point: A Hurricane Florence Rescue By Petty Officer 2nd Class Dustin Williams 90 The Cutters, Boats, and Aircraft of the U.S. Coast Guard 122 Snapshot 124 Flag Leadership Above: A Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft flies over Fort Adams, May 8, 2018, in Newport, Rhode Island.
2020 EDITION Published by Faircount Media Group 4915 W. Cypress St., Tampa, FL 33607 Tel: 813.639.1900 www.defensemedianetwork.com • www.faircount.com EDITORIAL Editor in Chief: Chuck Oldham Managing Editor: Ana E. Lopez Senior Editor: Rhonda Carpenter Contributing Writers: Craig Collins, Edward Lundquist Petty Officer 2nd Class Dustin Williams, J.R. Wilson DESIGN AND PRODUCTION Art Director: Robin K. McDowall ADVERTISING Associate Publisher: Steve Chidel Account Executives: Christopher Day Joe Gonzalez, Beth Hamm, Geoffrey Weiss OPERATIONS AND ADMINISTRATION Chief Operating Officer: Lawrence Wayne Roberts VP, Business Development: Robin Jobson Business Development and Marketing: Damion Harte Manager, Sales and Marketing Systems: Art Dubuc III Accounting Manager: Joe Gonzalez Marketing Intern: Emily Falcone FAIRCOUNT MEDIA GROUP COVER PHOTO: The newly commissioned Coast Guard Cutter Angela McShan (WPC-1135) underway near Miami, Florida, Sept. 20, 2019. Angela McShan,
the cutter’s namesake, was the first African-American woman to be promoted to master chief petty officer. Fast response cutters are replacing the 1980s-era 110-foot patrol boats and feature advanced command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance equipment. COAST GUARD PHOTO BY PETTY OFFICER 3RD CLASS BRANDON MURRAY.
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READY, RELEVANT, RESPONSIVE: A mission-ready Total Workforce for the Coast Guard BY CRAIG COLLINS
The Coast Guard motto was first bestowed by the New Orleans Bee in 1836, in praise of the U.S. Revenue Cutter Ingham. While on patrol off the Texas coast, the Ingham became the only U.S. vessel to fire a shot in support of the War of Texas Independence. The Bee declared the cutter “a vessel entitled to bear the best motto for a military public servant – SEMPER PARATUS.” The Coast Guard has staked its reputation on being “always ready” in the nearly two centuries since. On March 21, 2019, in his first State of the Coast Guard speech, Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Karl Schultz identified his top priority as the service’s new leader: readiness. For a number of reasons, he said – including an increasingly complex global environment, a rising demand for Coast Guard services, and operational funding that has stagnated in the category of “nondiscretionary defense spending” since the Budget Control Act of 2011 – the service was in danger of being not ready enough. “Our missions have never been more relevant or demanding than today,” said Schultz. “However, we face very real challenges – so much so that we’re approaching a tipping point.” The Coast Guard’s assets were aging and suffering from deferred maintenance; its workforce was strained and undersized; its information systems were antiquated; and its shore infrastructure backlog exceeded $1.7 billion. Schultz remained optimistic about the future of the Coast Guard, and efforts to implement the guiding principles he identified upon assuming leadership in June 2018 – to remain ready, relevant and responsive – were well under way by the time of his address. While he and other advocates lobbied Congress for more support to modernize its assets, infrastructure, and mission platforms, other service members were at work implementing the service’s strategy for cultivating a “mission-ready total workforce.”
Coast Guard OUTLOOK
As a federal employer, the Coast Guard has a lot going for it, boasting the highest employee retention rates among the armed services. Forty percent of its enlisted recruits stay for a 20-year career in the service, and 60 percent of its officers stay at least that long. But in striving to be what Schultz calls an “employer of choice,” the service isn’t merely competing with the other armed services; it’s competing with every other employer, public and private, in the United States. And it’s always looking to do better: In a period of constrained resources, it’s more important than ever that the service hold onto the resources it has – not
U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO BY PETTY OFFICER 3RD CLASS KAITLIN BEARDEN
Ensign Maria Villanueva and Ensign Ruth Ford stand on the flight deck of Coast Guard Cutter Legare while underway in the North Atlantic Ocean, Thursday, July 6, 2017. The Coast Guard is working to retain a higher percentage of women in the service.
only to save the expense of constantly retraining new recruits, but to retain valuable experience that will make its work more efficient and less risky. The Coast Guard works hard to attract and retain people from underrepresented populations: outreach, scholarship and mentoring programs, training initiatives,
and efforts aimed specifically at diversifying its officer corps. In 2015, it updated its Diversity & Inclusion Strategic Plan, aimed at “recruiting, retaining, and sustaining a ready, diverse and highly skilled workforce.” In May 2019, its Office of Diversity and Inclusion hosted its first-ever Affinity Fair, to help personnel network and connect with mentoring opportunities. In spite of these efforts, disparities have persisted within the Coast Guard. Women and people of color – populations that each account for about half of all Americans – remained underrepresented in the service. In 2019, according to the Office of Diversity and
U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO BY 3/C ANDREW KANG
Coast Guard Academy Cadet Kayla Hughely holds the Echo Company flag during the Corps of Cadets Regimental Review, Sept. 22, 2018. Approximately 40 percent of Coast Guard Academy Cadets are women, the highest percentage of any service.
Inclusion, 14.9 percent of Coast Guard personnel are women, and 14.4 identify as being of a racial minority. The Coast Guard also knew it was retaining women at a lower rate than men, despite doing a good job of attracting women to the service (40 percent of Coast Guard Academy cadets are women, the highest of any military academy). For the first five years of their careers, retention rates for women tracked closely with those of men, but after that, retention dropped sharply among women. Compared to men, about 12 percent fewer women will stay in the service after a decade in uniform. About 23 percent of male officers will serve a 25-year career in the Coast Guard, while only 15 percent of women officers will do the same. Last year, the Coast Guard commissioned the RAND Corporation to conduct a study including 164 focus groups with 1,010 activeduty Coast Guard women, examining the reason for this loss of mid-career women in its ranks. In his State of the Coast Guard Address, Schultz articulated a vision of an inclusive service that values each member as an individual, is free from threats and discrimination, and is committed to the success of members and their families. While the service awaited
the results of the RAND study, it launched several new initiatives aimed broadly at realizing this vision – at being an employer of choice – service-wide. Among these was the formation of a seven-person team, reporting directly to Vice Commandant Adm. Charles W. Ray, that would work full-time to turn ideas into concrete changes strengthening the Coast Guard workforce. The Personnel Readiness Task Force (PRTF) was officially stood up in December 2018.
ACTION ITEMS: THE NEAR TERM Due to the longest federal government shutdown in history, however, the Task Force didn’t begin work in earnest until February 2019. Led by Capt. Tom Kaminski, a Coast Guard veteran whose career began in the mid1990s, the team hit the ground running, targeting the most doable solutions first: policy changes that would accommodate the evolution of American families and society while strengthening the Coast Guard workforce. Though RAND wouldn’t publicly report the results of its women’s retention study for several more weeks, in late March, the team began its work based on an interim briefing, outlining issues women had raised about their work environment, career trajectory, and personal/work life balance. One of the team’s first items of focus was an issue raised frequently by Coast Guard women: They did not think the service’s Weight and Body Fat Standards, based on measurements of body mass index (BMI), were equitable – and in fact, some women reported leaving the service rather than deal with the stress leading up
Coast Guard aviation maintenance technicians participate in weight training in Sitka, Alaska. The Coast Guard has rolled out a pilot program evaluating an alternative standard to body mass index. to the biannual measurements. The Coast Guard’s own data backed this assertion: Between 2014 and 2018, women were about three times as likely as men to be separated from the service for failure to comply with the weight standards. BMI, which estimates a person’s amount of body fat based on a height-to-weight ratio, has its detractors. It does nothing, for example, to measure a person’s muscle mass, overall body composition, or ability to do his or her job. There was also no denying, said Kaminski, that enforcing the Coast Guard’s BMI standard was having a disproportionate effect on women. “If you look at normalized numbers, based on their representation in the service, it’s about 3 to 1,” he said, “which means women failed to meet the standard three times as often as men did. It was clear we needed to do something.” The PRTF worked with Coast Guard leadership to develop an alternative standard aligned with that used by the Air Force and Navy: abdominal circumference, which is a better predictor of health risks than BMI. Because the Coast Guard requires men and women to maintain a certain level of fitness to perform their jobs, the new standard would uphold these requirements while allowing for greater flexibility in BMI. The service rolled out a yearlong pilot program to evaluate the new standard – a maximum waist measurement of 39 inches for men, and 35.5 inches for women – in October 2019. Another issue raised by women in the RAND study was a reluctance to have children while serving on active duty. The focus groups tended to express this hesitancy in terms of its negative impact on coworkers, who often saw their own workload grow when a colleague took parental or caregiver leave. This circumstance, Kaminski said, can impact the decisions of even unmarried service members, men and women alike. To encourage service members to take the leave time allowed to them without negative consequences to their coworkers or their own careers, the PRTF pursued a solution – surge staffing for parental leave – that provides headquarters funding to backfill these positions with reservists. Ray announced the pilot in May 2019, and by Nov. 1, 2019, more than 80 service members had used the program to take time off from their jobs and bond with their new children. The new surge staffing pilot is a good illustration of how the PRTF can bring about rapid, constructive change to sustain workforce readiness and improve its members’ lives. In monthly meetings with the vice commandant and his staff, PRTF members and leadership exchange ideas, identify possible solutions, and then begin internal discussions with the relevant program managers to game out how a solution might be implemented. The
Coast Guard OUTLOOK
solution goes through deliberations at different levels, a legal review, and approval by top leadership before being finalized. Finally, the team crafts a communication strategy to get the word out to the workforce. The women’s retention study is just one tool the PRTF is using to identify workforce issues, and its activities are not solely focused on women. It gathers intelligence throughout the service, identifying challenges that can be addressed in partnership with senior leaders. Policy changes the team has helped bring about in the past several months include: • An update to the Coast Guard Housing Manual to include the Family Child Care (FCC) Service Program, which will allow a participating family to request assignment to Coast-Guard-owned housing that exceeds their bedroom qualification. This will enable a Coast Guard spouse, subject to background check and certification requirements, to open an on-base residential childcare center. “This will allow for childcare in Coast Guard base housing,” Kaminski said, “while offering an on-base employment opportunity for spouses. So it’s a win-win.” The Coast Guard Foundation is
U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO BY SN KATLIN KILROY
helping to fund this new program’s equipment and training costs. • A new program authorizing up to $750 a year to nursing Coast Guard mothers temporarily assigned away from home to cover the cost of shipping milk to feed their infant children. “If a mother chooses to travel for work,” Kaminski said, “this solution allows her to continue breast-feeding.” • An update to the Coast Guard’s tattoo policy, which affects a growing number of young Americans – 38 percent of whom, according to a 2010 study by the Pew Research Center, have at least one tattoo. As Kaminski points out, making the tattoo standards more flexible will allow for a larger highquality candidate pool. The new policy, while still prohibiting tattoos with objectionable content or messaging, allows greater flexibility in their location and visibility. As Kaminski points out, many of these policy changes are gender-neutral, aimed at increasing inclusivity throughout the service. “Surge staffing offers men opportunities for secondary caregiver leave. And tattoos obviously impact everybody. We started our work with the women’s study findings, but a lot of these changes apply to everyone.”
A MORE INCLUSIVE – AND COMMUNICATIVE – COAST GUARD Meanwhile, the Task Force continues to gather information from all levels of the Coast Guard. On
Family members of the Coast Guard Cutter Harriet Lane crew are reunited with their loved ones after the cutter came into their homeport at Coast Guard Base Portsmouth from an international deployment. Another pilot program the Coast Guard has underway is surge staffing to support parental leave. the heels of the women’s study, the service recently launched a similar study aimed at recommendations for retaining underrepresented minorities. Kaminski anticipates some initial findings from this study to emerge in the spring of 2020. “I think we’re going to see some inclusion recommendations,” said Kaminski. “What are the things we can do in the Coast Guard, not only to recruit a diverse workforce, but to make people feel included when they’re with us?” Kaminski also believes the study will lead to a renewed effort to increase the participation of minority service members on boards and panels. The Coast Guard has assigned the Commandant’s Ethnic Policy Advisor, for example, to the Uniform Board, which periodically evaluates suggested changes to the service’s uniform regulations, but Kaminski thinks the service can go further. Uniform regulations govern not just the uniform itself, but also how people accessorize or wear their hair – and though it may sound trivial to people who don’t have to worry much about their hair, it’s a significant issue for some. “Without representation on the Uniform Board,” Kaminski said, “those issues are less likely to rise to the surface.”
U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO BY PETTY OFFICER 2ND CLASS NATE LITTLEJOHN
Capt. Timothy Schang and Cmdr. Eva Van Camp are a married couple serving in the U.S. Coast Guard. The Coast Guard is working to better communicate workforce policies and programs to its people, such as its success in co-locating married personnel.
Becoming a more inclusive and rewarding organization to work for – one that can compete with public- and private-sector employees alike – isn’t a simple task. Cultural inertia is a considerable challenge in a service that’s nearly as old as the United States itself. But in just a few months, Kaminski and the PRTF have demonstrated that a focused effort to bring about improvements, with commitment at all levels of the Coast Guard, can achieve real, lasting change. New programs and policies alone won’t do much to improve Coast Guard readiness unless service members are aware of these changes – and promoting awareness is a challenge in itself. RAND’s recommendations for how to retain women in the Coast Guard, Kaminski said, include things the service is already doing, but not everyone in the Coast Guard is acquainted with them. For example, the study revealed concerns about co-locating spouses who both serve in the military – but the Coast Guard has data to demonstrate it does a good job of co-locating spouses who both serve in the Coast Guard. “Transparency has been a recurring theme that we’re
trying to work on,” said Kaminski. “We have about 90 different channels through which we communicate to the workforce, believe it or not ... when people look for internal news, they’re looking in a lot of different places, and there is a lot of redundancy and frustration.” The PRTF is working with the service’s public affairs and outreach professionals to consolidate these internal channels into a single message platform, an online news source accessible on the internet and mobile devices. The tool promises to bring important information about workforce policies and programs to everyone affected by them: service members, spouses, families, reservists, and Auxiliary members. Creating a single complete source for internal news may not seem like a big deal, but Kaminski believes it may be one of the most important things his team will achieve in its brief tenure. “To me, it’s perhaps the most impactful to the everyday Coastie.” In a career that has spanned more than 25 years, Kaminski said, working on the PRTF “has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve done in the Coast Guard.” It’s the kind of experience the Coast Guard wants for all of its people, whose skill and expertise it hopes to retain and support throughout varied, challenging, rewarding – and long – careers. With such a workforce, the service is sure to live up to its motto.
Coast Guard Cutter Midgett (WMSL 757), right, meets Coast Guard Cutter Kimball (WMSL 756) off Diamond Head Aug. 16, 2019 while a C-130 Hercules aircraft from Air Station Barbers Point flies between them.
COAST GUARD IS OVERHAULING WHITE, RED AND BLACK HULL FLEETS BY EDWARD LUNDQUIST
Coast Guard OUTLOOK
MISSIONS OF NSCS, OPCS, AND FRCS NSCs, OPCs, and FRCs, like the cutters they are intended to replace, are to be multi-mission ships to perform search and rescue (SAR); drug interdiction; migrant interdiction; ports, waterways, and coastal security (PWCS); protection of living marine resources; other/general law enforcement; and defense readiness operations. If needed, they can also support other Coast Guard operations such as aids to navigation (ATON) support or pollution response. The first NSC, USCGC Bertholf (WMSL 750), was commissioned in August of 2008. At 4,500 tons and 418-feet in length, it is larger and more capable than its predecessor, the 378-foot, Hamilton-class WHEC. While the original program of record (POR) was to build eight NSCs, the program has been supported by Congress, and funding has been authorized for up to 11. All of the NSCs are built at Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Ingalls Shipbuilding of Pascagoula, Mississippi. The seventh and eighth NSCs, Kimball and Midgett, respectively, were commissioned into service in a joint ceremony at their homeport of Honolulu in 2019. The ninth NSC, Stone, will be
U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO BY CHIEF PETTY OFFICER JOHN MASSON
The Coast Guard cutter fleet has served with distinction, but it is old and in need of recapitalization. Fortunately, new ships are on the way. The good news is that today there are cutters in the water, being built, or planned to replace the aging “white hull” high endurance and medium endurance cutters and patrol boat fleets; “red hull” icebreakers; and “black hull” buoy and inland waterway tenders. The legacy multi-mission “white hull” cutters are grouped by size, with high-endurance cutters (WHECs) being the largest, followed by medium endurance cutters (WMECs), and finally patrol boats (WPBs). The older ships are increasingly more expensive to operate and maintain, and they are also no longer optimal for mission sets that have become more complex. In rebuilding the fleet, the WHECs are being replaced by the National Security Cutter (NSC), which are designated as “maritime security cutter large” or WMSLs. The WMECs are being replaced by the Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC), which carry the “maritime security cutter medium” or WMSM designation. The patrol boats are being replaced with the Fast Response Cutter (FRC).
An artist’s conception of the Offshore Patrol Cutter now under construction.
christened in a ceremony at Ingalls Shipbuilding in early 2020. In his State of the Coast Guard Address, Commandant of the Coast Guard Adm. Karl Schultz called the NSCs “the flagships of our cutter fleet.” Compared to legacy cutters, the NSCs benefit from improved sea-keeping, greater endurance and range, and higher sustained transit speeds to get to the operating area faster. The NSC has better facilities for boats and aircraft as well. The stern launch capability can safely launch and recover small boats from astern while underway. The hangar, flight deck and aviation facilities can accommodate the MH-65 helicopters and unmanned aircraft such as ScanEagle. Schultz said the NSCs have game-changing capabilities, with an unmanned aerial system, airborne use-of-force helicopters, and over-the-horizon boats. Recent NSC deployments have benefited from the surveillance capabilities of the ScanEagle unmanned aircraft. Schultz said the Coast Guard is procuring the systems so that eventually all of the NSCs will carry ScanEagle. Newer cutters are needed because threats have evolved. The sophistication of trans-national organized crime, drug smuggling, human trafficking and illegal fishing is much greater today than when the older WHEC and WMEC cutters entered service. The NSC, OPC and FRC all have greater range and endurance than the cutters they are replacing. The NSCs have improved range and endurance, as their deployments attest. USCGC Bertholf deployed to the Western Pacific in 2019 to enforce U.N. sanctions against North Korea, and operate with the U.S. Seventh Fleet and partner nations. Last year, USCGC Stratton (WMSL 752) deployed for 104 days operating from the Bering Sea to the coast of
Colombia in South America, and in 2019 deployed to the Western Pacific.
WMEC / OPC The Coast Guard’s OPC program of record calls for procuring 25 OPCs as replacements for the service’s 29 medium-endurance cutters. The 360-foot OPCs will be larger and more capable than the WMECs they will replace. The OPCs are being called the Heritage class, and are named for cutters that played an exceptional role in Coast Guard history. The lead ship will be named USCGC Argus. “This next generation surface capability, beginning with the Argus, is already under construction. The OPC program of record is set to deliver 25 hulls and that fleet will eventually comprise over 70 percent of our offshore presence,” said Schultz in his 2019 “State of the Coast Guard Address” at Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach in March. Schultz said the first two OPCs will be homeported in San Pedro, California, followed by the next two at Kodiak, Alaska. He also said the new OPCs “will be exponentially more capable and accommodating to our mixed gender crews.” “Looking forward, the performance capabilities and expected capacity of our future Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC) fleet will provide the tools to more effectively enforce federal laws, secure our maritime borders, disrupt TCOs, and respond to 21st century threats,” said Schultz during congressional testimony in April 2019. “In concert with the extended range and capability of the NSC and the enhanced coastal patrol capability of the Fast Response Cutter (FRC), our planned program of record for 25 OPCs will be the backbone of the Coast Guard’s strategy to project and maintain offshore presence.” The OPC detail design and construction (DD&C) contract was awarded to Eastern Shipbuilding Group
COAST GUARD PHOTO BY PETTY OFFICER 3RD CLASS BRANDON MURRAY
The newly commissioned Coast Guard Fast Response Cutter Angela McShan (WPC-1135) underway near Miami, Florida, Sept. 20, 2019.
(ESG) of Panama City, Florida, on Sept. 15, 2016, which covered the detail design and production of up to nine OPCs. However, ESG and the Panama City region suffered significant storm damage from the devastating category 5 Hurricane Michael in October of 2018. As a result, the contract was adjusted to support continued production of Argus and provide options for ESG to build up to three more OPCs. The Coast Guard announced on Oct. 11 that the service is looking at conducting a follow-on competition for the remaining OPC program of record, and asked for comments from industry. “The RFI is one of several industry engagement activities the program will do to gain fresh insight into the current state of the shipbuilding industrial base and inform the Coast Guard’s way forward on follow-on production of OPCs,” said Brian Olexy, a Coast Guard Acquisition Directorate spokesman.
FAST RESPONSE CUTTER The Coast Guard’s FRC program has been moving along smartly. In addition to the qualitative improvement over the 110-foot Island class patrol boats (WPB), the new 154-foot FRCs have been joining the fleet in numbers. The Sentinel (WPC) class patrol boats are named for enlisted leaders, trailblazers, and heroes of the Coast
Guard and its predecessor services of the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service, U.S. Life-Saving Service, and U.S. Lighthouse Service. The Coast Guard is replacing the 49 Island-class 110foot patrol boats serving in U.S. waters with 58 FRCs, and Island-class cutters are being taken out of service as new FRCs are commissioned. There are currently six Island-class patrol boats based in Bahrain as part of Patrol Forces Southwest Asia (PATFORSWA), and the goal is to replace them with FRCs as well. The FRCs carry a stern-launched 26-foot Over-theHorizon Interceptor (OTH IV) instead of the WPB’s 17-foot RHIB (ridged hull inflatable boat). The OTH IV is also used on the WMEC, NSC and OPC, and has better endurance and seakeeping, as well as improved radar and communications, compared to the RHIB, which had to be within the line of sight of the 110. The FRC has the same statutory missions as the 110s – to conduct multi-day patrols throughout the nation’s 200-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ), and beyond. But the similarity ends there. The FRC is 40 percent longer and twice as heavy, with greater endurance for longer patrols, and is more heavily armed so as to be more persuasive when called upon. The lead ship in the Sentinel-class, USCGC Bernard C. Webber, was delivered in 2012. “The Coast Guard is on track to take delivery of five FRCs, cutters 38 through 42, in 2020, in line with our acquisition schedule and strategy,” said Olexy. There are 56 FRCs under contract as of November 2019. The first FRCs were assigned to District 7 homeports of Miami and Key West in Florida, and San Juan, Puerto Rico. The idea was that each of those ports would
U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO BY CHIEF PETTY OFFICER DAVID MOSLEY
The Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star backs and rams through dense ice off the Antarctic coast, Jan. 15, 2017. The Polar Star and its crew work to establish a resupply channel through Antarctic ice to enable ships to reach the National Science Foundation’s McMurdo Station every year. Polar Star is the nation’s only heavy icebreaker, and is 43 years old. have dedicated support teams to sustain and maintain the ships with the required expertise, experience and economies of scale. A cutter returning from a patrol would find a knowledgeable team waiting for them to deal with casualties, repairs, and scheduled maintenance. Since then, FRCs have been assigned at various homeports from the continental U.S. to Alaska and Hawaii. The FRC is built upon a “parent-craft” design, based on the Stan 4708 patrol vessel by Damen Group of the Netherlands. The FRC’s range and endurance have opened up new operational opportunities. In 2019, Honolulu-based Fast Response Cutter USCGC Joseph Gerczak (WPC 1126), accompanied by ocean going buoy tender USCGC Walnut (WLB 205) conducted a successful deployment to Samoa and the U.S. territory of American Samoa, where they conducted operations to counter illegal fishing and strengthen relations with allies and partner nations. The Joseph Gerczak crew conducted joint boardings in the U.S. EEZ around American Samoa with U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration enforcement officers and the American Samoa Marine Police. Later, the Joseph Gerczak joined up with Walnut in Apia, Samoa to participate in community relations events on
behalf of the U.S. Embassy. The Joseph Gerczak also assisted local responders with search and rescue efforts. FRCs feature advanced systems as well as over-thehorizon response boat deployment capability and improved habitability for the crew. The ships can accommodate a crew of 24, can reach speeds of 28 knots with a range of 2,500 nautical miles, and patrol up to five days.
POLAR SECURITY CUTTER Coast Guard icebreakers constitute the “red hull” fleet. Currently the Coast Guard operates the heavy icebreaker USCGC Polar Star (WAGB 10), and medium icebreaker USCGC Healy (WAGB 20). Schultz has stated that along with the Offshore Patrol Cutter, the Polar Security Cutter (PSC) is the service’s top acquisition priority. “PSCs will provide the nation with assured surface access to the polar regions for decades to come.” Speaking at the American Society of Naval Engineers’ Arctic Day symposium, Vice Commandant Adm. Charles Ray said the Coast Guard needs at least three heavy icebreakers to provide the ability to operate anywhere, anytime. The PSC program is aimed at recapitalizing the nation’s polar icebreaking fleet with at least three new heavy polar icebreakers. The Coast Guard-Navy Integrated Program Office (IPO) for the PSC program awarded a $745.9 million fixed-price, incentive-firm contract for the detail, design and construction of the first PSC to VT Halter Marine of Pascagoula,
The current U.S. Coast Guard inland tender fleet comprises three classes to carry out specific aspects of the ATON mission: Inland Construction Operations
River Buoy Tending Operations
Inland Buoy Tending Operations
WLIC (13 total)
Built 1944 1962 1976
WLICs construct, repair and maintain fixed ATON within inland waterways. The WLIC is the only Coast Guard platform with the capability to drive and remove piles, erect towers, and effect major structural repairs.
WLR (18 total)
Built 1960 1964 1990
WLRs service short-range ATON on the Western Rivers. They set, relocate, and recover buoys to mark the navigable channel in the rivers as the water level changes. They also establish and maintain fixed aids, lights and daybeacons within their area of responsibility.
WLI (4 total)
Built 1945 1954 1963
WLIs service short-range ATON along the coastal and inland waterways. These vessels maintain buoys that are beyond the capabilities of the nearest ATON team and that are located in areas either too shallow or otherwise too restricted for larger platforms to reach. One WLI each is located in North Carolina, Michigan, Oregon, and Alaska.
Mississippi, on April 23, 2019. Construction of the first PSC is scheduled to begin in 2021 and be delivered in 2024, with incentives for achieving an earlier delivery date. “The IPO structure combines a wide range of acquisition and operational expertise in one office, enabling the Coast Guard to conduct an accelerated acquisition of a complex vessel, the PSC, in a prudent manner,” said Capt. Tim Connors, the PSC acquisition program manager. In July 2019, the IPO was recognized by the Department of Homeland Security as the Major Acquisition Program of the Year. The program received the award in recognition of its programmatic excellence and success in fiscal year 2018 in applying resources and innovative processes to deliver the planned capabilities on an accelerated schedule while reducing the estimated cost of the lead vessel by $300 million. Also, in September 2019, the PSC project resident office (PRO), staffed by Coast Guard and Navy personnel, moved from its temporary location at Coast Guard headquarters to its permanent facilities at VT Halter Marine in Pascagoula, Mississippi. In addition to the ocean-going icebreakers, the Coast Guard also has a red hull on the Great Lakes, the USCGC Mackinaw (WLBB 30), commissioned in 2006.
WATERWAYS COMMERCE CUTTER (WCC) The Coast Guard’s “black hull” fleet of inland tenders is also in desperate need of replacement. According to the Coast Guard’s “Maritime Commerce Strategic Outlook,” the service has a
vital role in ensuring the safe, secure and efficient operation of America’s 12,000-mile Marine Transportation System (MTS) of rivers, canals, and intracoastal waterways, and has three main lines of effort: “facilitating lawful trade and travel on secure waterways; modernizing aids to navigation and mariner information systems; and transforming workforce capacity and partnerships …” That mission is supported by the 35-ship inland tender fleet and its associated barges, which is responsible for maintaining approximately 28,200 navigation aids throughout the inland waterways, and consists of three classes – inland buoy tenders (WLI); river buoy tenders (WLR); and inland construction tenders (WLIC) – in nine different subclasses from 65 to 160 feet in length, and when they are attached with their respective work barges can reach up to 190 feet. They maintain the “aids to navigation” (ATON) system that helps prevent accidents such as collisions, allisions, and groundings. They support the mission between the larger seagoing and coastal buoy tenders and the Coast Guard sector aids to navigation teams and their small boats located throughout country. The current fleet is located in 22 states, spanning a wide range of weather conditions in strong river and tidal currents, and must operate in areas affected by ice, debris, and shoaling. They conduct their missions along the Columbia and Snake Rivers; the Atlantic and Gulf Intracoastal Waterways; the Atchafalaya, Arkansas, Illinois, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Ouachita, Red, and White Rivers, as well as in Alaska and Michigan.
U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO/ PA3 WALTER SHINN
Crew members aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Elderberry, a 65-foot inland buoy tender homeported in Petersburg, Alaska, prepare buoys to be set in the Gastineau Channel.
The inland fleet comprises three basic types. The WLRs service short-range ATON on the western rivers; they set, relocate and recover buoys to mark the navigable channel in the rivers as the water level changes and also establish and maintain fixed aids, lights, and day beacons in their area of responsibility. The WLICs primarily maintain the Intracoastal Waterway marking system along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts as well as major shipping channels in harbors such Houston, New Orleans, Mobile, Charleston, and Miami, where they construct and maintain steel or wood single- and multi-pile structures and navigational ranges. The small WLIs work the Snake and Columbia Rivers; up in the Wrangell Narrows of Alaska; at Sault Ste. Marie in the Great Lakes; in areas prone to shoaling along the North Carolina coast; and in shallower areas that larger buoy tenders can’t access. As important as these ships are, they are old – with an average age of 55 years – and urgently need to be replaced. The job isn’t getting easier. Traffic has increased; commercial tug and barge units have gotten bigger, and more traffic is being conducted at night, so those lighted navigational aids are even more important. The Coast Guard’s answer is the WCC Program, which will provide new vessels capable of buoy tending, pile driving and extraction, tower
construction, and generally supporting maintenance of waterways ATON. The Coast Guard’s Acquisition Directorate is currently examining alternative solutions that will address both obsolescence and modern commercial technology available to meet the inland maritime mission capability requirement. Based on market research, design analysis and trade studies, the WCC program plans to acquire three ship variants, one per mission set. All WCCs will be monohull vessels (self-propelled ships) instead of tug and barge configurations. The new river buoy and inland construction tender configurations will be identical except for their hull lengths, working deck layouts, and deck equipment, including cranes. The program will acquire new inland buoy tenders simultaneously under a different contract. The program released draft specifications for the river buoy and inland construction tenders in October 2019 and top-level requirements for the inland buoy tenders in November 2019. While the specifications and total number of cutters to acquire have yet to be finalized, Aileen Sedmak, WCC program manager, said, “We do have an idea of what that capability needs to have, such as better connectivity over the entire area of responsibility; having mixedgender crews; modern technology and habitability standards; and adequate speed and maneuverability to operate in strong currents, getting in and out of difficult-to-reach areas.” Sedmak said the WCC Program is working under an “accelerated program schedule” to reach initial operational capability by 2025 and full operational capability by 2030.
THE COAST GUARD AIR FLEET Uniquely Coast Guard. Uniquely durable and resilient. BY CRAIG COLLINS
When the Coast Guard announced plans to add a new aircraft to its fleet in December 2018, it was big news: The service was moving from a years-long evaluation of a small unmanned aircraft system (sUAS), launched and recovered from the deck of a National Security Cutter (NSC), into a new phase in which the system would eventually be deployed aboard every Coast Guard NSC. But the news also had a familiar ring to it, for a couple of reasons: The sUAS system, the ScanEagle, was hardly new to the service; it had performed well in evaluations dating back to 2012, when it was first deployed aboard the USCGC Stratton. An 8-foot-long fixed-wing craft with a range of up to 80 miles and endurance of about 20 hours, the ScanEagle is launched from the deck of a vessel by means of pneumatic catapult and lands with the aid of a tailhook. The ScanEagle has proved a valuable asset for the Coast Guard, identifying actionable intelligence and greatly increasing the domain awareness of cutter patrols. In deployments aboard the Stratton from 2016 to 2018, the ScanEagle participated in at-sea interdictions that recovered more than 18,100 kilograms of contraband, with a street value in excess of $289 million. The aircraft also provided overwatch assistance during boardings of several fishing vessels. On the heels of these successes, the Coast Guard has made the ScanEagle a permanent feature aboard the Stratton and plans to outfit four NSCs per year, beginning with the cutters James and Munro, until the NSC fleet is complete in fiscal year 2021. The ScanEagle program also offered an echo of past Coast Guard aircraft acquisitions, in that it didn’t begin with a concept tailored to the Coast Guard’s multimission posture. The ScanEagle’s first and primary users were the U.S. Army, Navy, and Marine Corps; the aircraft was first deployed to perform battlefield reconnaissance during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004. The same is true of many aircraft that have become iconic representations of the Coast Guard. The HC-130 Hercules turboprop airplane, the Coast Guard’s longrange surveillance aircraft, began its service in 1956 as a cargo carrier for the U.S. Air Force. A newer addition to the Coast Guard’s fleet of medium-range aircraft,
Coast Guard OUTLOOK
the HC-27, was originally developed as the Joint Cargo Aircraft to provide the Army and Air Force with shorttakeoff tactical transports. The MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter, the Coast Guard’s medium-range recovery workhorse, is an adaptation of the helicopter that entered service in 1979 as the Army’s Black Hawk and Navy’s Seahawk helicopter. Understandably, the Coast Guard, with a budget equal to just over 1.5 percent of the federal defense budget, doesn’t always celebrate its reputation as the service that finds a way to do more with less. According to Capt. Tom MacDonald, who helps lead aviation acquisitions as the assistant program executive officer for aviation, the Coast Guard isn’t typically the service that sits down with a contractor, writes out its requirements on a whiteboard, and then receives an aircraft tailor-made for its 11 statutory missions – but there’s no denying the service’s knack for innovating solutions uniquely suited to its needs. “We’re very good,” MacDonald said, “at taking DOD [Department of Defense] platforms and adapting them to our mission set.” As Adm. Karl Schultz, commandant of the Coast Guard, pointed out in his first State of the Coast Guard address, it’s a skill set that has been increasingly put to the test, as intensifying global complexities have upped the demand for Coast Guard services while its acquisition budget has remained mostly stagnant. “Coast Guard men and women are doing more and more, in increasingly complex and dangerous environments, with aging platforms and infrastructure,” Schultz said. Still, he remained optimistic that the service “will remain strong, adaptive, and resilient to the challenges ahead.” The people who tend the service’s air fleet share this optimism, and have applied uniquely Coast Guard ways of thinking to both improve and extend the performance of air assets, in many cases transforming 20th century platforms into cutting-edge aircraft that will serve the Coast Guard well into the 2030s.
“MISSIONIZING” THE FIXED-WING FLEET In aviation, one of the clearest examples of a 20th century technology in need of updating is radar
U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO BY PETTY OFFICER 3RD CLASS MATTHEW WEST
– specifically, as a tool for air traffic surveillance. With radar, a ship or plane’s identifying signature is often no more specific than a blip on a screen, and this lack of precision adds to the time and effort it takes for patrol aircraft to identify nearby ships or aircraft, basically by flying close enough to make visual or radio contact. Coast Guard airplanes – like all U.S. aircraft – are in the process of transitioning to a newer surveillance technology called Automatic Dependent SurveillanceBroadcast (ADS-B), in which an aircraft determines its position via GPS satellite and periodically broadcasts its digital signature, enabling it to be tracked through the airspace. The Federal Aviation Administration has required that all aircraft operating in controlled U.S. airspace be equipped with ADS-B Out (i.e., equipped to transmit their signature, if not receive those of other aircraft). The Coast Guard is updating all of its aircraft to communicate via these digital signatures, just one feature that will allow aircrews to communicate and work more seamlessly with a growing number of government and international partners over a wider area. The ability to communicate and share a common operating picture, in real time, is probably the most significant factor distinguishing the Coast Guard’s 21st-century air fleet from previous generations. Each of the Coast Guard’s fixed-wing aircraft is undergoing a suite of modifications and updates that includes the installation of a “missionization” hardware and software package. Jointly developed with the U.S. Navy, this missionization package, called Minotaur, integrates inputs and outputs of the aircraft’s sensors and suite of command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) components. Used across multiple platforms operated by the Departments of
An Air Station Kodiak HC-130J Super Hercules aircrew takes off from Air Station Barbers Point, Hawaii, Oct. 31, 2019.
Defense and Homeland Security, Minotaur allows partners to share a common operating picture as data – aircraft and ship identifying signatures, multimode radar signals and electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) imagery – are collected and shared in real time, allowing operators to identify targets for search and rescue, law enforcement, and intelligence-gathering missions. A simpler way to think about missionization, MacDonald said, is to understand that each of the service’s airplanes comes to the Coast Guard as a sturdy, reliable aircraft capable of flying for a long time in an austere environment – but it’s not yet a Coast Guard asset. “What we need them to be able to do,” he said, “is operate in a maritime environment, and primarily in the search and rescue and law enforcement roles. We obviously use them for other things as well, but for the most part, imagine we’re flying over a big ocean and we need to be able to see what is out there, or find something ... take that information in and then send it out, either to our surface assets or shore-based command center. Those capabilities add up to what we, in a general sense, call missionization.” Here’s a brief look at what’s happening with each of the Coast Guard’s airplanes: The HC-130 Hercules. The Coast Guard received its first C-130 – the aircraft with the longest continuous production of any military aircraft in history, with more than 40 models and variants in service around the world – in 1959. It performs long-range search and rescue, drug interdiction, illegal migrant patrols, and command and control functions.
U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO BY PETTY OFFICER 3RD CLASS ANDREW BARRESI
COAST GUARD PHOTO BY LT. SCOTT HANDLIN
Above: A Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft flies over Fort Adams, May 8, 2018, in Newport, Rhode Island. Left: A Coast Guard C-27J aircrew, assigned to Coast Guard Air Station Sacramento, flies along the California coastline during area familiarization training, Feb. 6, 2018.
The service is in the process of retiring its older HC-130H turboprop aircraft – a version that first flew in 1964 – and acquiring new aircraft that will be missionized into HC-130Js, or “Super Hercules.” The C-130J has more advanced engines, propellers, and digital avionics, and increases the range of the aircraft by 40 percent and its top speed by 15 percent, while decreasing its takeoff distance by 15 percent. The Coast Guard’s unique version of the C-130J is the first in the world to feature a 360-degree surface-search radar. The HC-144 Ocean Sentry. The Coast Guard’s mediumrange surveillance fleet includes 18 Ocean Sentries, used since 2009 for search and rescue, patrol, and transport missions. In 2014, the Coast Guard began a program called Ocean Sentry Refresh, to update the aircraft’s obsolete cockpit avionics suite: the electronics that include the digital displays and computerized flightcontrol, navigation, warning, fuel, and monitoring systems.
The HC-144A’s legacy missionization system, mostly located on a pallet in the aircraft cargo bay, was also in need of replacement. “Fitting the Minotaur system in the back of this 144, and Ocean Sentry Refresh in the front of the aircraft, together makes what we call our HC-144B model, our Bravo model,” said MacDonald. The Coast Guard converted its sixth HC-144B aircraft in October 2019. The C-27 Spartan. The Coast Guard’s original acquisition plan called for a fleet of 36 Ocean Sentries, but Congress, in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2014, directed the service to stop contracting for HC-144s and instead acquire and missionize 14 C-27 Spartan aircraft, to be transferred from the U.S. Air Force. The Ocean Sentry and the Spartan are similarly configured twin-engine turboprops, and will perform similar roles. The C-27s coming into the Coast Guard will require extensive missionization work to allow them to more efficiently complete their primary missions and make them interoperable with other service assets. This work – which will transform the aircraft into HC-27J Coast Guard aircraft – is not yet completed. Six C-27s are now flying out of Air Station Sacramento, said MacDonald, but they are in a baseline configuration. “The missionization process is an extensive modification,” he said, “and requires a significant amount of engineering work to design it, install it, and make sure it is airworthy.”
An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Sector Humboldt Bay conducts hoist training off the coast of Trinidad Head, Jan. 15, 2009.
U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO BY AUX. WILLIAM GREER
THE DOLPHIN AND THE JAYHAWK Coast Guard helicopters are probably the most iconic of the service’s air assets, often seen on the news or in the television show Coast Guard Alaska, hoisting people from the sea or from rooftops. Like all the service’s aviation assets, they’re worked hard and flown for long hours. Both Coast Guard helicopters – the H-65 Dolphin and the H-60 Jayhawk – have been around a long time and have undergone a series of updates and overhauls. The MH-65 Dolphin. Normally stationed ashore, Dolphins are also the primary aircraft flown from the decks of medium- and high-endurance cutters, making them valuable assets for search and rescue, law enforcement, and surveillance. The Coast Guard currently operates a fleet of 98 MH-65 helicopters, which are undergoing an avionics upgrade that will transform them into the “Echo” version, the MH-65E. The H-65A, the “Alpha” version of the helicopter, first flew for the Coast Guard in 1985.
According to Cmdr. Mike Brimblecom, MH-65E platform manager for the Coast Guard’s Office of Aviation Forces, this upgrade is more than an incremental step into the future for the Dolphin. “Ever since the Alpha model,” he said, “all of our gauges are what we call steam gauges – the classic needle-over-the dial, an actual gauge, where you tap the glass to see if it’s working, that type of deal. All of that has been replaced with modern glass cockpits.” The Dolphin Echo will have a “glass cockpit” – four multifunctional displays that can show crew members a variety of information. The Coast Guard began its low-rate initial production of the MH-65E in December 2018. In addition to these avionics upgrades, the Dolphin is undergoing its second service life extension program (SLEP), this time enabling a helicopter that has flown 20,000 hours to fly for an unprecedented total 30,000 hours. The Dolphin’s SLEP replaces five major structural components: the nine-degree frame, canopy, center console floor assembly, floorboards, and side panels. The MH-60 Jayhawk. The first of these mediumrange recovery helicopters began service in the Coast Guard in 1990, aircraft designated as HH-60Js. Coast Guard Jayhawks began an upgrade and conversion program about a decade ago, and those improvements, completed in 2015, have transformed the entire fleet – now a total of 45 operational helicopters – into MH-60Ts. The MH-60T is designed to fly a crew of four up to 300 miles offshore, hoist up to six additional people on
U.S. NAVY PHOTO BY MASS COMMUNICATION SPECIALIST 1ST CLASS RYAN J. BATCHELDER
A U.S. Coast Guard MH-60T Jayhawk lands aboard the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Kidd during Exercise Northern Edge 2019.
board while remaining on-scene for up to 45 minutes, and return to base while maintaining an adequate fuel reserve. The conversion program introduced a number of capabilities similar to the Dolphin’s Echo upgrade, according to Lt. Cmdr. Brooks Crawford, the MH-60 platform manager for the Office of Aviation Services: a glass cockpit, GPS area navigation, upgraded radios, new sensors, terrain-mapping radar, and a more capable, night-vision-compatible searchlight. Equally important, Crawford said, were a number of structural modifications to the HH-60Js, which were nearing the end of their 10,000-hour service lives. “We bought ourselves another 10,000 hours of life,” he said. “Now our current fleet can go to 20,000 hours.” Unlike the other services, the Coast Guard, through its Aviation Logistics Center in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, is in charge of certifying the airworthiness of its own air vehicles. Coast Guard MH-60Ts all have been certified airworthy up to 20,000 hours, Crawford said,
“But it turns out we fly the heck out of our aircraft.” The Jayhawks have flown an average of 16,000 hours each, a fact that leads to the unavoidable question: What happens when they get to 20,000? When the service began considering additional options for service life extension, Crawford said, it began discussions with the manufacturer, Sikorsky, to determine which parts might need replacement as the aircraft neared 20,000 hours. “We found out we don’t actually know,” Crawford said. “No one has gone beyond 20,000 hours before. ... It’s a significant engineering effort, to figure out what to replace, because we don’t know what’s going to be replaced, and we don’t know what it is going to cost – and by the way, the people who made a lot of those parts don’t make them anymore.” The service found another solution, which it had used to replace a pair of Jayhawks lost to crashes several years ago: converting Navy Seahawk helicopters. According to Crawford, the service now operates six Jayhawks converted from Navy hulls that had flown between 4,000 and 11,000 hours. Each conversion, said Crawford, costs about $12 million, compared to the $40 million price tag for a new H-60. “It’s a fraction of the price of a new one,” Crawford said. “This is currently our preferred option for sustaining the Jayhawk fleet.” The Jayhawk’s Navy conversion program and the Dolphin’s 30,000-hour SLEP will take each aircraft into the late 2030s – and then it likely will be time for new rotary-wing platforms. What those platforms will look like, said MacDonald, will be determined primarily by the largest government buyer of helicopters: the Department of Defense, which recently launched discussions about what a Future Vertical Lift “family of systems” – rotary-wing craft that can fly faster, farther, and with seamless interoperability – will look like. “We’re ensuring we are at the table with DOD, and that they understand our requirements,” said MacDonald. “Are we going to be the big voice at the table that drives those requirements? My opinion is that we will be there to get everyone talking about the things we need – but the overall speed and range the DOD offers, what they will ultimately want, will rule the day.” That will be nothing new. But by the time those Future Vertical Lift offerings have entered service in the Coast Guard, they will be – like all the service’s aircraft – unique, multi-mission assets, ready to serve for decades to come.
The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy (WAGB-20) in the ice Oct. 3, 2018, about 715 miles north of Barrow, Alaska, in the Arctic. While Healy is the newest Coast Guard icebreaker, as a medium-duty icebreaker it is not capable of breaking through thick ice as well as Polar Star.
POLAR PRESENCE DEPENDS ON NEW POLAR SECURITY CUTTER In a not too distant past, the Arctic Ocean was a predictably impenetrable ice mass during winter. Today it is neither impenetrable nor predictable. The once solid frozen barrier to the approaches to Americaâ€™s northern border now has large areas of ice-free water for much of the year, inviting shippers
Coast Guard OUTLOOK
attracted by shortcuts between Asia and Europe, fishermen looking to operate farther north, tourists travelling to see the once inaccessible region, and mineral, oil and gas exploration. According to the commander of both U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense
NYXOLYNO CANGEMI/U.S. COAST GUARD
BY EDWARD LUNDQUIST
Command, U.S. Air Force Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy, the far north is a region of strategic importance. “The Arctic is the first line of defense,” he said. O’Shaughnessy said that enforcing a “rules-based international order” is at the forefront of U.S. policy. But the security implications of a warming Arctic are clear: “The U.S. homeland is no longer a sanctuary.” Less ice means more access, which will result in more human activity. And that means the Coast Guard needs an increased presence in both the Arctic and Antarctic regions.
“As the region continues to open, and strategic competition drives more actors to look to the Arctic for economic and geopolitical advantages, the demand for Coast Guard leadership and presence will continue to grow,” states the Coast Guard’s “Arctic Strategic Outlook,” released in April 2019. The strategy calls for three lines of effort. The first is to enhance the capability to operate effectively in a dynamic Arctic. The Coast Guard is already vested with the appropriate missions and authorities, and has developed the appropriate partnerships, but the service recognizes that its capability and capacity to fulfill those missions must be enhanced to uphold American sovereignty and deliver mission excellence. The second line of effort is to strengthen the rules-based order and prevent malign influence in the Arctic. Third, the Coast Guard must innovate and adapt to promote resilience and prosperity.
U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO BY CHIEF PETTY OFFICER DAVID MOSLEY
The Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star, with 75,000 horsepower and its 13,500-ton weight, is guided by its crew to break through Antarctic ice en route to the National Science Foundation’s McMurdo Station, Jan. 15, 2017. The ship, which was designed more than 40 years ago, remains the world’s most powerful non-nuclear icebreaker.
ARCTIC STRATEGIC OUTLOOK
U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO BY PETTY OFFICER 1ST CLASS MATTHEW S. MASASCHI U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO BY CHIEF PETTY OFFICER NICK AMEEN
Above: The Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star sits on blocks in a Vallejo, California, dry dock facility undergoing depot-level maintenance including inspections and repairs to critical cutter components prior to the cutter’s next patrol, April 16, 2018. As activity in the polar regions continues to grow, the Coast Guard maintains its aging icebreaking assets to protect U.S. security, environmental, and economic interests in these regions of the world. Right: Engineers aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star replace a shaft seal while in the Ross Sea near Antarctica on Jan. 16, 2018. The crew of the Seattle-based Polar Star was on deployment to Antarctica in support of Operation Deep Freeze 2018, the U.S. military’s contribution to the National Science Foundationmanaged U.S. Antarctic Program.
According to the strategy, “Each line of effort depends on Partnership, Unity of Effort, and a Culture of Innovation to succeed. Partnership and Unity of Effort, whether it is with NATO allies or with Alaska Native partners, are preconditions for success in the complex, modern Arctic domain. A Culture of Innovation will be needed to overcome not just the technical challenges, but also the political and fiscal challenges to operating in the Arctic.” “In order to prosecute its missions in the Arctic, the Coast Guard must fully understand and operate freely in this vast and unforgiving environment. Effective capability requires sufficient heavy icebreaking vessels, reliable high-latitude communications, and comprehensive Maritime Domain Awareness. In order to respond to crises in the Arctic, our nation must also muster adequate personnel, aviation, and logistics resources in the region. The Coast Guard is the sole
provider and operator of the U.S. polar capable fleet but currently does not have the capability or capacity to assure access in the high latitudes,” the strategy stated. “Closing the gap requires persistent investment in capabilities and capacity for polar operations, including the Polar Security Cutter.” In the Arctic region, the Coast Guard is the lead federal agency for homeland security, safety, and environmental stewardship. But the Alaskan Arctic is vast, sparsely populated, and has little infrastructure. Most communities can only be reached by air, and possibly by boat or barge in the summer months. The winter is long, dark and cold. In order to enhance maritime domain awareness, facilitate governance and promote partnerships to meet security and safety needs in this geo-strategically and economically vital area, the Coast Guard must be present and capable of operating wherever needed.
CHRISTOPHER MICHEL PHOTO VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
The Russian Rosatomflot icebreaker 50 Years of Victory breaking ice in the Arctic in 2015. Near-peer competitors like Russia and China are expanding their icebreaking fleets and Arctic capabilities.
In his annual State of the Coast Guard Address in Los Angeles in March 2019, Commandant of the Coast Guard Adm. Karl Schultz said the Arctic and Antarctic hold vast resources, and aspiring nearpeer competitors – such as China and Russia – are expanding their icebreaker fleets as well as their bases, access, and influence. “My greatest concern for these regions lies with America’s very limited icebreaking fleet. Currently, our nation has only two operational icebreakers – one medium and one heavy. And, our heavy icebreaker, the Polar Star, is 43 years old and well past her service life. Having recently returned from Operation Deep Freeze in Antarctica – the most remote and unforgiving environment on the planet – Polar Star’s crew successfully broke through dozens of miles of ice to resupply our American colleagues and international partners at McMurdo Station – the logistics hub of the U.S. Antarctic program. Without this American presence on the continent, we cede future influence in the region. In the Polar Regions, presence absolutely equals influence! However, our presence is harder to maintain with each passing year. In the midst of her successful deployment, the Polar Star broke her centerline shaft seal due to the stress of ice operations, allowing water to flood into the ship.” Schultz commended the dedication and tenacity of Polar Star’s crew to fix the problem. “Hundreds of miles from the nearest safe port, a joint Coast Guard and Navy dive team braved the icy ocean to apply a patch that slowed the flooding. Meanwhile engineers – immersed in 30-degree bilge water and using specialized tools fabricated onboard, successfully repaired the ship. Every year I observe this type of innovation and dedication to mission excellence from the men and women aboard the Polar Star.” Schultz said this was an example of why the PSC acquisition is so critical to our national security and prosperity in the high latitudes.
“This is not lost on the administration and the United States Congress, who provided the remaining $675 million dollars to fully fund the first Polar Security Cutter and provided the initial long lead materials for the second Polar Security Cutter,” Schultz said. “As we build these new icebreakers, I will continue to advocate for what I call the ‘6-3-1 Approach.’ We need six icebreakers, at least three of which must be Polar Security Cutters, and today, I am proud to say we will award the construction contract this spring  for our first one.”
NEW ICEBREAKER CANNOT ARRIVE TOO SOON “Polar Star, when it’s running with all three engines up on line, and the communications with the computer working, it is an incredible icebreaker,” said Capt. Michael Davanzo, chief of the Office of Cutter Forces. “But it’s very limited in what it can do outside of breaking ice.” To replace the remaining icebreakers, the Coast Guard embarked upon the Polar Icebreaker (PIB) program, but later changed the name to Polar Security Cutter to more accurately describe the multi-mission capability of the ship. The PSC program will update the service’s icebreaking fleet with three new heavy polar icebreakers, followed by up to three new medium polar icebreakers. Davanzo said the new ship must be able to launch and recover boats and aircraft, both manned and unmanned, and perform virtually all of the Coast Guard’s missions, including law enforcement, aids to navigation, search and rescue, marine safety, vessel inspections, living marine resources management, marine security, ports and waterways and coastal security, and national defense. The Navy and Coast Guard have a joint program office to procure the PSC. VT Halter Marine of Pascagoula, Mississippi, has been awarded the contract to design and build the first PSC, with options for two more. The first ship is scheduled for delivery in 2024, with the second in 2025 and third in 2027 if the options are executed. The shipyard’s design partner is Technology Associates, Inc. (TAI) of New Orleans, Louisiana, which based the PSC design on the Polarstern II, a new icebreaker built in Germany for the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research. The PSC will meet the requirements of an International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) “Polar Class
VT HALTER MARINE IMAGE
Artist’s conception of the Polar Security Cutter. 2” vessel, capable of breaking ice between six to eight feet thick, and “able to conduct year-round operations in moderate multi-year ice conditions.” But unlike most icebreakers, it will have to transit from its homeport in Seattle to McMurdo Sound, passing through equatorial waters, and will require extensive cooling systems that most icebreakers don’t need. At 460 feet in length and a full load displacement of about 33,000 long tons, the PSC will be substantially larger than Polar Star (399 feet, 13,000 tons) or Healy (420 feet, 16,000 tons). Healy is an impressive icebreaker – it was the first surface vessel to reach the North Pole unaccompanied – but it is a scientific research platform that also happens to be a medium icebreaker. And while younger than the Polar Sea and Polar Star, it is nevertheless 20 years old. A pressing mission for the new heavy icebreaker will be the job of opening the channel to “break out” McMurdo Sound for the annual resupply – Operation Deep Freeze – at the McMurdo Base in Antarctica. But it will be equally at home in any polar waters. But the PSC won’t be just a more capable Polar Star or Healy. “We’re building a new type of ship,” said Martin Mardiros, Polar Security Cutter Ship Design Manager. “Icebreaking is just getting access to operate and conduct the missions we need.” The remoteness of the Arctic and Antarctic regions requires that the PSC be self-sufficient during mission execution and capable of long transits between logistical stops. In terms of icing, the PSC is expected to encounter first-year ice averaging about 6 feet thick in both the Arctic and Antarctic regions. According to the Arctic Strategic Outlook, “In order to conduct the full range of Coast Guard missions, Coast Guard icebreakers must be fully interoperable with interagency and international stakeholders, including the Department of Defense (DOD), to carry
out national defense operations. Thus, the new PSC will include sufficient space, weight, and power to conduct the full complement of multi-mission activities that support our nation’s current and future needs in the Arctic.” The Department of Defense June 2019 “Arctic Strategy” said that DOD will continue to support the PSC program, as it provides a key capability to ensure interoperability between Coast Guard and Navy vessels and to support U.S. presence in the Arctic region. The Coast Guard’s vision for the Arctic is a cooperative environment that balances the needs and requirements of the region’s diverse group of stakeholders. Speaking at the American Society of Naval Engineers Arctic Day symposium in September, Coast Guard Vice Commandant Adm. Robert Ray stressed the importance of working with, and listening to, the native Alaskan communities. “Anything that we do in the Arctic or Polar regions in general requires a collaborative effort.” Ray pointed to a number of initiatives, such as the Arctic Council, Arctic Coast Guard Forum, and North Pacific Coast Guard Forum, where the U.S. can cooperate with the other nations on matters of mutual interest. But America must have a visible presence of its own. “We are much better off as a nation when we operate in coordination with other nations that have similar interests there,” Ray said. “The center of gravity of what we need to do as an Arctic nation is capability, and capability provides presence,” said Ray. “Diplomacy, governance and regulations – all that is interesting conversation if you don’t have presence in the Arctic region.”
MARINE EXCHANGE OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA A unique public-private partnership ensures safe, secure, and efficient operations at the Los Angeles/Long Beach port complex. BY EDWARD LUNDQUIST
Coast Guard OUTLOOK
HONEST BROKER The efficient operation of the ports and their many terminals relies on information. The exchange’s Maritime Information Service (MIS) collects, collates and promulgates the schedule for all ships arriving, departing and moving inside the ports. The exchange makes available a 24-hour a day data feed to subscribers to manage their operations. The Marine Exchange of Southern California is a 501 C (6) non-profit organization, which operates on user fees, and includes board representation from the various stakeholders in the area, including container ship, break-bulk, tanker, tug and barge, terminal and local passenger operators, as well as pilots, steamship agents, the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, and the maritime law community. The Marine Exchange is a unique public-private partnership, with 20 employees whose salaries are covered by the user fees, and six Coast Guard members. According to the exchange’s director, Kip Louttit a retired Coast Guard captain, the exchange is considered an “honest broker,” and the “trusted maritime information clearinghouse” for providing services and reports about what’s happening in the Southern California area to the waterfront business community and beyond. There are about 50 to 60 ships in the San Pedro port complex on any given day. Speaking at the Maritime Security West conference held at San Pedro in August, Louttit said the port complex had 32 ships calling from 26 different ports over the three days of the conference, including U.S. ports such as Richmond, San Francisco, El Segundo, Honolulu, Seattle, Oakland, Benicia, and Valdez. Ships also called from foreign ports in Brazil, Canada, Germany, China, Japan, Korea, Mexico, and Taiwan.
The Coast Guard Cutter Benjamin Bottoms pulls into the Port of Los Angeles channel toward its homeport at Coast Guard Base Los Angeles-Long Beach in San Pedro, California, March 18, 2019.
COAST GUARD PHOTO BY PETTY OFFICER 1ST CLASS PATRICK KELLEY
The busy seaports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, although seperate operations, are right next to each other, and together they are one of the busiest ports in the world, and North America’s busiest container port. The San Pedro Bay port complex, which includes the two ports, is a busy and special place, according to Coast Guard Capt. Rebecca Ore, deputy commander for Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach. “It’s an incredible concentration of interagency resources. Collaboration is a competitive advantage.” Ship owners have always needed to get their ships into a harbor and quickly discharge and onload cargo so they can get back to sea. In the early says of the port, shippers hired lookouts to serve as runners to alert the ship’s agents and cargo handlers that their ship was standing into the harbor. The ship’s agents, line handlers and stevedores would be waiting at the dock. Time was money, and that information saved time. Runners were later replaced by a service run by the Chamber of Commerce, called the Marine Exchange, to facilitate the efficient management of the ships coming and going. The exchange no longer uses chalkboards, index cards or telescopes. Today it relies on radios, radars, and computers, although there is still a massive set of binoculars in the operations center. Most of all, it relies on partnerships and collaboration, because everyone benefits from the safe, efficient and secure operations of the ports. Today the Marine Exchange of Southern California is located on a hill at Battery Leary/Merriam, a World War I-era harbor defense installation near Point Fermin in what is now Angels Gate Park, with a commanding view of San Pedro Bay and the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. While the bulk of the exchange’s business involves the Los Angeles and Long Beach port complex, it also monitors the traffic for Port Hueneme in Ventura County to the north and San Diego to the south, as well as the Chevron Offshore Petroleum Terminal at El Segundo, and the Naval Weapons Station at Seal Beach.
PHOTO COURTESY PORT OF LONG BEACH
PHOTO COURTESY PORT OF LONG BEACH
Above: The Pier F terminal at the Port of Long Beach. Left: A port pilot boards a ship at the Port of Long Beach.
U.S. Border Patrol (USBP), and Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) working with state and local law enforcement partners. “The ReCoM members work together to leverage resources, assets, capabilities, jurisdictions, and, most importantly, information. Information sharing via partnership is the key to maintaining situational awareness, border and maritime security, and allies in the fight against nefarious maritime activity,” Shimizu said. At the executive level, USCG and CBP/OFO leadership collaborate as committee members for the ReCoM, as well as other forums such as the Area Maritime Security Committee (AMSC) and Port Operations Threat Reduction (POTR) meetings. Arrivals and movement information is used by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)’s Office of Field Operations (OFO) to determine vessel boardings, enforcement actions, timeframes for inspection, and documentation and filing requirements. According to Supervisory CBP Officer Ted Shimizu, a coordinator for the Los Angeles/Long Beach Regional Coordinating Mechanism (ReCoM), interagency collaboration is fostered by participation in the ReCoM, comprised of DHS core component agencies with a stake in maritime enforcement (USCG, CBP/OFO, the
SAFE NAVIGATION The exchange serves another vital function – the vessel traffic service (VTS) – that ensures safe navigation in and out of the ports. Using a sensor network that includes eight radars, cameras, and nine Automatic Identification System (AIS) receivers, covers from Moro Bay down to San Diego and looks 100 miles out to sea, the VTS ensures all vessels can transit the water safely. AIS is an electronic vessel and shore-based transponder system to help oceangoing ships to avoid collisions, but is also useful in monitoring the
PHOTOS COURTESY OF MARINE EXCHANGE OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
VTS specialists and Coast Guard personnel in the Marine Exchange make sure vessels are moving safely and smoothly.
maritime domain and managing major port operations. AIS transmits information such as vessel name, call sign, position, course and speed, and destination. “The radar also helps us detect and track contacts that are not using AIS,” Louttit said. The impetus for the VTS in Los Angeles and Long Beach was the Exxon Valdez grounding and oil spill in 1989. The Ports and Waterways Safety Act (PWSA) authorizes the U.S. Coast Guard to establish vessel traffic service/ separation schemes (VTSS) for ports, harbors, and other waters subject to congested vessel traffic. There are 12 VTS systems in major port areas around the U.S., and all are government run with the exception of the Southern California operation. The VTS gets its authority from the Ports and Waterways Safety Act, via the Coast Guard Captain of the Port (COTP). Under this unique arrangement, the Marine Exchange VTS watch includes both Marine Exchange civilians and a Coast Guard member with the authority to represent the COTP. “The Coast Guard members bring recent fleet and Coast Guard command center experience to the VTS, so we get the best features of both workforces working together,” said Louttit. The exchange also helps the COTP and other stakeholders maintain maritime domain awareness across Southern California waters and ensure the safe, secure, efficient, reliable, and environmentally sound movement of vessels.
And the traffic can be busy. There are about 4,500 ship arrivals into the port complex in any given year, which averages to about 13 per day, and with departures that roughly translates to a major movement every hour. But, of course, it isn’t that simple, because Louttit said their job is to move the commerce when the commerce wants to move, with surges in the morning and afternoon. “There’s a line of ships in the morning coming down from the northwest at the end of their Great Circle route from Asia, coming into the port complex,” he said. “They want to come in between 3 and 4 a.m. so they can tie up, clear customs, and open hatches and be ready to move cargo when the longshoremen report to work at 8 a.m.” Very large crude carriers are coming into Long Beach with just a meter of water under the keel. “Evergreen will be bringing in ships that are so tall that we can’t turn them around in the turning basin, so we will have to turn them around in the outer harbor and back them down to their berth. The largest passenger ships are already doing this. This creates additional challenges for the pilots, tugboats, for the law enforcement escorts, and everyone involved in a complicated move,” said Louttit. The main channel at Los Angeles is dredged to 81 feet, where the Long Beach channel is dredged to 76 feet. Both ports handle crude oil tankers, but the biggest ones call at Long Beach because that’s where the VLCC berth is located. Three wave buoys are installed out to sea that
provide current and wave height and direction, and have sophisticated computer models to provide wave forecasts to help bring in the deeper draft tankers. The number of foreign tankers is decreasing because there is more domestic crude oil available. There is a new route from North Dakota to Portland by pipeline and then comes down by barge. “That traffic didn’t even exist six years ago,” Louttit said.
PHOTO COURTESY OF MARINE EXCHANGE OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
PORT PARTNERS “The accurate and timely information provided by the Marine Exchange is essential to the Port of Long Beach’s operational excellence,” said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero. “The exchange’s planning and coordination services contribute significantly to the supply chain’s ability to move more than $200 billion worth of goods through our port alone each year.” The shared information contributes to the secure, safe and efficient operation of the entire port complex. “The Marine Exchange is a critical complement to our technical security program, significantly bolstering our domain awareness through their network of programs, partnerships and sensors,” said Casey Hehr, director of security for the Port of Long Beach. The pilots who guide the ships in and out of port agree. “Their knowledgeable and highly trained staff ensure the orderly flow of our port traffic,” said Capt. Craig Flinn, chief port pilot for the Port of Los Angeles. “If we experience any kind of ship problem, like an engineering or steering casualty, they’re the first people we call, because we know that they will inform everyone who has need to know, from the U.S. Coast Guard to the surrounding vessel traffic, which allows us to focus on safely piloting the ship. It is a great example of a successful public-private partnership.”
During a visit from city council members, CG VTS Director OSC Casey Robert describes duties of Vessel Traffic Service watchstanders and the equipment used while Coast Guard officers from CG Sector LA/LB and the Marine Exchange general manager look on. This is the only VTS in the country that operates as a public/ private partnership between the Coast Guard and a private firm.
Flinn said the Marine Exchange staff is very knowledgeable and experienced. “They have the Coast Guard presence, so we have that direct connection.” Flinn said he has attended professional pilot meetings and listened to the woes that some of them have at their ports. “I haven’t seen any other port that works so well.” Capt. Tom Jacobsen, president and CEO of Jacobsen Pilot Services and a member of the exchange’s board of directors, said the exchange organizes the ship movements outside the breakwater to help the pilots bring the ships into port in a logical manner. “We’ve been involved with the Marine Exchange for years. They’re the secret sauce for pulling people together to improve safety and efficiency,” Jacobsen said. “It provides a forum so we can talk to all the key players that we have to contact and operate with every day.” The exchange assists with the enforcement and compliance role for all state regulatory issues in the movement and monitoring of vessels, and works closely with agencies such as the Office of Spill Prevention and Response of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. There are occasional crisis situations, too, such as a plane crash in the outer harbor that required the establishment of an exclusion zone, and ships needing to be routed in and out of the ports along alternate routes. But as important as the Marine Exchange is, Louttit said most people still don’t know what it really is. “We get people once a week stopping by to buy Marine Corps uniforms.”
MARITIME LAW ENFORCEMENT IS A TEAM SPORT The Coast Guard works with partners to protect the nation BY EDWARD LUNDQUIST
The U.S. Coast Guard is a unique branch of the nation’s five armed services that serves as the nation’s premier maritime law enforcement agency, with authorities, capabilities, competencies, and partnerships to successfully execute the mission. The Coast Guard is the lead and only federal maritime law enforcement agency with both the authority and capability to enforce national and international law, including drug interdiction, on the high seas. Speaking before Congress in March 2019, Commandant of the Coast Guard Adm. Karl Schultz said that the “Coast Guard plays a critical role in a comprehensive approach to securing our borders – from disrupting drug trafficking and illegal immigration in the southern transit zones, to projecting sovereignty across the globe. Our nation’s maritime borders are vast, and include one of the largest systems of ports, waterways, and critical maritime infrastructure in the world, including 95,000 miles of coastline.” As part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) layered security strategy, Schultz said the Coast Guard pushes out our nation’s border, and serves as the “offense” in a comprehensive approach to a layered border security strategy. “Through the interdiction of illicit drugs and the detention of suspected drug smugglers, the Coast Guard disrupts TCO [Transnational Criminal Organizations] networks at sea, over a thousand miles from our shore, where they are most vulnerable. Coast Guard maritime interdictions weaken the TCOs who destabilize our immediate neighbor Mexico, the Central American land corridor, and South American countries. Our interdiction efforts minimize corruption and create space for effective governance to exist. Coast Guard interdiction efforts reduce the “push factors” that are responsible for driving migration to our Southwest land border.” Partnerships at all levels are essential in maritime law enforcement, especially when combating TCOs and international smuggling operations. According to Coast Guard Rear Adm. Pat DeQuattro, director of Joint Interagency Task Force South (JIATF-South), his organization has a longstanding partnership with the Coast Guard and Navy. “We work together, and with our international partners, as we share a common cause in combating criminal drug traffickers that threaten global security and prosperity.” JIATF-South detects and monitors illicit trafficking that occurs through international air and waters in the Western Hemisphere. “This targeting
Coast Guard OUTLOOK
Cyclone-class patrol coastal USS Zephyr (PC 8) crew conducts ship-to-ship firefighting to extinguish a fire aboard a low-profile go-fast drug vessel suspected of smuggling in international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean. Zephyr and an embarked U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment intercepted the low-profile go-fast vessel during a routine patrol in U.S. 4th Fleet area of operations. They detained four smugglers and seized approximately 1,080 kilograms of cocaine during the seizure.
U.S. CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION PHOTO
information allows our partners to better synchronize sea and air fleets to maximize the use of their resources. In fiscal year 2019, our partnerships significantly contributed to the seizure and disruption of 280 metric tons of cocaine from reaching the United States,” said DeQuattro. “This equates to over 1,900 US citizens’ lives saved from overdoses and more than $5 billion denied to drug trafficking organizations.” DeQuattro said the Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachments (LEDETs) and the U.S Navy play a critical role in these successes. “The unique partnerships that exist in JIATF-South – between the Coast Guard, Navy,
and all our partners across the globe – play a pivotal role in our national and global security now and into the future.”
INFORMATION HUB JIATF-South serves as an interagency and international information hub to detect and monitor illicit trafficking in the southern approaches to the U.S., specifically in the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific. Campaign Martillo is the overarching umbrella that brings these different entities together to perform that
U.S. NAVY PHOTO BY MASS COMMUNICATION SPECIALIST 2ND CLASS DEVIN BOWSER U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO
Left: A suspected smuggler, who jumped from his burning vessel, is pulled aboard an interceptor boat from the Cyclone-class coastal patrol ship USS Zephyr (PC 8) by members of the U.S. Coast Guard and Navy in international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean on April 7, 2018. Right: Coast Guardsmen, assigned to Tactical Law Enforcement Team-South, use a rigid-hull inflatable boat (RHIB) to return to the Freedom-class littoral combat ship USS Detroit (LCS 7).
detection and monitoring operation to facilitate and monitor interdictions. JIATF-South is the hub. “Everything we do here starts with information,” said Army Lt. Col. Andrew Ajamian, the chief of the JIATFSouth Strategic Initiatives Group. JIATF-South has a statutorily based mission under Title 10 C.F.R. § 124, and while it does not have legal authority under this title to interdict, detain, or apprehend suspected smugglers, the Coast Guard – under its Title 14 authorities – and various entities in partner nations in the region do. All of the military services, both active and reserve components, provide staff, along with a number of the U.S. “three letter agencies” involved with intelligence, law enforcement, and national security. “Each representative has the ability to reach back to their nation or agency,” said Ajamian. “No agency is required to be here. They are here because they know the partnership works.” JIATF-South also has embedded employees downrange in embassies and consulates. The multinational effort
benefits from the Coast Guard’s extensive array of bilateral and multilateral agreements with nearly every coastal state in the Western Hemisphere. JIATF-South has representation from 20 partner nations, and Ajamian said the Latin American countries are doing their part for Campaign Martillo. Although their contributing assets vary, Ajamian said JIATF-South works with DOD, the Coast Guard, and partner nations to facilitate interdiction. “We find and monitor targets until such time that we can turn [them] over to [a] partner nation or the Coast Guard. The JIATFSouth Joint Operations Center provides command and control of forces allocated to us. We may have a CBP aircraft tracking a target that we intercept with a U.S. Navy ship, with an embarked Coast Guard LEDET that conducts the actual boarding. The LEDETs are trained in maritime law, rights of suspects, rules of evidence and chain of custody. So it’s a team effort.” The smugglers are creative, Ajamian said. “They find new ways to move their drugs every day.” That includes all types of aircraft and a wide variety of vessels, ranging from innocent-looking fishing and sailboats to custom semi-submersibles and submersible vessels that are extremely difficult to see or detect with radar. “Our goal is to interdict these shipments before they can arrive at a location where they can be divided up into many smaller shipments and thus much harder to stop,” said Ajamian. Ajamian said JIATF-South also works closely with its counterparts at JIATF-West in Honolulu. “We hand off traffic going across [the] Pacific. We also have a liaison officer at the Maritime and Air Operations Center in
Lisbon, Portugal, for targets that are crossing the Atlantic and heading to Europe.” The Posse Comitatus Act and department policy strictly prohibit DOD personnel from directly engaging in law enforcement activities. Coast Guard LEDETs operating aboard United States Navy ships team to investigate contacts and conduct boardings in accordance with Coast Guard policy and directives., as well as P.L. 99-570 and P.L. 100-456 , which directs LEDETs to deploy aboard U.S. Navy “ships of opportunity,” transiting or operating in areas frequently used by illegal drug traffickers.
U.S. NAVY PHOTO BY MASS COMMUNICATION SPECIALIST 3RD CLASS LOUIS THOMPSON STAATS IV
LAW ENFORCEMENT DETACHMENTS Campaign Martillo is the multinational anti-smuggling operation off Central and South America, and the Navy has deployed ships with embarked Coast Guard LEDETs for that specific assignment, and together they have conducted many successful interdictions. The Coast Guard’s “Western Hemisphere Strategy” emphasizes the priority to have an increased presence in the Eastern Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Basin, which are known drug transit zones off of Central and South America. That includes the new platforms such as the 418-foot Legend-class national security cutter and the 154-foot Sentinel-class fast response cutter, which are better suited for the mission than the ships they have replaced. New assets are proving increasingly effective in this fight. The National Security Cutter USCGC Stratton deployed in 2018 in support of JIATF-South with an embarked small unmanned aircraft system (sUAS), which greatly expanded detection radius and provided persistent and cover presence until the Coast Guard boarding party arrived on scene. The imagery from the sUAS provided situational awareness to prepare the
Sailors and Coast Guardsmen prepare to launch a rigid-hull inflatable boat (RHIB) aboard the Cyclone-class coastal patrol ship USS Tornado (PC 14) while off the coast of Panama City, Panama. Tornado was underway in support of Campaign Martillo, a joint operation with the U.S. Coast Guard and partner nations within the U.S. 4th Fleet area of operations.
boarding and helicopter teams, and to monitor the interdiction from the ship. Stratton removed nearly nine metric tons of cocaine and apprehended 23 suspected smugglers as a direct result of their sUAS capability. The Navy ships have served to augment the presence of the Coast Guard cutters. While Navy crews are trained for Visit, Board, Search, and Seizure (VBSS) operations, they look to the Coast Guard for law enforcement missions. The Navy regularly deployed Oliver Hazard Perryclass frigates to support counter-narcotics operations in U.S. Southern Command until 2015, when the last of these ships was retired. Today, some of that presence is provided by the smaller 179-foot Cyclone-class coastal patrol ships (PCs). The Navy’s littoral combat ship (LCS) is also well suited to support LEDET operations. The USS Detroit deployment to the Caribbean brings her high speed and manned and unmanned aircraft to the fight. An excellent example of operational teamwork is an interdiction that took place in April 2018, when crews from a Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations (AMO) P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft, the U.S. Navy’s USS Zephyr (PC 8) with a Coast Guard LEDET embarked aboard, and the Colombian navy ship ARC 07 de Agosto intercepted a low-profile go-fast vessel and seized more than 1,000 kilograms of cocaine in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.
U.S. NAVY PHOTO BY MASS COMMUNICATIONS SPECIALIST 2ND CLASS WILLIAM COLLINS III
During a routine patrol the AMO P-3 aircrew detected a low-profile vessel traveling at a high rate of speed and reported the contact to JIATF-South, which then vectored Zephyr to intercept. When the smugglers realized they had been discovered, they began dumping their cargo of cocaine and set their vessel on fire, then jumped into the water. The Coast Guard LEDET launched a high-speed boat from Zephyr that interdicted the vessel, picked up the four suspected smugglers, and transferred them to the Zephyr, which then came alongside to extinguish the fire. 07 de Agosto arrived to work with the Coast Guard law enforcement team, along with members from both Maritime Safety and Security Team 91112 based in New Orleans, and the Pacific Tactical Law Enforcement Team based in San Diego, to document the case. Coast Guard LEDETs have operated with Navy ships in other parts of the world, too. The U.S. Africa Command-sponsored African Maritime Law Enforcement Partnership (AMLEP) pairs a U.S. Coast Guard law enforcement detachment (LEDET) with partner nation maritime forces and interagency personnel to execute combined law enforcement operations. The U.S. boarding teams operated from partner nation vessels to identify suspect vessels or escort vessels that have been cited for illicit and criminal activities. Coast Guard teams also embark Navy ships to conduct fisheries inspections within the U.S. exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and the waters of Pacific Island nations that don’t have the resources to adequately patrol their waters. The Oceania Maritime Security Initiative (OMSI) program is a Secretary of Defense program leveraging DOD assets transiting the region to increase the Coast Guard’s maritime domain awareness, ultimately supporting its maritime law enforcement operations in Oceania.
A U.S. Coast Guardsman assigned to Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment 107, embarked aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Shoup (DDG 86), takes a picture of a fishing vessel during the Oceania Maritime Security Initiative (OMSI) program in the western Pacific Ocean, Oct. 21, 2018.
According to Cmdr. Joseph Meuse, the commanding officer of Tactical Law Enforcement Team South (TACLET South), the Coast Guard and the Navy have worked together as long as both services have been around. “There is no better example of our ability to work as teammates than when we deploy specialized Coast Guard law enforcement teams to Navy ships,” Meuse said. “The Navy offers a premier afloat capability while the Coast Guard provides a unique law enforcement capability. The result of this unique partnership is safe and successful interdictions of bulk contraband on the high seas where we disrupt and destabilize transnational criminal organizations, which also alleviates pressure on our southern border.” Commander U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S 4th Fleet Rear Adm. Don Gabrielson said the Navy and Coast Guard operate as one team. “Our Navy and Coast Guard have a long, comfortable working relationship that leverages each service’s inherent authorities and capabilities alongside many partner nations in order to enhance our national security at sea. Every day, these dedicated warriors serve in high-risk environments, ashore, on the water and in the air, without fanfare, doing dangerous work that keeps billions of dollars and thousands of tons of illegal substances off the streets,” said Gabrielson. “We can be deeply proud of and grateful for their selfless service.”
A LEG UP FOR COAST GUARD CIVILIANS The new Civilian Career Management Team BY CRAIG COLLINS
It didn’t take long for Dana Tulis to become a leader. With a degree in environmental engineering, she began her career with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1987, and her superiors immediately recognized her gift for managing and directing. Within five years, she was overseeing the work of others. After the 9/11 attacks, Tulis, a native New Yorker, was tapped to lead the sampling and analysis work involved in the World Trade Center response, and her performance there eventually led to her elevation into the Senior Executive Service (SES): the upper echelon of civilian government leadership, a classification equivalent to the general or flag officer ranks of the armed services. The SES was formed in 1979 to be a corps of executives, selected for their leadership abilities, to serve in key positions just below the top presidential appointees. Tulis rose to the level of senior executive in 2004, and as both deputy office director and acting director of the EPA’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM), she managed a $250 million budget, oversaw a staff of 75 people, and chaired the 15-agency National Response Team. In 2010, when the offshore drilling rig Deepwater Horizon exploded, caught fire, and caused a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, she was EPA’s National Incident Coordinator, working closely with the Federal On-Scene Coordinator (FOSC) for the response: the Coast Guard. During these high-stakes interactions, she and the Coast Guard developed a mutual respect, and soon after Deepwater Horizon, the Coast Guard formed its own high-level position, a single individual in charge of coordinating emergency response and preparedness. Since 2016, that position has been held by Tulis, director of the Coast Guard’s Incident Management and Preparedness Policy. “I love the Coast Guard mission,” she said. “It’s what attracted me to the job. I’ve learned so much and I get to pursue my passion, environmental response, at a new agency while protecting the oceans. It seemed like a natural transition.” While she was pursuing the same mission in the Coast Guard, Tulis learned that the uniformed service, formed in 1790 at the urging of Alexander Hamilton, had an institutional culture driven largely by the service’s
Coast Guard OUTLOOK
41,000 active-duty members, rich in tradition and heritage – and remarkably different from the culture of the EPA, a civilian agency established in 1970 by order of Richard Nixon. As one of the highest-ranking of the Coast Guard’s 8,500 civilian personnel, Tulis sensed that career opportunities, paths to development and promotion into the leadership ranks, were far less clearly defined for civilians – or at least far less clearly publicized and made available – than for the service’s active-duty personnel. But Tulis also knew she had joined an organization committed to becoming a welcoming, inclusive, and rewarding place to work, for civilian and uniformed personnel alike. Both Coast Guard commandants for whom she has served – Adm. Karl Schultz and his predecessor, Adm. Paul Zukunft – have explicitly stated a desire to make the service an “employer of choice” for the nation’s most talented people. The Coast Guard did hire the best people, Tulis thought – people so good at their jobs that their performance sometimes didn’t match to their station within the General Schedule. “I had international experts working for me who were at a GS-13 level,” she said, “and I thought they would be GS-15s at EPA, with that level of technical expertise.” She and other civilian executives also wanted to create a pathway for supporting and encouraging SES candidates from within the Coast Guard’s own workforce. Knowing the service’s leaders were open to hearing from and responding to civilian employees, Tulis teamed with SES civilians in the service’s Force Readiness Command (FORCECOM) and the International Office to form a civilian advisory council that met periodically with Coast Guard flag officers. “We got civilians to start talking about their experiences,” she said, “and I think it really started to hit home.” The issue of civilian career development certainly had the attention of the new commandant, Schultz, when he began his tenure and outlined his guiding principles in June 2019. With service readiness a top priority, Schultz announced a series of “Early Action Items” he wanted achieved within the first months of his tenure. One of these items was the formation of a distinct
Jason E. Morris, a search and rescue coordinator at Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg, Florida, coordinates a search and rescue case in the command center at the sector, Jan. 22, 2015, working alongside reserve and active-duty military members as a part of the more than 8,500 civilians in the Coast Guard workforce.
office within FORCECOM led by civilians – the first organization within the service dedicated solely to the issue of civilian career development.
U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO BY CHIEF PETTY OFFICER CRYSTALLYN A. KNEEN
THE CIVILIAN CAREER MANAGEMENT TEAM To lead this new team, the Coast Guard turned to a civilian with military experience: Stephen Keck, a strategic planner at FORCECOM who had served 26 years in the Army providing training and exercise support to active-duty and Reserve personnel. Before retiring from the military, Keck was responsible for overseeing the work of career counselors who helped guide and advise 16,500 reservists. Keck was named director of the new Civilian Career Management Team (CCMT) in December 2018, and promptly began digging into the issue of civilian Coast Guard careers. He found survey results indicating civilian Coast Guard employees were very happy with their work and with the Coast Guard – but many shared Tulis’s sense that the service’s civilians could benefit from opportunities for advancement and career development. Those opportunities, Keck knew, existed; the Coast Guard offered numerous professional development programs for civilians. Aside from the issue of whether they offered enough to civilians in particular, Keck thought, a significant problem was that surprisingly few Coast Guard civilians knew about these initiatives. “The communication of them, the way we reached out to civilians, was antiquated,” he said. “We saw that these opportunities do exist, but there is just no good way for civilians to find out where and when they happen, and to learn more about them.”
U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO BY PETTY OFFICER 2ND CLASS LISA FERDINANDO
Coast Guard Incident Management and Preparedness Policy Director Dana Tulis (center) looks on as boat owner Kendrick Bragg and Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Travis Rogers, with the Hurricane Maria ESF-10 Puerto Rico response, exchange greetings. Salvage crews working in support of the unified command had refloated Bragg’s boat, which had been grounded during Hurricane Maria, Las Croabas, Puerto Rico, Dec. 13, 2017.
One of the team’s first actions was to create an internal online portal specifically targeting Coast Guard civilians to help them find, learn more about, and sign up for opportunities. The site includes information about details and rotations. “We wanted to put it all in one place so civilians had somewhere to discover where there was upward mobility, and the tools to develop and manage their careers.” Keck and his teammates are working to add a tool to the portal that will allow employees to enter their job information and get specific information about what would be needed for them to rise to another GS level. A GS-7 accountant, for example, could map out pathways to higher levels, learning what education, training, and certifications will be required to move on to the next level. “We’re going to provide a career map so that they can plug in their current grade and rank structure, and
it will show them: Here is a recommended path and the recommended training that you should have in order to make your next promotion, your next promotion, and your next promotion.” From that career map, people will be able to link up with the opportunities to meet these requirements. An online portal is an important starting point, but as with any organization, the best way to grow a career in the Coast Guard is to meet, interact with, and learn from other people. The CCMT has begun to sponsor town hall-style meetings in which they offer training, networking, and development opportunities to Coast Guard civilians. These events are held in the areas that together contain about 60 percent of Coast Guard civilian personnel: facilities in and around Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C.; Atlantic Area (LantArea) Headquarters in Portsmouth, Virginia; and Pacific Area (PACAREA) Headquarters in Alameda, California.
GUARDIANS OF INSTITUTIONAL KNOWLEDGE Tulis and Keck – both transplants from other government agencies – understand the value civilian personnel bring to the Coast Guard. “There is an expertise that civilians can offer that military personnel can’t,” Tulis said, “because of the way uniformed personnel rotate every two to four years.” Within directorates and
U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO BY PETTY OFFICER 3RD CLASS ASHLEY JOHNSON
Robert Hutchinson and Kevin T. Coyne, civilian search and rescue coordinators at Sector St. Petersburg, Florida, create a search plan at the sector, Dec. 17, 2014.
offices, civilians can offer an anchor, a stable source of knowledge and institutional memory. “The role of the civilian is critical,” Keck said. In the three years he’s been at FORCECOM, it’s been commanded by three different admirals. But Dr. Gladys Brignoni, FORCECOM’s deputy commander and the Coast Guard’s chief learning officer, is a civilian who has been at the command since 2011. “Because of that,” Keck said, “she has the institutional knowledge, the understanding of where and when and how other decisions have been made. She can help the new commanders who come in. ... We’re there to provide continuity across the Coast Guard, in all different areas.” At the same time, both Tulis and Keck see themselves as needing the Coast Guard as much as it needs them. After long and successful careers with
other agencies, each came to the Coast Guard with a sense of awe and admiration for all the service has done and continues to do for the nation. For them, the Coast Guard is the employer of choice – and they remain passionate and tireless in their desire to make it so for others. Now that he leads the efforts of the Civilian Career Management Team, Keck enjoys being able to help civilians develop their Coast Guard careers and find paths to promotion and certification, but he also wants to engage other civilians – those with no prior Coast Guard experience – and spread the word about the service’s legacy and traditions. The CCMT recently launched an acculturation program, in which civil servants learn about the history of the Coast Guard and its rates and ranks, and are offered a tour of a Coast Guard cutter or aircraft. Keck hopes learning about the Coast Guard will be as eye-opening for participants as it was for him: “I never knew about the 11 missions, or any of that. I had no idea of all the Coast Guard does. It was mind-blowing, and I’ve completely fallen in love. And to be able to be part of it now – I’m just really grateful.”
UPDATING IT INFRASTRUCTURE BY J.R. WILSON
To support its multiple operational duties – law enforcement, aids to navigation, icebreaking, overseas military support to the Department of Defense (DOD) when requested, etc. – the U.S. Coast Guard provides IT support to 823 global sites and more than 87,000 users. However, recent assessments by both the U.S. Coast Guard and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) have determined this infrastructure – both IT and the physical facilities housing it – is critically outdated and in need of restructuring and improved security. As the principal federal agency responsible for maritime safety, security, and environmental stewardship in U.S. ports and waterways, the Coast Guard protects and defends more than 100,000 miles of U.S. coastline and inland waterways. It also safeguards the largest Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the world, encompassing 4.5 million square miles stretching across nine time zones, from north of the Arctic Circle to south of the equator, from Puerto Rico to Guam. The size and complexity of the Coast Guard’s mandate makes a top-of-the-line IT infrastructure critical. The service’s “Coast Guard Strategic Plan 2018-2022” calls for greater cyber strength and efficient IT infrastructure, which has led to a request for sources in an apparent move to contract private industry support for cybersecurity and network optimization as part of an Infrastructure Managed Services approach. “The security environment is also affected by the rising importance of the cyber domain – where adversarial nation-states, non-state actors, and individuals are attacking our digital infrastructure and eroding the protections historically provided by our geographic borders,” the Strategic Plan states. “USCG recognizes it must partner with industry,” the request confirmed. Maritime cybersecurity is the third of six strategic priorities in the plan. “Cybersecurity is one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation,” according to the Coast Guard. “Government systems encounter a mounting array of emerging cyber threats that could severely compromise the Coast Guard’s ability to perform its essential missions. These growing threats also pose significant risks to our nation’s Maritime
Coast Guard OUTLOOK
Transportation System and critical infrastructure. With over 90 percent of the nation’s goods moving via increasingly networked maritime conveyance, preserving cybersecurity is essential to overall safety, security and effectiveness.” The Strategic Plan sees the Coast Guard as a vital part of the nation’s national defense effort against transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) and other malicious nonstate actors that erode maritime governance, the rule of law, and regional stability. It also recognizes the Coast Guard’s role in confronting what it calls “the return to great-power competition,” in which rival powers, primarily China and Russia, exploit pockets of weakness to challenge “rules-based international order through inter-state aggression, economic coercion, maritime hybrid warfare, gray zone activities, and overreaching territorial claims.” Central to all of that is the rising importance of the cyber domain and attacks by TCOs, adversarial nation-states, and even individuals on America’s digital infrastructure. “At the stroke of a key, rivals in remote regions of the world can attack, disable, and alter our critical infrastructure and financial networks. These bad actors can unleash volatile malware that could have devastating consequences worldwide. While improved interconnectivity expands our capabilities, we must be wary of the corresponding increase in risk,” the plan warns. “Rapid technological advancements are changing the character of maritime operations. The accelerating pace of innovation manifests itself through increasingly complex vessels, high traffic volumes, and greater demands on the Marine Transportation System (MTS). “Our ability to set and enforce effective standards that advance maritime safety and environmental stewardship must keep pace with rapid technology application in the afloat, ashore, and cyber elements of the MTS,” the plan states. “Aging surface and aviation assets, as well as antiquated shore- and information-technology infrastructure, challenge our operational readiness. While we are working to recapitalize essential assets, we also require the resources to sustain and operate them.” Part of this effort will involve moving parts of USCG IT data to the cloud. Toward that end, the Coast Guard is
U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO BY PETTY OFFICER 3RD CLASS ANDREW BARRESI
U.S. Coast Guard Chief Warrant Officer DeAnna Melleby, Information Systems Security Officer for the Coast Guard Command, Control, Communication and Information Technology unit at Coast Guard Base Boston, peers through a space in a server April 20, 2017. Melleby and her team have a number of countermeasures they use to keep the Coast Guard computer network secure.
closely monitoring DOD’s $10 billion, up-to-10-year Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud contract with Microsoft. Despite its size, JEDI is only one of several contracts DOD has let or is competing for cloud-based support for its massive IT requirements. For example, in August 2019, DOD and the General Services Administration awarded a $7.6 billion contract to General Dynamics Information Technology for another cloud project, Defense Enterprise Office Solutions (DEOS), for email, collaboration, and other office services, relying on Microsoft’s Office 365 cloud platform. While the Coast Guard is part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), not DOD, it shares many of the same IT issues and requirements. Thus any successes DOD has with JEDI are likely to have a major influence on the Coast Guard’s IT cloud migration effort. An IT managed services provider typically handles such functions as: • Software – production support and maintenance • Authentication
• Systems management • Data backup and recovery • Data storage, warehouse, and management • Network monitoring, management, and security • Human resources and payroll Moving these operations to the cloud not only reduces the number of points of access an adversary could exploit, but provides a single point of access for authorized users and enables faster integration of data. However, a single point of access also can be a fatal flaw if not properly – and extensively – secured. In its 2019 report “Reducing Risk in Cloud Migrations,” Centrify Corp., proponent of Zero Trust Privilege (“never trust, always verify, enforce least privilege”), said “just enough, just in time” access to IT infrastructure, from physical terrestrial components to the cloud, is a mandatory part of maintaining security. “As the enterprise threatscape expands, organizations are faced with new challenges to secure modern attack surfaces, and this report makes it clear that the cloud is no exception,” Centrify CEO Tim Steinkopf stated in a press release about the report. “We know that 80 percent of data breaches involve privileged access abuse, so it’s critical that organizations understand what they are responsible for when it comes to cloud security and take a least privilege approach to controlling privileged access to cloud environments. Too much access and privilege puts their workloads and data at risk.” While moving a major part of its IT operations to the cloud will resolve many problems – while raising some
COAST GUARD PHOTO BY ERIC D. WOODALL
A Coast Guardsman demonstrates the capabilities of electronics on the bridge of Coast Guard Cutter Paul Clark at Base Miami Beach in Miami, Florida on Jan. 11, 2017. The Coast Guard Cutter Paul Clark is a Sentinel-Class Fast Response Cutter. While 21st century assets are far more capable, they are also dependent upon C4I systems that must be secured against cyber attack.
new ones – for the foreseeable future, the bulk of the Coast Guard’s IT operations will remain housed within its ground-based infrastructure. That means that, in addition to upgrading and restructuring its IT, the service also must make sure the physical structures housing that infrastructure are secure, not only from cyber attack, but from storm damage and the deleterious effects of aging. A February 2019 GAO report found the Coast Guard’s $18 billion portfolio of shore infrastructure is deteriorating, with almost half of it past its service life. The report cited Coast Guard data that it would cost at least $2.6 billion to address maintenance and recapitalization project backlogs, but that hundreds of projects had not been factored into those estimates. As a component of DHS, the Coast Guard also is subject to DHS-wide efforts to upgrade, restructure, and improve the security of IT, both internally and as part of DHS overall. Following GAO recommendations, DHS developed and implemented a department-wide process to facilitate data sharing and coordination among its various agencies that conduct or require vulnerability assessments. That included pilot projects to expand access to its IP (Infrastructure Protection) Gateway portal, which houses infrastructure data. In September 2017, DHS reported the Coast Guard had used the IP Gateway more than 200 times to access assessment-related information in a proof-of-concept in using the IP Gateway to share assessment information and help minimize the risk of potential duplication and gaps in vulnerability assessments. While the GAO found the Coast Guard has taken initial steps toward improving how it manages its shore
infrastructure, including conducting an initial assessment of shore infrastructure vulnerabilities, it also found the Coast Guard has not fully applied leading practices and key risk management steps in managing that infrastructure. In the February 2019 report, GAO said the Coast Guard needs to: • employ models for predicting the outcome of investments and analyzing tradeoffs; • dispose of unneeded assets; and • implement DHS’s Critical Infrastructure Risk Management Framework. In 2018, according to the report, the Coast Guard graded its overall shore infrastructure condition as a C-, based on criteria derived from standards developed by the American Society of Civil Engineers. At that same time, the service estimated it would take almost 400 years to address just the $1.774 billion recapitalization and new construction backlog at current funding levels – an estimate that does not include a $900 million deferred depot-level maintenance backlog nor hundreds of other recapitalization and new construction projects. “Our previous reports have identified various steps the Coast Guard has taken to begin to improve how it manages its shore infrastructure,” the GAO’s 2019 report said. “Some of the steps the Coast Guard has taken align with leading practices for managing public sector backlogs and key practices for managing risks to critical infrastructure, including identifying risks posed by the lack of timely investment, identifying mission-critical facilities, disposing of unneeded assets, and beginning an assessment of shore infrastructure vulnerabilities.”
DOD PHOTO BY LISA FERDINANDO
Specifically, the report said the Coast Guard has: • identified risks posed by lack of timely investment; • identified mission-critical and mission-supportive shore infrastructure; and • assessed selected buildings for vulnerabilities. The report also recommended the Coast Guard fully implement DHS’s Critical Infrastructure Risk Management Framework’s five steps: (1) set goals and objectives, (2) identify critical infrastructure, (3) assess and analyze risks and costs, (4) implement risk management activities, and (5) measure the effectiveness of actions taken. “The Coast Guard agreed with our recommendation. It stated that it plans to make progress towards implementing the recommendation while developing and implementing its Component Resilience Plan, in accordance with the recently mandated DHS Resilience Framework,” Nathan Anderson, a director in GAO’s Homeland Security and Justice team, told the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation on Sept. 25, 2019. “It intends to complete these efforts by the end of 2021. The Coast Guard also intends to develop, by July 2020, goals and objectives for measuring the effectiveness of actions taken to identify resilience readiness gaps and resource needs. We will continue to monitor these efforts.” The Strategic Plan acknowledges the shortcomings, requirements, and future expansion of Coast Guard operations, including infrastructure and cyber. “Our increasingly digital world requires a balance between reliable access to Coast Guard information systems for our people and assets and the ability to capably defend our networks against cyber threats. To leverage the massive benefits of information technology, connectivity, and data, we will: • Ensure information is readily and securely available to operators and mission support personnel in a full, degraded, or disconnected environment;
U.S. Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark T. Esper delivers remarks at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s second annual national cybersecurity summit, National Harbor, Maryland, Sept. 19, 2019. As a part of DHS, the Coast Guard is subject to DHS efforts to upgrade and improve the security of IT infrastructure.
• Deliver reliable mobile capabilities and improved remote access for frontline operators; • Prioritize resources and recapitalization efforts to ensure the reliability and effectiveness of C5I [Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Collaboration, and Intelligence] systems; • Treat the C5I enterprise mission platform as a mission enabler like other operational assets, grounded in capability requirements; and • Accelerate the adoption of cloud computing offerings. “The rapid advancement in technology across our personal and professional lives presents gamechanging opportunities for the Coast Guard, if properly harnessed. To fully understand the potential impacts of emerging technologies on Coast Guard operations, we will: • Evaluate emerging technologies, such as unmanned platforms, data analytics, block chain encryption, artificial intelligence, machine learning, network protocols, information storage, and human-machine collaboration for possible use in mission execution; • Capitalize on DHS and DOD research and development efforts, national labs research, and academic partnerships; • Seek opportunities to leap from existing technologies and competencies to new capabilities; and • Assess the Coast Guard total force laydown and capability mix across all mission areas.”
SECTOR PUGET SOUND: A CASE STUDY IN COAST GUARD PARTNERSHIPS BY EDWARD LUNDQUIST
Partnerships with other federal, state, local, tribal, international and private entities are a critical enabler for the Coast Guard in carrying out its missions. Nowhere is that more apparent than Sector Puget Sound, where partnerships are paramount. Led by Sector Commander Capt. Linda Sturgis and Deputy Capt. Michael Balding, Sector Puget Sound covers 12 counties in Washington State with commercial maritime interests, and ten ports, including the three major commercial shipping ports of Seattle, Everett, and Tacoma, which together make up the third largest shipping port in the U.S. Puget Sound encompasses 3,500 square miles of waterway – including a 125-mile maritime international boundary with Canada – and nearly 5,000 commercial deep draft vessels transit the waters each year destined for U.S. and Canadian ports. Sector Puget Sound, as with the other 37 sectors within the Coast Guard, deals on a day-to-day basis with safety of navigation, environmental stewardship, emergency planning, law enforcement and maritime security. Because all of those functions involve other entities, the stakeholders meet together regularly in the Area Maritime Security Committee (AMSC); the Area Committee, which deals with oil spills and other environmental issues; and the Harbor Safety Committee, to name the big ones, and other more specific committees and working groups. The Coast Guard also participates in the Regional Coordinating Mechanism (ReCoM), which brings together the federal agencies in the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security. Sector Puget Sound currently oversees the operations of Air Station Port Angeles, five stations, eight Coast Guard cutters, an Aids to Navigation Team, and the largest Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) in the United States. The sector also helps protect critical U.S. Navy facilities and assets in Puget Sound. Stakeholders at all levels are involved in everything the sector does, demonstrating the importance of partnerships for planning, prevention, preparedness and response.
Coast Guard OUTLOOK
VESSEL TRAFFIC SERVICE Successfully managing an international boundary requires cooperation and collaboration on both sides of the border – especially when that border is at sea. Canada and the U.S. have developed a close partnership – and a shared responsibility – at all levels of government to ensure the safety, security and sovereignty of both nations. The shared responsibilities result in the U.S. and Canadian Coast Guard each managing a portion of another nation’s waters. VTS monitors traffic in Puget Sound for navigation safety, but it also ensures the efficiency of the port so pilots, tug operators, stevedores, line handlers, customs officials, and husbanding agents can meet a ship on arrival and turn it around as quickly as possible so it can get back to sea. Sector Puget Sound’s Vessel Traffic Center is the largest in the U.S. and is a key traffic center in the Cooperative Vessel Traffic Service (C-VTS) shared between the U.S. and Canada. Sector Puget Sound’s VTS includes 3,500 square miles of waterways and supports more than 218,000 annual vessel transits. Seamlessly managed on an international basis in partnership with Canada, the Puget Sound VTS is a unique example of governmental cooperation. The Coast Guard’s Joint Harbor Operations Center in Seattle engages with local, state, federal, tribal, and international agencies, all staffed by representatives of those organizations so that quick and direct lines of communication are available. Across the border, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s (RCMP’s) Marine Security Operations Centre (MSOC), located in the provincial capital of Victoria, British Columbia, provides integrated marine-related intelligence products for both Canadian and U.S. law enforcement agencies. All of the response agencies throughout the sector have a presence or connectivity with the Coast Guard’s Joint Harbor Operations Center (JHOC) in Seattle, and if there is a marine or maritime “911” call, the JHOC will determine and dispatch the asset that’s closest and best able to respond.
U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO BY PETTY OFFICER 2ND CLASS STEVE STROHMAIER
The U.S. Coast Guard, alongside local partner, state, and federal agencies, participated in an Area Maritime Security Training and Exercise Program (AMSTEP) event Sept. 23, 2019, on Puget Sound near Seattle. The law enforcement agencies utilized various small boats to board a Washington State Ferry that participated in the training.
The Sector Puget Sound JHOC is co-located with the VTS so they can coordinate if needed. A recent case involving a U.S. Navy ship requiring a boat transfer in the middle of the shipping channel during a medical emergency was made possible because the Cooperative VTS operation center in Prince Rupert, Canada, was able to direct traffic to stay clear of the Navy ship during the evolution. There’s a great deal of diversity among the sector’s five multimission boat stations and location of cutters. On the coast, Stations Quillayute River and Neah Bay, while always ready to perform all missions, are uniquely trained to perform SAR in surf and heavy weather conditions, while employing the 47-foot motor lifeboats for rescues. Similarly, Stations Bellingham and Port Angeles have unique law enforcement training, frequently working with the Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine
and Border Patrol stations in their areas of responsibility. Station Seattle, located in a busy port and population area, is uniquely trained to conduct armed escorts and patrols in support of Ports, Waterways and Coastal Security missions. Additionally, the sector has eight coastal patrol boats constantly patrolling the sector’s area of responsibility in support of the statutory missions. The Coast Guard conducts joint “Shiprider” patrols with counterparts in the RCMP, providing trained and certified crews to jointly man boats with the authority to patrol and pursue on both sides of the maritime international boundary. Stations Port Angeles, Bellingham, and Air Station Port Angeles all participate in Shiprider missions. When operating as part of the Shiprider program, the boats are jointly crewed and fly both the American and Canadian flags. Qualified Shiprider crews are highly trained, and certified by both governments, enabling the patrols to pursue and apprehend suspicious vessels on either side of the border. For native communities, fishing has been a way of life, and the tribes are granted certain fishing rights by treaty. Salmon, halibut, crabs and geoduck clams have long been important subsistence foods or a source of income for the tribes. A number of the tribal entities are waterway users, and many have fishing and whaling rights in their “usual and
PLAN AND PREPARE FOR THE WORST Cmdr. Xochitl Castañeda is the chief of the Sector Puget Sound Emergency Management Department. That includes planning and preparing to manage disasters, large and small, with all of the stakeholders in the sector.
Coast Guard OUTLOOK
Members of Coast Guard Station Bellingham an the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) participate in a Shiprider operation that allows members of each agency certain jurisdictions, under the opposing agencies guidance, when conducting operations in American/Canadian waters. The program allows members of the RCMP ride on Coast Guard boats and members of the Coast Guard to ride on RCMP boats.
“It’s important for all the participants to meet periodically and get to know each other and their challenges and capabilities,” Castañeda said. “When something happens, you need to know the right people. Calling for assistance in a crisis shouldn’t be the first time you reached out.” One example is “Cascadia Rising,” a long-term series of exercises designed to prepare for responding to the worst-case earthquake disaster that could be expected to occur in the Northwest. That disaster is a magnitude 9 earthquake on the Cascadia Subduction Zone running off the coast and a resulting tsunami, and many people are concerned about how the region would respond after such a devasting event. As the Chief of Emergency Management, Castañeda said that “of all the disasters to prepare for, this is the big one. The threat of a 9.0 earthquake and resulting tsunami is daunting. We’re prepared for more routine
U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO BY PETTY OFFICER 3RD CLASS JORDAN AKIYAMA
accustomed areas’’ in Puget Sound. The Coast Guard has special trust responsibilities to all the tribes in any Coast Guard mission areas that could potentially affect them. According to Andrew Connor, a civilian in the 13th Coast Guard District External Affairs Office where he focuses on tribal, international, and DHS partnerships, the Pacific Northwest is a region with a myriad of agencies that have authorities and a presence on the water, to include police, sheriff, fire and rescue, fish and wildlife, parks and recreation, environmental, and others. The sectors work with their local counterparts on a day-to-day basis. “We know who has assets and where they are, so if one agency needs help, or is unable to respond, we can find someone on the water or who is able to get underway and has the training and authority to assist. We use quick-response sheets to determine who can be dispatched, and how to get them to the scene,” Connor said. “That goes for the public, too. They represent an important part of our partnership. We can issue an urgent marine information broadcast and alert fishermen, boaters and ferry operators. They can be our eyes and ears.”
U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO BY PETTY OFFICER 3RD CLASS ANDREA ANDERSON
Above: Coast Guard District 13 staff holds a simulated area command briefing during Cascadia Rising 2016. Right: The U.S. Coast Guard alongside partner local, state and federal agencies participated in an Area Maritime Security Training and Exercise Program (AMSTEP) event in Seattle, Washington Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019. Coast Guardsmen practice tactical interdiction methods for use in the event of an active shooter scenario.
disasters, but for something of this magnitude we will likely need external support to the region.” Cascadia Rising 2016 was a major national-level exercise, and the next one, planned for 2022, will be even larger, incorporating a “spill of national significance.” Castañeda said one of her main planning objectives is helping to restore the Maritime Transportation System (MTS) – the ports, waterways, railways, roads and bridges that move commerce – to full capacity after a major disaster, including risk assessments and mitigation efforts. Building resiliency into the MTS now can reduce risk for future events.
ACTIVE SHOOTER DRILL Bo Stocklin works with Castañeda in the Emergency Management department, and was the lead planner for the sector’s September 2019 active shooter exercise involving dozens of agencies around Puget Sound. “The scenario involved an active shooter on a Washington State Ferry, and the at-the-dock-day live exercise involved 160 individual participants, and the day we were underway on a ferry we had more than 80 law
enforcement personnel conducting boardings from 12 boats and two helicopters.” Stocklin said the exercises are risk-based, and the Coast Guard works with its partners to determine what the highest risks are. To maximize coordination across the entire spectrum of partners, Stocklin said the key is to design the exercise to involve everyone. “We validated that we need to continue to work together,” he said. Washington State Ferries are the largest ferry system in the U.S., carrying 25 million passengers a year. “They could be a target, and they take safety and security to heart,” said Stocklin. “They work closely with us and the Washington State Patrol, as the ferries are considered part of the state highway system.” The community was warned in advance that they should expect a large number of first responders, equipment, sirens and simulated gunfire around the Washington State Ferries Eagle Harbor Maintenance
USCG PHOTO BY PA3 MIKE ZOLZER
U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO BY PETTY OFFICER 3RD CLASS AMANDA NORCROSS
Facility and surrounding waterway, and later aboard the M/V Kittitas while underway in Puget Sound. The Kittitas did not have passengers aboard during the exercise.
RESPONDING TO OIL SPILLS Response Department Head Cmdr. Torrey Bertheau said his department works closely with the Prevention Department to oversee, respond to and plan for any incident that should happen in the maritime environment. “Prevention is supposed to keep bad things from happening, and response goes out there immediately to minimize impact when bad things do happen,” Bertheau said. He is responsible for the boats and cutters called upon to respond to any incidents on the water, and has the experts to respond to oil spills. Of the Coast Guard’s 11 statutory missions, eight of them are in the response portfolio, most notably maritime search and rescue (SAR), pollution response, federal law enforcement, and port security. “Our mission includes environmental protection and enforcement of the many regulations, as well as helping to mitigate the effects of a marine casualty.” Although Bertheau has a variety of assets to respond to an incident, he says his most important resources dedicated to environmental protection are the people, the professional pollution responders who become the representative of the sector commander and serve as the federal on-scene coordinator to lead the appropriate federal, state, local, international, tribal, and responsible party in a unified response. And when a response is required, the prior planning pays off. Castañeda said the Coast Guard has the jurisdiction to regulate the oil terminals, and worst-case discharge drills are conducted with all the terminals that handle oil or hazardous materials and are considered to be of high risk, including the appropriate partner agencies that would be involved in an actual response.
Left: Rear Adm. David Throop, former commander, Coast Guard 13th District, describes aspects of the Coast Guard’s function within his district to Jay Inslee (right), governor, Washington state, during a visit to Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound in Seattle, Sept. 7, 2018. The Coast Guard has always maintained a close working relationship with the state, ensuring the safety, security and environmental protection of the region. Right: Border patrol agents co-located with Coast Guard Station Bellingham conducted a boarding of a sailboat in Puget Sound, near the city of Bellingham Feb. 10, 2005. The agents work closely with Coast Guard law enforcement teams.
To show the value of planning and exercising, an actual spill recently occurred at a Shell Oil terminal just days after the Coast Guard, partner agencies and the company had conducted a worst-case discharge exercise. “The response was well done,” said Castañeda. “Everybody knew each other, and they knew what they were doing. Everybody knew what to bring, and how it was all going to work together. They showed up, plugged in, and got the job done.” Partnerships are very important to the Coast Guard. “Here in Sector Puget Sound we have our area committees to come together to talk about all things related to oil spills, and think about problems before they happen,” Castañeda said. “The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is a big partner for us, as well as the State of Washington, and the authorities in the local jurisdiction that we’re dealing with. The relationships are already in place. Everybody in the entire oil spill community knows each other.” The Emergency Management Department, a pilot program currently underway at Sector Puget Sound, consolidates contingency planning, the JHOC, and intelligence functions, and serves as the sector “Chief Emergency Manager” to plan, prepare and integrate with federal, state, local, and tribal governments.
COAST GUARD MARINE INSPECTORS: IN FROM THE START BY CRAIG COLLINS
It happened, coincidentally, during the longest government shutdown in history, from December 2018 to January 2019, when the nation’s essential employees were either furloughed or working without pay. Three of those employees – chief warrant officers Dan Reed, Chris Keister, and Derek Shay, marine inspectors with Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles/Long Beach – were at work at the sprawling port complex at San Pedro Bay, conducting a routine inspection of a container ship whose operator had alerted them to several fractures in its structure. The inspectors found more than a few fractures – about 40 cracks in all, throughout the ship’s structure, that had to be repaired. “Our job,” said Reed, a senior marine inspector, “is to ensure that it is compliant with U.S. Code and Code of Federal Regulations regarding all aspects of safety, construction, and security.” Repairs to the container ship – under the supervision of Coast Guard marine inspectors – were conducted over a period of two weeks. Verifying a vessel’s compliance with laws and regulations is complicated. According to Reed, he and other marine inspectors are often referred to as “bag carriers,” because of the satchels they lug around containing volumes of applicable references – regulations, codes, and specifications – as well as inspection and safety equipment. “We inspect everything from the chemical composition of the steel to the procedures of the welding repairs to the qualifications of the welders themselves – a cradle-to-grave evaluation of the vessel,” Reed said. Usually, such detailed analysis of structural steel, including its composition and strength, is conducted by a class surveyor, certified to oversee the work of steel mills.
Coast Guard OUTLOOK
When Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Karl Schultz delivered his annual State of the Coast Guard address at Coast Guard Base Los Angeles/Long Beach on March 21, 2019, he called out Reed, Keister, and Shay by name: The container ship they’d inspected was holding nearly a million gallons of bunker oil, he said, which, given the fractures they discovered, posed a threat to the vessel’s integrity and the environment. The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, operating side by side in San Pedro Bay, are the two busiest container ports in the United States and form the eighth-largest port complex in the world. Last year, more than 17 million
U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO BY PETTY OFFICER 3RD CLASS DUSTIN R. WILLIAMS
Two Coast Guard inspectors from Marine Safety Unit Port Arthur ride around the bow of the Energy Atlantic before boarding it in Port Arthur, Texas, Jan. 12, 2016. The Energy Atlantic was a brand new liquefied gas-carrying tanker that became the carrier of the first-ever U.S. exported shale natural gas.
containers – in shipping parlance, 20-foot equivalent units, or TEUs – passed through L.A./Long Beach, and more than 3,800 vessels of all types visit the ports annually. “But the tons of cargo moving through these ports are only one part of the story,” said Schultz. “Our nation’s economy relies on the safe, secure, and free flow of goods into our ports and on our nation’s waterways. More than 90 percent of trade into and out of America is conducted on ships.” Overall, the Marine Transportation System – the inland and coastal waterways and infrastructure, such as ports, through which maritime commerce travels
– contributes more than 23 million jobs and $4.6 trillion annually to the U.S. economy. Reed, Keister, and Shay are among the 671 Coast Guard marine inspectors who form the first line of defense for this system. Marine inspectors are responsible for inspecting U.S.-registered passenger, cargo and fishing vessels; foreign-flagged vessels that call at U.S. ports; mobile offshore drilling units; towing vessels; and barges carrying hazardous cargo. At the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, Reed and other inspectors maintain a demanding schedule, conducting an average of 10 vessel inspections a day, while another group of facilities inspectors ensure
VESSEL SAFETY: A PUBLIC/PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP The Coast Guard’s authority to conduct inspections and board all vessels in U.S. waters is assigned under Title 14 of the U.S. Code, and can be traced back more than a century-and-a-half to the Steamboat Act of 1852. Congress, which had been reluctant to pass laws interfering with the growing steamboat industry, was finally compelled to act after boiler explosions, fires, and collisions continued to kill and injure crewmembers and passengers aboard the growing fleet of U.S.flagged steamboats. Responsibility for inspection and enforcement was assigned to the Treasury Department. In 1942, when the government reorganized to conduct World War II, the organization that carried out these tasks – the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation (BMIN) – was transferred to the Coast Guard. After the war, the Truman administration decided to keep the inspection function with the Coast Guard for a number of reasons: The service had performed well during the war; the inspection function meshed well with other Coast Guard missions, such as maritime search and rescue; and the service enjoyed a natural affinity and working relationship with the maritime industries – in fact, many marine inspectors had some experience in
Coast Guard OUTLOOK
The Daniel K. Inouye, an 850-foot container ship being constructed in Philadelphia Shipyards, is the largest container vessel constructed in the United States, and is one of many ships marine inspectors from Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay work with to ensure maritime safety and security.
the merchant marine, where they had acquired practical knowledge of vessels’ vulnerabilities. The effectiveness of Coast Guard marine inspectors continues to be ensured primarily by this unique relationship between the service and the industries it serves – a relationship built on mutual trust and goodwill. It is, as Reed points out, a cradle-to-grave relationship that often begins before a ship enters service; as early as the design phase of a new vessel, Coast Guard inspectors are working behind the scenes, in partnership with the shipbuilder, to make sure it complies with applicable regulations and is safe for operation. An October 2018 article in the Coast Guard Compass, the service’s official blog, detailed how this alliance worked in the construction of the 850foot Daniel K. Inouye, a container ship built at Philly Shipyard for the Honolulu-based Matson Navigation Company: Together inspectors and industry members reviewed the vessel’s architectural plans, monitored the laying of its keel, and oversaw the installation of safety and engineering systems. Container vessels are, understandably, a significant focus for marine inspectors at L.A./Long Beach, but, as Reed noted, “Not every port has every platform, or type of vessel, by any means. Some of your qualifications are specific to the area you’re inspecting in.”
COAST GUARD PHOTOGRAPH BY PETTY OFFICER 1ST CLASS SETH JOHNSON
the safety of container yards, oil terminals, passenger ferry terminals, and other installations. Marine Safety is one of the Coast Guard’s lesser-known missions, but as the economic numbers alone indicate, it’s important – essential – work. And it grows more challenging every year.
U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO
The Marvel Crane, the first liquefied natural gas (LNG) carrier to transport natural gas from the Southwest Louisiana LNG facility, transits a channel in Hackberry, Louisiana, May 28, 2019. The ship both transports and is powered by LNG.
One type of vessel that’s grown in significance over the last decade-and-a-half is a ship that either carries liquefied natural gas (LNG) as cargo or burns it for fuel – or both. New technologies have allowed the United States to explore and extract shale gas at an unprecedented scale, and since 2009, America has been the world’s top producer of natural gas. Two things have happened as a result: Off-loading and regasification terminals – the majority of them on the Gulf Coast – have been built, and continue to be built, to accommodate large LNG carrier ships, and the wider availability of natural gas fuel has led regulatory bodies, including the International Maritime Organization (IMO), to encourage the powering of ships with LNG instead of heavy fuel oil to reduce harmful emissions. Lt. Cmdr. Dallas Smith, who began his Coast Guard career as a marine inspector at the Port of Houston – the nation’s busiest port overall in terms of tonnage – began inspecting LNG terminals in 2005, a few years before the Coast Guard established its Liquefied Gas Carrier National Center of Expertise (LGC NCOE) at Port Arthur, Texas, to cultivate and disseminate the knowledge necessary to inspect LNG facilities and LNG-fueled vessels. Smith currently serves as the detachment chief for the center, where he supervises a team of LNG subject matter experts who provide technical advice to both the industry and Coast Guard personnel. The center also works to increase the service’s competency and capacity to engage with the LNG industry. Maritime energy transport is a huge contributor to the U.S. economy, particularly in the Gulf region, and Coast Guard marine inspectors work closely with industry partners. Prior to joining the LGC NCOE, Smith underwent a year of Coast Guard-sponsored marine industry
training, an initiative that places service members in the industry for a limited period of time. “It helps the marine inspector identify challenges the industry faces,” said Smith, “and then when you go back to the Coast Guard, it helps build your expertise as well.” Smith spent a year working for Excelerate Energy, an LNG shipping company, and six months with Cheniere Energy, the first LNG exporter in the Gulf of Mexico. Marine industry training is just one option available to inspectors who want to grow their expertise. The Coast Guard also sponsors graduate school fellowships, to allow inspectors to earn engineering degrees, and other advanced education programs. Most marine inspectors, Smith said, go through one of these programs. Because newly constructed U.S.-flagged carriers have to be approved and inspected by the Coast Guard, LNG marine inspectors are also involved in shipbuilding. For example, when Bristol Harbor Group conceived the first North American-built LNG bunker barge, it approached the Coast Guard in 2014. Smith and other LGC NCOE subject matter experts helped guide the company through the approval process and begin construction on the barge, named Clean Jacksonville, at the Conrad Orange Shipyard in Orange, Texas. “Marine inspectors and my center of expertise spent time oversee-ing the construction of the vessel, to ensure it met all requirements,” said Smith, “and now she is operating in Jacksonville, fueling the LNG-as-fuel TOTE vessels.” TOTE Maritime, a domestic shipper, specializes in moving cargo between North America, Alaska, and Puerto Rico. So far, two of its container ships are LNGfueled – among a total of nine total U.S.-flagged vessels that burn LNG as fuel. Those vessels, along with about 160 foreign-flagged LNG-fueled ships and 600 LNG carriers, operate in U.S. ports. Smith and his subject matter experts offer training to other Coast Guard inspectors – around 100 to 200 people annually, who sign up to go through the center’s qualification standard for becoming an LNG marine inspector. The LGC NCOE team also provides technical expertise to both the marine industry and policymakers and Coast Guard
U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO BY PETTY OFFICER 2ND CLASS JOHANNA STRICKLAND
U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO BY PETTY OFFICER 2ND CLASS LEVI READ
Above: Lt. Ryan Junod and Chief Warrant Officer Gregory Miller, both Coast Guard marine inspectors at Marine Safety Unit Toledo, kneel under the keel of the motor vessel Sam Laud while it was in drydock in Toledo, Feb. 18, 2015. Left: Coast Guard marine inspectors from units across the country receive hands-on barge training from industry partners in Channelview, Texas, Sept. 10, 2019. Members received training both inside the classroom and while visiting industry experts onsite.
Headquarters, and augments other Coast Guard units with qualified inspectors. “We’ve flown to numerous U.S. ports, including America Samoa, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, and foreign ports in Asia and Europe,” Smith said. “We travel and conduct inspections for ports that don’t have that expertise.” The need for LNG inspection expertise, Smith said, is on the brink of a dramatic spike. The IMO’s cleaner-fuel regulations take effect in 2020, which will likely spur continued growth in both LNG-fueled ships and LNG bunkering infrastructure. The world’s first LNG-powered cruise ship, the AIDAnova, was completed last year for Carnival Corporation, and underwent its first inspection at the LGC NCOE. According to Smith, 30 more LNGfueled passenger cruise ships are either being built or are on order, and a second U.S.-flagged LNG bunkering barge, the Q-LNG 4000, will be delivered in the first quarter of 2020, primarily to provide fuel to cruise operators planning to call at East Coast ports.
Coast Guard marine inspectors have already experienced a considerable increase in demand for their services; in July 2018, the size of the U.S. inspected fleet grew by about 50 percent when the service added 6,500 towing vessels – vessels, 26 feet long or more, that are used to tow other ships or barges – to its responsibilities. The Coast Guard conducted a total of more than 20,000 vessel inspections last year. At the same time, Congress has increased the service’s involvement in ensuring the safety of fishing vessels. So far, there is no LNG terminal in San Pedro Bay, but Reed and his fellow marine inspectors probably can expect to see an LNG-fueled vessel sometime in the near future. Whether they do or not, they don’t expect their jobs to get easier: The Coast Guard projects that by 2025, the worldwide demand for waterborne commerce will more than double. “It’s a really important job,” said Smith. Coast Guard marine inspectors work to keep the focus on safety, security, and environmental protection, all without hindering the tremendous economic engine of maritime commerce. “I think the Coast Guard does a good job of balancing those interests,” said Smith. “And I think industry does a good job of communicating with us early and sharing their plans. ... We try to work with them the best we can, while ensuring safety and security.”
NEW USCG BASE SAN JUAN, BASE DETACHMENT BORINQUEN SUPPORT COAST GUARD MISSIONS When Adm. Karl Schultz assumed the duties as the 26th Commandant of the Coast Guard, one of his early action items specifically mandated establishing a new command in Puerto Rico to perform all mission support functions there. As Atlantic Area Commander, he was keenly aware of the unique challenges to conducting operations and mission support functions in an
Coast Guard OUTLOOK
overseas location that is effectively the United Statesâ€™ southernmost border. This early action item came to fruition in April 2019 with the establishment of USCG Base San Juan, Puerto Rico, followed closely by the establishment of Base Detachment Borinquen at the Coast Guard Air Station in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.
Opposite page: Cmdr. Javier Delgado, commanding officer of Base San Juan, inspects and greets unit personnel during the April 30, 2019 ceremony in Puerto Rico that established Base San Juan as a new Coast Guard unit. Base San Juan will be providing essential mission support services to Sector San Juan, as the Sector focuses on conducting vital Coast Guard missions in the Eastern Caribbean. Right: A Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew rescued a 46-year old boater, who is a U.S. citizen from Texas, from a life raft early Dec. 2, 2018, approximately 30 nautical miles east of Samana, Dominican Republic. Base Detachment Borinquen provides mission support to Air Station Borinquen.
In Department of Defense terms, Base San Juan is the garrison commander for Coast Guard commands in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The base handles various support functions including personnel administration, financial management, logistics and supply, engineering support for boats and cutters, and facilities maintenance management. Prior to the stand up of Base San Juan, there were only two major commands in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands: USCG Sector San Juan and USCG Air Station Borinquen. Both commands had their own mission support personnel, something common to other Coast Guard Sectors and Air Stations around the country. “What made the Puerto Rico commands unique was over 300 units of military housing, a large full-time civilian and MWR staff, and numerous family amenities such as community centers, pools, playgrounds, clinics and other facilities to support over 600 active duty Coast Guard men and women and their families,” said Capt. Greg Magee, deputy commander of Sector San Juan. The operational challenges that Sector San Juan and Air Station Borinquen face are considerable. Across a 1.3 million square mile area of responsibility, in addition to a highly active search and rescue mission, they counter a significant flow of drugs and migrants from throughout the Caribbean targeting Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. They regulate a vibrant commercial shipping industry, including the major cruise ship destinations of San Juan and St. Thomas. They also faced several high profile operational challenges, such as fire onboard a ferry carrying over 500 people, and the response and recovery efforts following hurricanes Irma and Maria. “The initiative to establish a mission support command was seen as a great opportunity not only to improve mission support service delivery, but to allow the sector and the air station to focus on their operational missions,” said Magee. Planning for the base stand up allowed all parties to examine organizational constructs and search for new opportunities. One significant decision was to move
nearly all the mission support personnel originally part of the sector and air station into the base. “An early proposal had the sector keep a contingent of yeomen and storekeepers to directly support sector personnel. The problem with this is that we would have to create new supervisory billets for the base. By consolidating those ratings, we could focus any new billets into technicians that directly support maintenance and upkeep,” added Magee. Base San Juan and its detachment in Borinquen absorbed more than 170 mission support personnel from the sector and air station. Additionally, 19 new billets were added; among them was the new base commanding officer, Cmdr. Javier Delgado. Delgado reported from Havana, Cuba, where he had been the Coast Guard liaison officer, and had previously served in a variety of mission support jobs throughout his career. Born in Puerto Rico and a fluent Spanish speaker, he was a natural fit for the new command. “It was a true honor to be selected as Base San Juan’s first commanding officer,” said Delgado. Having previously served at Sector North Carolina as their logistics officer, Delgado immediately recognized the advantage of a base in Puerto Rico. “The sector and the air station report to their operational commander, Coast Guard District 7. This meant that their mission support issues went through another operational command before going to the mission support enterprise. Now with the base, we streamline these issues, leading to faster service and better support to the operational commanders.” A challenge that faced this new construct was how to respond to emergencies such as a devastating hurricane or mass rescue operation. The base/sector team conducted multiple exercises, and united to respond to actual emergencies such as a recent maritime protest in Puerto Rico and three hurricanes through 2019. “During these exercises and real world events, Base San Juan personnel filled all the functions of the logistics and finance sections within the Incident
PHOTO BY ELISFKC VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
USCG Sector San Juan. Base San Juan will handle support functions, such as engineering and personnel support, for the sector.
Command System,” said Delgado. “The integration of the base into the incident command was seamless and highlighted the teamwork between the two commands present from day one.” Shortly after the establishment of the base, the Coast Guard implemented sweeping changes to its procurement and financial management system. “Having all finance and logistics personnel under one command gave us the greatest flexibility
to work through any growing pains during this process,” said Delgado. In addition to day-to-day operations, the base will work with various Coast Guard commands in a major reconstruction effort to replace or refurbish buildings in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands damaged during hurricanes Irma and Maria. This undertaking will cost more than $200 million and take up to five years. Delgado is ready for the challenge. “We’re focused on the movement of office space, work facilities, and personnel to maintain operations while we make this major investment in our future and our people,” said Delgado.
THE LAST RIDE OUT OF ROCKY POINT: A HURRICANE FLORENCE RESCUE
A U.S. Coast Guard MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter crew assigned to Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, North Carolina, evacuates residents from Rocky Point, North Carolina, Sept. 16, 2018, due to flooding caused by Hurricane Florence.
Rocky Point is a small village off North Carolina Highway 210, just 15 miles north of Wilmington. It’s home to many of the 400 people who live in the wider area known as St. Helena. Weekends find them running hobby farms, enjoying time with friends and family, or prepping Sunday dinner. However, on Sept. 16, 2018, the residents of this inland community were under several feet of water. That day they found themselves in a potentially fatal situation, trapped on what was becoming an island surrounded by rushing floodwaters and pieces of what used to be their homes. “When we woke up that Sunday morning [the water] was right there, you know, 20 yards from our driveway,” recalled Dan Schmidt, a resident of Rocky Point. “All my neighbors south of my house had already all gone underwater and were all out at the end of [my] driveway.” Dan and his wife Janeen Spencer are local school teachers who moved to Rocky Point about three years ago. Like many residents, they have some livestock and they farm on the side, a community effort relying on relationships to be successful. Seeing those same neighbors trying to escape the rising water, Dan grabbed his jon boat the morning of the 16th to help the rest. He paddled through the waist deep water to help get them to drier areas and porches. After several hours, though, the current began thwarting his efforts. Close to the same time Dan was reluctantly tying his boat off to a pine tree, word began to spread that the Coast Guard had been contacted and was coming. No one was sure, though, how long it would be until they arrived or where exactly they would be landing.
Coast Guard OUTLOOK
U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO BY PETTY OFFICER 2ND CLASS DUSTIN WILLIAMS
BY PETTY OFFICER 2ND CLASS DUSTIN WILLIAMS
Coast Guard OUTLOOK
An MH-60T Jayhawk Helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, North Carolina, evacuates residents from Rocky Point, North Carolina due to flooding caused by Hurricane Florence. A total of 26 adults, 11 children, seven dogs and four cats were evacuated from the neighborhood.
know, and he refused. The last thing I did before I left was teach him to put on a life jacket for the first time.” That reluctance is a familiar challenge, said Fuller. “When people have lived in an area their entire life and have never had to evacuate, it’s hard convincing them that they should.” After landing, Fuller and another aviation survival technician, Petty Officer 2nd Class Chris Fisher, made their own initial rounds of Rocky Point’s streets and houses, doing their best to warn the reluctant of the risk of staying behind. There was a new fear of a nearby river cresting, adding water to the already recordbreaking deluge and its flash floods. Their warnings were sometime received with uncertainty from people anxious about leaving their homes, roots, and memories behind. Fuller tried to convey the urgency. “It is always better to leave when you could have stayed than to stay when you should have left. When in doubt, evacuate. Floods come much faster than you think and before you know it, it’s too late.” Enough people heeded Dan’s and Fuller’s alarms that soon there were significantly more people ready to evacuate than there was space available on the helicopter. This meant multiple trips. Fuller and Fisher remained behind in the rapidly submerging Rocky Point in order to maximize the number of evacuees in the helicopter cabin. Their presence also provided those still waiting with confidence that rescuers were coming back. “It can be challenging telling some people that they are going to have to wait for the next pickup, but they were more receptive to the idea when they
U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO BY PETTY OFFICER 2ND CLASS DUSTIN WILLIAMS
Dan and Janeen now faced their own decision whether to evacuate. They debated whether to stay on the second story of their house and to send only Janeen’s mom, who has health issues, and her step-daughter to leave with the Coast Guard. “Everybody kept saying the water’s ‘going to keep coming, keep coming’ and ‘we need to go now,’ because we didn’t know if the Coast Guard was going to be able to come back, or if anybody would be able to come back. That’s when we made the decision to go ahead and go. Once we knew we could take the dogs with us, it was a no brainer. No need to risk your life.” As they were deliberating, the heavy, repetitive thudding of search and rescue helicopters reverberated through the torrential rainfall. The sharp eyes of crew saw the submerged houses of Rocky Point materialize below as an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter, dispatched from Air Station Elizabeth City, circled the village. “I was in awe of all the flooding,” remembered Petty Officer 3rd Class Sam Fuller, an aviation survival technician aboard the helicopter. “Some of the houses were completely submerged. It was a challenge trying to find a place to land.” The decision was made to plant the aircraft in a field at the corner of two country roads, one of which quickly descended into water so deep that a volunteer swift boat team from Indiana was ferrying people from the other side of a nearby submerged highway. Once the helicopter had been spotted overhead, Dan once again assumed the role of community messenger, this time spreading news of hope. He took to his four-wheeler and started riding around the community on what dry land remained, urging others to take advantage of the new means of escape and not to chance the floodwaters. Not everyone heeded him. “There were a couple of old-timers who weren’t going to leave,” said Schmidt. “One of my best friends – Danny – he wasn’t going to. He was born at Long Creek, you
U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO BY PETTY OFFICER 2ND CLASS DUSTIN WILLIAMS
MH-60T Jayhawk crew members wait with residents for their helicopter to return after evacuating a load of evacuees from Rocky Point, North Carolina due to flooding caused by Hurricane Florence.
knew that I was staying back as well,” said Fuller. “There were so many people that needed to get out. We obviously send anyone who is injured or sick first and go from there, our main priority being to keep families together.” Confident that they had helped gather everyone they could, Dan and Janeen waited with their dogs Dixie and Bandit on the porch of an abandoned house across from the field where the Coast Guard had set up the evacuation point. Still, though, they wanted to make sure that everyone else was able to go before they caught one of the last rides out of Rocky Point. When it was finally their turn, rotorwash whipped the reeds and tall grass into a frenzy as Dan and Janeen carried Dixie and Bandit in their arms to the open door of the helicopter. Pouring rain made it hard to see, and engine noise made it almost impossible to hear while the crew settled everyone into the cabin. There was a feeling of momentary weightlessness as the aircraft took off. Below, some roofs of Rocky Point now barely poked out of the water below. Soon, they disappeared in the distance. Dan and Janeen were dropped off with their dogs in Wilmington, two people of the 944 lives saved by the Coast Guard during Hurricane Florence. Forty were from the Rocky Point area alone. In Wilmington, Dan and Janeen were able to stay with friends and family for a few days, helping clear roads and property before heading back to their farm. Luckily, their property was just high enough that there was minimal damage.
The two teachers were out of work for 20 days before classes resumed. During this time, they continued to do everything they could for the surrounding communities. Alongside other local volunteers and with help from the American Red Cross, they delivered food and supplies to their students and students’ families, dropping off 200 to 250 lunches per day. Now, more than a year after Florence, there is still clean-up and recovery happening in Rocky Point. Florence brought eight trillion gallons of water across North and South Carolina over seven days. “My neighbors are still rebuilding,” said Schmidt. “I saw them pulling a FEMA trailer just the other day. Interiors [are] damaged – there were piles of trash and debris that we had there for the first six months after. There’s still a lot of people hurting from the storm, that’s for sure. But then, just to watch everyone come back together and try to rebuild our community [is] just a really awesome thing. I don’t know how to totally encapsulate that. There’s so many emotions with so many highs and lows.” Among the highs are the memories that many rescues were a product of communities pulling together and sacrifices made under the threat of loss of life and property. “Dan and Janeen were a huge help in making sure everyone that wanted to get out, got out,” offered Fuller. “They were running all over the place and reporting back to us how many more were coming. It’s crazy how these storms bring communities together and bring out the best in people. There are definitely situations where people are just focused on themselves getting to safety, which is totally understandable, but that was not my experience in Rocky Point. Everyone we evacuated was patient and willing to sacrifice for others, especially Dan and Janeen.” Year after year, storm after storm, the Coast Guard will always have the watch. Supported by those they serve.
THE CUTTERS, BOATS, AND AIRCRAFT OF THE U.S. COAST GUARD PROFESSIONALLY AND PROFICIENTLY OPERATED BY THE MEN AND WOMEN OF THE U.S. COAST GUARD, the service’s cutters, boats, and aircraft are standing by 24/7 to respond to safety and security threats in all weather conditions, day or night. As the lead federal agency in the maritime domain for law enforcement, incident response, homeland security, and disaster management, these specialized capabilities enable the Coast Guard to save lives, protect the environment, enforce federal laws on the high seas, and defend the homeland. In recent years, the Coast Guard realized several achievements with recapitalizing its assets. The Polar Security Cutter project to procure several new icebreakers for the service is moving forward, and the keel has been laid for the first Offshore Patrol Cutter. The seventh National Security Cutter (NSC), Kimball, and the eighth NSC, Midgett, were commissioned together in August 2019. Likewise, 35 Fast Response Cutters (FRCs) are now in service, with a total of 58 planned. Despite these milestones, fleet and aircraft recapitalization timelines lag service need, endangering the ability to be “Always Ready” to prepare for, respond to, and quickly recover from major incidents. Moving forward, the Coast Guard will thoughtfully pursue and achieve a balanced and executable acquisition program for the deteriorating offshore, coastal, and inland assets.
Coast Guard OUTLOOK
Coast Guard OUTLOOK U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO BY PETTY OFFICER 2ND CLASS GRANT DEVUYST
ICEBREAKERS The Coast Guard operates two oceangoing icebreakers, the newest of which, the CGC Healy (WAGB 20), commissioned in 1999, is the service’s largest ship. The Coast Guard also operates one icebreaker on the Great Lakes – the CGC Mackinaw (WLBB 30), which replaced an older ship of the same name. Icebreakers are painted with an “icebreaker red” hull to make them noticeable in ice-covered waters. One oceangoing icebreaker, the Polar Sea, was cannibalized for parts used to help return its sister, Polar Star, to operation. The Coast Guard and Navy, under an integrated program office, awarded VT Halter Marine contract for the detail design and construction of the lead Polar Security Cutter in April 2019.
providing more than 4,200 square feet of scientific laboratory space, numerous electronic sensor systems, oceanographic winches, and accommodations for up to 50 scientists. Healy is capable of breaking 4.5 feet of ice continuously at 3 knots and can operate in temperatures as low as minus 50 degrees F. The scientific community provided invaluable input on lab layouts and scientific capabilities during design and construction of the ship. As a Coast Guard cutter, the Healy is also a capable platform for supporting other potential missions in the polar regions, and is capable of accommodating two H-65 Dolphin helicopters or one Dolphin and one H-60 Jayhawk helicopter.
Icebreaker, 420-foot Healy class (WAGB)
• Length: 420 feet • Beam: 82 feet • Displacement: 16,000 tons • Power plant: Four diesels, two shafts, 30,000 shaft horsepower (shp)
The Coast Guard’s largest ship, the CGC Healy, was launched in 1997 and commissioned in 1999, joining the two Polar-class icebreakers in their homeport of Seattle, Washington. The Healy is designed to conduct a wide range of research activities,
U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO
CGC Polar Star
Vessel in this class: • Healy (WAGB 20) Seattle, Washington
Icebreakers, 399-foot Polar class (WAGB) The Polar-class icebreakers, built in the 1970s, were designed for open-water ice breaking and have reinforced hulls, special ice breaking bows, and a system that allows rapid shifting of ballast to increase the effectiveness of their ice breaking. These ships are capable of continuous progress through ice 6 feet thick at a speed of up to 3 knots. The CGCs Polar Sea and Polar Star were built to serve in the Arctic and Antarctic, supporting science and research as well as providing resupply to remote stations, but their capabilities also enable them to perform search and rescue (SAR), escort ships, support environmental protection, and enforce laws and treaties in places most ships cannot reach. They are fully equipped for helicopter berthing and deck operations, and can carry two H-60 Jayhawks or H-65 Dolphins. Polar Star was reactivated in December 2012 after three years of refurbishment and modernization. Polar Sea remains laid up and is being used as a parts donor while its disposition is determined. • Length: 399 feet • Beam: 83.5 feet • Displacement (28-foot draft): 13,194 tons full load • Power plant: Six Alco diesels, 3,000 British horsepower (bhp) each, three gas turbines,
Coast Guard OUTLOOK
25,000 shp each, electric drive, three shafts, 66,000 shp • Speed: 18 knots • Range: 16,000 nautical miles at 18 knots; 28,275 at 13 knots Vessels in this class: • Polar Star (WAGB 10) Seattle, Washington • Polar Sea (WAGB 11) deactivated, Seattle, Washington
Icebreaker, 240-foot Great Lakes class (WLBB) The CGC Mackinaw (WLBB 30), like its predecessor of the same name, was designed specifically for the Great Lakes, where its mission has been to keep the shipping lanes open through as much of the winter as possible. Like the former Mackinaw (WAGB 83), the new ship is homeported in Cheboygan, Michigan, and remains the only U.S. heavy ice breaking resource assigned to the Great Lakes. The ship performs ice breaking as well as ATON (aids to navigation), SAR, law enforcement, and other missions. It has a crew of nine officers and 46 enlisted members. The Mackinaw features state-of-the-art navigation, communication, and security systems and is able to carry a smaller crew than its namesake. The vessel also has a 20-ton crane for servicing aids to navigation, and an oil spill recovery system on board. It uses two podded propulsors and a bow thruster to provide excellent maneuverability, and is designed to break through 32 inches of ice at 3 knots. • Length: 240 feet • Beam: 58 feet, 6 inches • Draft: 16 feet • Displacement: 3,500 tons full load • Power plant: Three 4,200-bhp ABT diesel
U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO BY CHIEF PETTY OFFICER DAVID MOSLEY
• Speed: 17 knots • Range: 16,000 nautical miles at 12.5 knots; 37,000 miles at 9.25 knots
generators; two ABT 3,350-kilowatt (kW) azipod propulsion units • Speed: 15 knots • Range: 4,000 nautical miles Vessel in this class: • Mackinaw (WLBB 30) Cheboygan, Michigan
CUTTERS The term “cutter” identifies a Coast Guard vessel 65 feet in length or greater, with accommodations for a crew to live aboard. Major cutters, like the national security cutter, are capable of carrying multiple cutterboat types, including the over-the-horizon (CB-OTH-IV) rigid-hull inflatables, and longrange interceptors (CB-LRI-II). Polar-class icebreakers also carry an Arctic survey boat (ASB), a polar variant of the CB-OTH-IV, and landing craft. Most cutters more than 200 feet in length are capable of accommodating helicopters.
National Security Cutters, 418-foot Legend class (WMSL)
The first major cutter to join the Coast Guard as part of the fleet recapitalization plan, the National Security Cutter (NSC) is the largest and most technologically advanced of the service’s new cutters. At 418 feet in length, capable of speeds up to 28 knots, with a crew complement of 122 and a
NORTHROP GRUMMAN PHOTO BY STEVE BLOUNT
U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO
Offshore Patrol Cutter
Coast Guard OUTLOOK
or one H-65 or H-60 and two vertically launched unmanned aerial vehicles, or other combinations. • Length: 418 feet • Beam: 54 feet • Displacement: 4,500 long tons full load • Power plant: Combined diesel and gas (CODAG); one 30,565 shp gas turbine engine and two 9,655 hp diesel engines • Speed: up to 28 knots • Range: 12,000 nautical miles • Armament: Mk. 110 57 mm gun; Phalanx 20 mm close-in weapon system (CIWS); Mk. 53 decoy launching system (NULKA); and four M2 .50-caliber machine guns Vessels in this class: • Bertholf (WMSL 750) Alameda, California • Waesche (WMSL 751) Alameda, California • Stratton (WMSL 752) Alameda, California • Hamilton (WMSL 753) Charleston, South Carolina • James (WMSL 754) Charleston, South Carolina • Munro (WMSL 755) Alameda, California • Kimball (WMSL 756) Honolulu, Hawaii • Midgett (WMSL 757) Honolulu, Hawaii • Stone (WMSL 758) under construction • WMSL 759 long lead-time materials ordered • WMSL 760 long lead-time materials ordered
EASTERN SHIPBUILDING IMAGE
displacement of 4,500 long tons, the Legend-class cutters are capable of better seakeeping and higher sustained speeds as well as greater endurance than legacy cutters. The ships, being acquired by the Coast Guard Acquisition Directorate, feature modern command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) capabilities and provide interoperability with U.S. Navy systems and a common operational picture to enhance maritime domain awareness. In addition to a helicopter deck, the class has a stern ramp for launching and recovering two classes of rigid-hull inflatable (RHIB) cutterboats that deploy with the NSC: the 35-foot CB-LRI-II and the 26-foot CB-OTH-IV. The NSC can carry a total of three boats: one CB-LRI-II and two CB-OTH-IVs. The first cutter, Bertholf, was commissioned Aug. 4, 2008, and completed its first extended operations in 2009. The second cutter, Waesche, was commissioned May 7, 2010. The third, Stratton, was commissioned March 31, 2012. Hamilton, the fourth NSC, was commissioned in December 2014. The fifth, James, was commissioned in August 2015. The sixth NSC, Munro, was commissioned in April 2017, and in a unique ceremony, the seventh and eighth NSCs, Kimball and Midgett, were commissioned together in August 2019. The Coast Guard planned construction of eight national security cutters; however, nine have been commissioned or are under construction. Long lead-time materials have been ordered for a 10th and 11th. The NSC is armed with a 57 mm/Mk. 110 gun, which is also employed by the Navy’s littoral combat ships, and four M2 .50-caliber machine guns. The NSC can accommodate two H-65s,
High Endurance Cutters, 378-foot Secretary class (WHEC) Highly versatile and capable of performing a variety of missions, these cutters operate throughout the world’s oceans. Because of their high endurance and their capabilities, similar to those of Navy warships, Secretary-class cutters occasionally deploy as part of Navy carrier battle groups. CGC Hamilton (WHEC 715), commissioned in 1967, was first of the class, which formed the mainstay of the Coast Guard from the 1970s into the 2010s. The Secretary-class cutters are ideally suited for long-range, high-endurance missions, and for fulfilling the maritime security role, which includes drug interdiction, illegal immigrant interception, and fisheries patrol. The ships are powered by diesel engines and gas turbines, in a combined diesel and gas (CODAG) plant, and have controllable pitch propellers. Equipped with a helicopter flight deck, retractable hangar, and the facilities to support helicopter deployment, these 12 cutters were introduced to the Coast Guard inventory in the 1960s. The entire class was modernized through the Fleet Rehabilitation and Modernization (FRAM) program between 1985 and 1992, updating their helicopter flight deck facilities, radars and other sensors, and fire-control systems. With a crew of 160, each displaces 3,340 tons. Each is capable of accommodating a single HH-65 Dolphin helicopter. Secretary-class cutters have been given upgraded command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) capabilities under the Deepwater project. The Chase and Hamilton were transferred to the Nigerian and Philippine navies, respectively, in 2011. The Dallas and Jarvis were decommissioned in 2012 and transferred to the Philippine and Bangladeshi navies, respectively. Gallatin was decommissioned in March 2014 and has since been transferred to the Nigerian navy. Rush transferred to the Bangladeshi navy in May 2015 and Boutwell was transferred to the Philippine navy in July 2016. Morgenthau was transferred to the Vietnamese navy in May 2017. Sherman was transferred to the navy of Sri Lanka in March 2018. Ships of the class will continue to be retired as national security cutters enter the fleet. • Length: 378 feet • Beam: 43 feet • Displacement: 3,340 tons full load • Power plant: Two diesel engines 3,500 bhp each/ two gas turbine engines 18,000 shp each, two shafts 36,000 shp • Speed: 29 knots • Range: 2,400 nautical miles at 29 knots or 9,600 miles at 19 knots (on gas turbines); 12,000 nautical miles at 14 knots (on diesels) • Armament: One Mk. 75 76 mm gun; two Mk. 38 25 mm guns; one Phalanx CIWS; two .50-caliber machine guns; two Super Rapid Bloom Offboard Countermeasures (SRBOC) launchers Vessels in this class: • Mellon (WHEC 717) Seattle, Washington • Munro (WHEC 724) Kodiak, Alaska • Midgett (WHEC 726) Seattle, Washington
Offshore Patrol Cutters Offshore Patrol Cutters (OPCs) will provide the midrange capability in the Coast Guard’s layered defense concept, filling the role between the NSC and fast response cutter (FRC) and replacing the service’s two classes of aging medium endurance cutters. The OPC is to feature increased range and endurance, more powerful weapons, a larger flight deck, and improved C4ISR equipment, and will accommodate aircraft and boat operations in higher sea states. In September 2016, the Coast Guard awarded the Phase II contract to Eastern Shipbuilding Group, Inc., for production of the lead OPC and options for up to nine OPCs. Construction of the first OPC, Argus, began in January 2019. The first OPC is scheduled for delivery in 2022. The Coast Guard is naming the ships after significant cutters in its history. Vessels in this class: • Argus (WMSM 915) • Chase (WMSM 916) • Ingham (WMSM 917) • Rush (WMSM 918) • Pickering (WMSM 919) • Icarus (WMSM 920) • Active (WMSM 921) • Diligence (WMSM 922) • Alert (WMSM 923) • Vigilant (WMSM 924) • Reliance (WMSM 925)
295-foot Cutter Eagle (WIX) The tall ship Eagle is a three-masted sailing barque with 21,350 square feet of sail, homeported at the Coast Guard Academy, New London, Connecticut. It is the only active (operational) commissioned sailing vessel in the U.S. maritime services. Seventh in a line of cutters to bear its name, the CGC Eagle was built in 1936 by Blohm and Voss in Hamburg, Germany, as a training vessel for German naval cadets. It was taken as a war prize in 1946, commissioned into Coast Guard service as the Eagle, and sailed from Bremerhaven, Germany, to New London, Connecticut. The Eagle serves as a seagoing classroom for approximately 175 cadets and instructors from the academy. On the Eagle, cadets apply the navigation, engineering, and other skills they develop in classes at the academy. Eagle’s hull is built of steel, four-tenths of an inch thick. It has two full-length steel decks with a platform deck below and a raised forecastle and quarterdeck. The weather decks are 3-inch-thick teak over steel. When homeported, the Eagle is moored at the Fort Trumbull State Park on the Thames River. Eagle completed a four-year refit and renovation program in April 2018. • Length: 295 feet • Beam: 39 feet • Displacement: 1,824 tons full load • Power plant: Diesel, one shaft, 1,000 bhp, 21,350-square-foot sail area
• Speed: 10 knots under power; 16 knots under sail • Range: 5,450 nautical miles under power Vessel in this class: • Eagle (WIX 327) New London, Connecticut
Medium Endurance Cutter, 282-foot Alex Haley class (WMEC) The cutter Alex Haley (WMEC 39) is a one-of-a-kind Coast Guard ship, named for the service’s first chief journalist, who later wrote Roots and won a Pulitzer Prize. Commissioned in 1971 as the Navy salvage and rescue ship USS Edenton (ATS 1), the vessel was transferred to the Coast Guard in November 1997 for conversion into a medium endurance cutter. The cutter’s primary missions are law enforcement, domestic fisheries enforcement, and SAR in Alaskan waters. With a crew of 99, the ship can accommodate a single H-65 Dolphin or MH-60 Jayhawk. • Length: 282 feet • Beam: 50 feet
Coast Guard OUTLOOK
• Displacement: 3,000 tons full load • Power plant: Four Caterpillar diesels, two shafts; bow thruster • Speed: 16 knots • Range: 10,000 nautical miles at 13 knots • Armament: Two Mk. 38 25 mm cannons; two .50-caliber machine guns Vessel in this class: • Alex Haley (WMEC 39) Kodiak, Alaska
Medium Endurance Cutters, 270-foot Famous class (WMEC) The first of 13 Famous-class cutters, the Bear (WMEC 901), entered service in 1983, and these ships have become a familiar sight on the world’s oceans ever since. Together with the 14 Reliance-class vessels, Famous-class cutters are the service’s primary tools for law enforcement, counterdrug, and SAR missions. These ships are the most modern and advanced medium endurance cutters, with a modern weapons and sensor suite. They have long been equipped with a Command, Display, and Control
U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO BY PETTY OFFICER 2ND CLASS PATRICK KELLEY
PHOTO BY MARK FARMER
CGC Alex Haley (COMDAC) computerized ship control system that was significantly updated in the 1990s and makes these ships effective with smaller crews. Famous-class ships operate with a crew of 100. Armament includes a Mk. 75 76 mm fully automatic gun capable of firing up to 80 rounds per minute. The Shipboard Command and Control System (SCCS) uses radar, LORAN (long range navigation), and GPS (Global Positioning System) technologies. SCCS is an integrated and sophisticated system that brings the ship’s electronic resources together to facilitate operations. Famous-class cutters are able to land, launch, and service the H-65 Dolphin, and some can also operate the Jayhawk. A Dolphin and a five-member aviation detachment usually deploy with the ship. The cutter’s active stabilization system extends the operating parameters of the cutter aircraft team by providing a stable platform for flight evolutions during rough sea conditions. This allows the cutters to serve the vital role of search and rescue in almost any storm or location. For law enforcement boardings, these cutters carry a 23-foot overthe-horizon cutterboat and a 19-foot rigid-hull inflatable boat. Under the Mission Effectiveness Project (MEP), Famous-class cutters received capability enhancements, major maintenance, and replacement of obsolete, unsupportable, or maintenanceintensive equipment, which included installing improved C4ISR suites. The Reliance-class ships also underwent MEP. All 270-foot cutters finished their MEP in September 2014, ensuring their operational reliability until their replacement by the offshore patrol cutter.
• Length: 270 feet • Beam: 38 feet • Displacement: 1,820 tons full load • Power plant: Two 3,650-hp V-18 Alco diesel engines, two shafts • Speed: 20 knots • Range: Just under 3,800 nautical miles at 19.5 knots; 9,900 nautical miles at 12 knots • Armament: One Mk. 75 76 mm gun, two .50-caliber machine guns, two SRBOC launchers Vessels in this class: • Bear (WMEC 901) Portsmouth, Virginia • Tampa (WMEC 902) Portsmouth, Virginia • Harriet Lane (WMEC 903) Portsmouth, Virginia • Northland (WMEC 904) Portsmouth, Virginia • Spencer (WMEC 905) Boston, Massachusetts • Seneca (WMEC 906) Boston, Massachusetts • Escanaba (WMEC 907) Boston, Massachusetts • Tahoma (WMEC 908) Kittery, Maine • Campbell (WMEC 909) Kittery, Maine • Thetis (WMEC 910) Key West, Florida • Forward (WMEC 911) Portsmouth, Virginia • Legare (WMEC 912) Portsmouth, Virginia • Mohawk (WMEC 913) Key West, Florida
Juniper-class buoy tenders are seagoing Coast Guard cutters responsible for maintaining short- and long-range ATON such as fixed structures and buoys. They have replaced the aging Balsam class of World War II-era buoy tenders. Buoy tenders provide light ice breaking in ice-laden domestic waters. Buoy tenders are multi-mission vessels, and conduct maritime law enforcement, homeland security, and defense operations, as well as provide search and rescue assistance should the need arise. The 225-foot Juniper class’ twin diesel engine propulsion system supplies the speed and maneuverability necessary to tend coastal and offshore buoys in exposed locations. Perhaps the most important advance is the use of a new Dynamic Positioning System (DPS). DPS uses a differential GPS to fix positions. Using this technology, the crews are able to maintain the vessel’s position within a 10-meter circle in winds of up to 30 knots and waves of up to 8 feet. The Juniper-class cutters are undergoing
Coast Guard OUTLOOK
midlife renovation under the In-Service Vessel Sustainment (ISVS) program. • Length: 225 feet • Beam: 46 feet • Displacement: 2,000 tons • Buoy deck area: 2,875 square feet • Power plant: Two Caterpillar 3608 diesels, one shaft, 6,200 bhp • Speed: 15 knots • Range: 6,000 nautical miles at 12 knots • Armament: Two .50-caliber machine guns Vessels in this class: • Juniper (WLB 201) Honolulu, Hawaii • Willow (WLB 202) Charleston, South Carolina • Kukui (WLB 203) Sitka, Alaska • Elm (WLB 204) Astoria, Oregon • Walnut (WLB 205) Honolulu, Hawaii
U.S. NAVY PHOTO BY CHIEF PETTY OFFICER BILL MESTA
Seagoing Buoy Tenders, 225-foot Juniper class (WLB)
• Spar (WLB 206) Kodiak, Alaska • Maple (WLB 207) Atlantic Beach, North Carolina • Aspen (WLB 208) San Francisco, California • Sycamore (WLB 209) Duluth, Minnesota • Cypress (WLB 210) Pensacola, Florida • Oak (WLB 211) Newport, Rhode Island • Hickory (WLB 212) Homer, Alaska • Fir (WLB 213) Cordova, Alaska • Hollyhock (WLB 214) Port Huron, Michigan • Sequoia (WLB 215) Apra Harbor, Guam • Alder (WLB 216) Duluth, Minnesota
U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTOGRAPH
Medium Endurance Cutters, 210-foot Reliance class (WMEC) The 14 Reliance-class cutters work alongside the Famousclass ships, carrying out primarily law enforcement and search and rescue missions. The 210-foot ships were the first true post-World War II Coast Guard cutters. Outwardly, these ships reflect evolving Coast Guard operations during the latter part of the 20th century – sleek lines, flight decks, and a high pilothouse giving the bridge crew excellent allaround visibility. They do not have helicopter hangars but each can operate a single H-65 Dolphin on deck. Crew complement is 77. Although lightly armed, these cutters were designed to carry additional armament including a 3-inch gun, a total of
six .50-caliber machine guns, an SQS-17 sonar (later suggestions included using an SQS-36), an anti-submarine projector (Hedgehog), and/or two torpedo launchers. None of this additional armament was ever actually installed. From 1986 to 1996, ships of this class underwent a midlife maintenance availability to upgrade machinery and equipment. There were 16 Reliance-class cutters, but budget cuts prompted the decommissioning of the Courageous (WMEC 622) and the Durable (WMEC 628) in 2001. To prolong the longevity of the remaining cutters, the Coast Guard began the MEP in 2005 to increase operational availability by installing capability enhancements, performing major maintenance, and replacing obsolete, unsupportable, or maintenance-intensive equipment. The successful conclusion of the MEP in September 2014 ensures the operational reliability of these cutters until replacement by the offshore patrol cutter. • Length: 210 feet • Beam: 34 feet • Displacement: 1,000 tons • Power plant: Two Alco 16V-251 diesel engines, two shafts, 5,000 bhp • Speed: 18 knots • Range: 6,100 nautical miles at 12 knots • Armament: One Mk. 38 25 mm cannon and two .50-caliber machine guns
U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO BY PETTY OFFICER 3RD CLASS DUSTIN R. WILLIAMS
CGC George Cobb
Coast Guard OUTLOOK
• Steadfast (WMEC 623) Warrenton, Oregon • Dauntless (WMEC 624) Galveston, Texas • Venturous (WMEC 625) St. Petersburg, Florida • Dependable (WMEC 626) Little Creek, Virginia • Vigorous (WMEC 627) Little Creek, Virginia • Decisive (WMEC 629) Pensacola, Florida • Alert (WMEC 630) Warrenton, Oregon
U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO BY PETTY OFFICER 3RD CLASS TOM ATKESON
Vessels in this class: • Reliance (WMEC 615) Kittery, Maine • Diligence (WMEC 616) Pensacola, Florida • Vigilant (WMEC 617) Patrick Air Force Base, Florida • Active (WMEC 618) Port Angeles, Washington • Confidence (WMEC 619) Port Canaveral, Florida • Resolute (WMEC 620) St. Petersburg, Florida • Valiant (WMEC 621) Miami Beach, Florida
U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO
Coastal Buoy Tenders, 175-foot Keeper class (WLM) The 175-foot Keeper-class coastal buoy tenders are a new era in buoy tending, equipped with Z-drive propulsion units instead of the standard propeller and rudder configuration. The propulsion units are designed to independently rotate 360 degrees. Combined with a thruster in the bow, they give the Keeper-class cutters unmatched maneuverability. With state-of-the-art electronics and navigation systems including DPS, which uses differential GPS and electronic chart displays, it is possible to maneuver and position navigation aids with a smaller crew. Carrying a crew of 24, ships in this class are named for well-known lighthouse keepers. Although not classified as icebreakers, these ships can move through 9 inches of ice at 3 knots. • Length: 175 feet • Beam: 36 feet • Displacement: 845 tons • Power plant: Two Caterpillar 3508TA diesels, two Ulstein Z-drive, 2,040 bhp • Speed: 12 knots • Range: 2,000 nautical miles at 10 knots Vessels in this class: • Ida Lewis (WLM 551) Newport, Rhode Island • Katherine Walker (WLM 552) Bayonne, New Jersey • Abbie Burgess (WLM 553) Rockland, Maine • Marcus Hanna (WLM 554) South Portland, Maine • James Rankin (WLM 555) Baltimore, Maryland • Joshua Appleby (WLM 556) St. Petersburg, Florida • Frank Drew (WLM 557) Portsmouth, Virginia
• Anthony Petit (WLM 558) Ketchikan, Alaska • Barbara Mabrity (WLM 559) Mobile, Alabama • William Tate (WLM 560) Philadelphia, Pennsylvania • Harry Claiborne (WLM 561) Galveston, Texas • Maria Bray (WLM 562) Atlantic Beach, Florida • Henry Blake (WLM 563) Everett, Washington • George Cobb (WLM 564) San Pedro, California
Inland Construction Tenders (WLIC) The Coast Guard’s inland construction tenders are broken into three classes, all designed for the construction, repair, and maintenance of fixed ATON and all operating on inland waters. The 160-foot WLICs are single units without barges. The 75-foot WLICs push either a 68- or 84-foot construction barge. The one 100-foot WLIC pushes a 70-foot construction barge. The barges are equipped with cranes and other ATON equipment to drive piles and work the smaller-sized buoys. The earliest of these tenders date to the 1940s and have crews of 13 to 15. The Coast Guard is looking to select a design for a new standardized vessel to replace the aging tenders, the waterways commerce cutter, and issued a Request for Information in February 2018.
160-FOOT WLIC CLASS: • Length: 160 feet • Beam: 30 feet • Displacement: 411 tons • Power plant: Two Caterpillar D379 diesels, two shafts, 1,000 bhp
CGC Penobscot Bay
Vessels in the 160-foot WLIC class: • Pamlico (WLIC 800) New Orleans, Louisiana • Hudson (WLIC 801) Miami Beach, Florida • Kennebec (WLIC 802) Portsmouth, Virginia • Saginaw (WLIC 803) Mobile, Alabama
100-FOOT WLIC CLASS: • Length: 100 feet • Beam: 24 feet • Displacement: 178 tons • Power plant: Two Caterpillar 3412, two shafts, 1,250 bhp • Speed: 10 knots • Range: 1,200 nautical miles at 7 knots Vessel in the 100-foot WLIC class: • Smilax (WLIC 315, oldest commissioned cutter) Atlantic Beach, North Carolina
75-FOOT WLIC CLASS: • Length: 75 feet • Beam: 22 feet • Displacement: 145 tons • Power plant: Two Caterpillar D353, two shafts, 750 hp; or two Caterpillar 3412 or V1312TI, two shafts, 1,250-1,350 hp
Coast Guard OUTLOOK
• Speed: 10 knots • Range: 1,050-1,300 nautical miles at 9 knots; 2,400-2,500 nautical miles at 5 knots Vessels in the 75-foot WLIC class: • Anvil (WLIC 75301) Charleston, South Carolina • Hammer (WLIC 75302) Mayport, Florida • Sledge (WLIC 75303) Baltimore, Maryland • Mallet (WLIC 75304) Corpus Christi, Texas • Vise (WLIC 75305) St. Petersburg, Florida • Clamp (WLIC 75306) Galveston, Texas • Hatchet (WLIC 75309) Galveston, Texas • Axe (WLIC 75310) Morgan City, Louisiana
Ice Breaking Tugs, 140-foot Bay class (WTGB) The 140-foot Bay-class cutters are single-screw tugs used primarily for domestic ice breaking duties. They are named after American bays and are stationed mainly in the northeastern United States and the Great Lakes. They use a lowpressure-air hull lubrication or bubbler system that forces air and water between the hull and ice. This system improves ice breaking capabilities by reducing resistance against the hull, thereby reducing horsepower requirements. A 120-foot ATON barge augments the cutters Bristol Bay and Mobile Bay. The Bay-class cutters are undergoing a midlife renovation project under the ISVS program to renew the most elderly or vulnerable components. • Length: 140 feet • Beam: 37.5 feet • Displacement: 662 tons full load
COAST GUARD PHOTO BY PETTY OFFICER 3RD CLASS SETH JOHNSON
• Speed: 11 knots • Range: 1,205 nautical miles at 6.5 knots
• Power plant: Two Fairbanks-Morse diesel engines, electric drive, one shaft, 2,500 shp • Speed: 14.7 knots • Range: 1,500 nautical miles at 14.7 knots; 4,000 nautical miles at 12 knots
mission. Barge lengths vary: 90 feet, 99 feet, and 130 feet. Like the inland construction tenders, the river buoy tenders may be replaced by variants of the waterways commerce cutter.
75-FOOT KANKAKEE-CLASS RIVER BUOY TENDERS: Vessels in this class: • Katmai Bay (WTGB 101) Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan • Bristol Bay (WTGB 102) Detroit, Michigan • Mobile Bay (WTGB 103) Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin • Biscayne Bay (WTGB 104) St. Ignace, Michigan • Neah Bay (WTGB 105) Cleveland, Ohio • Morro Bay (WTGB 106) New London, Connecticut • Penobscot Bay (WTGB 107) Bayonne, New Jersey • Thunder Bay (WTGB 108) Rockland, Maine • Sturgeon Bay (WTGB 109) Bayonne, New Jersey
• Length: 75 feet • Beam: 22 feet • Displacement: 175 tons • Power plant: Two Caterpillar 3412 diesels, two shafts, 1,024 bhp • Speed: 10 knots • Range: 600 nautical miles at 10 knots Vessels in this class: • Kankakee (WLR 75500) Memphis, Tennessee • Greenbrier (WLR 75501) Natchez, Mississippi
USCGAUX PHOTO BY LEN SCHULTE
River Buoy Tenders (WLR) The Coast Guard operates 18 tenders of 75-foot and 65-foot lengths on rivers in the western United States, deploying ATON buoys and day boards to mark river channels and to ease the efficient flow of commerce. WLRs push barges equipped with cranes that work ATON. Some WLRs are equipped with “jetting” devices that are used to set and anchor buoys in rivers with sandy or muddy bottoms. The barges are an integral part of the ATON
75-FOOT GASCONADE-CLASS RIVER BUOY TENDERS: • Length: 75 feet • Beam: 22 feet • Displacement: 140 tons • Power plant: Two Caterpillar D353 diesels, two shafts, 660-750 hp; or two Caterpillar 3412, two shafts, 1,250 hp
CGC Sangamon • Speed: 10 knots • Range: 3,100 nautical miles at 6.5 knots Vessels in this class: • Wedge (WLR 75307) Demopolis, Alabama • Gasconade (WLR 75401) Omaha, Nebraska • Muskingum (WLR 75402) Sallislaw, Oklahoma • Wyaconda (WLR 75403) Dubuque, Iowa • Chippewa (WLR 75404) Buchanan, Tennessee • Cheyenne (WLR 75405) St. Louis, Missouri • Kickapoo (WLR 75406) Vicksburg, Mississippi • Kanawha (WLR 75407) Pine Bluff, Arkansas • Patoka (WLR 75408) Greenville, Mississippi • Chena (WLR 75409) Hickman, Kentucky
• Scioto (WLR 65504) Keokuk, Iowa • Osage (WLR 65505) Sewickley, Pennsylvania • Sangamon (WLR 65506) East Peoria, Illinois
Inland Buoy Tenders, large-small (WLI)
100-FOOT INLAND BUOY TENDERS: • Length: 100 feet • Beam: 24 feet • Displacement: 174 tons full load • Power plant: Two diesels, two shafts, 600-660 bhp • Speed: 10.5 knots • Range: 2,000-2,700 nautical miles at 7 knots
65-FOOT CLASS RIVER BUOY TENDERS:
Vessels in this class: • Ouachita (WLR 65501) Chattanooga, Tennessee • Cimarron (WLR 65502) Buchanan, Tennessee • Obion (WLR 65503) Owensboro, Kentucky
Coast Guard OUTLOOK
Vessels in this class: • Bluebell (WLI 313) Portland, Oregon • Buckthorn (WLI 642) Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan
65-FOOT INLAND BUOY TENDERS: • Length: 65 feet • Beam: 17 feet • Displacement: 71 tons • Power plant: Two GM diesels, two shafts, 400 hp (WLI 65401) • Speed: 11.3 knots (WLI 65401)
U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO BY SEAMAN PAUL JIRASEK
• Length: 65 feet • Beam: 21 feet • Displacement: 145 tons • Power plant: Two Caterpillar D353 diesels, two shafts, 660-725 hp • Speed: 10 knots • Range: 3,500 nautical miles at 6 knots
CGC Elderberry • Range: 1,700 nautical miles at 6 knots Vessels in this class: • Bayberry (WLI 65400) Long Beach, North Carolina • Elderberry (WLI 65401) Petersburg, Alaska
PATROL BOATS The diverse range of Coast Guard duties is reflected dramatically by the number and variety of its patrol boats, which are assigned to most of the service’s missions. Island-class cutters are high-speed vessels that offer an operating radius of almost 1,000 nautical miles, making them highly effective for illegal immigrant interdiction operations and a range of other duties. However, the aging Island-class cutters are being replaced by the fast response cutter. Eighty-seven-foot Marine Protectorclass vessels have an IEBS (integrated electronic bridge system) and a stern-launched rigid-hull inflatable boat useful for various duties including carrying boarding crews.
Fast Response Cutters, 154-foot Sentinel class (WPC) The Sentinel class is a key component of the Coast Guard’s recapitalized fleet and is critically needed to replace the aging 110-foot Island-class patrol boat fleet. The first cutter in this class, Bernard C. Webber, was delivered in February 2012. To honor past Coast Guard members, each fast response cutter (FRC) in this class will be named for one of the service’s many enlisted heroes. These cutters will be able to deploy independently to conduct the service’s missions, such as ports, waterways, and coastal security; fishery patrols; drug and migrant interdiction; law enforcement; SAR; and national defense operations. The cutters’ C4ISR suites will be completely interoperable with U.S. Navy, Coast Guard, Department of Defense, and Department of Homeland Security assets. The 154-foot cutters have a speed of more than 28 knots and are based on an existing patrol boat design from Damen Shipyards. This vessel class is planned for a total of 58 patrol boats.
• Manufacturer: Bollinger Shipyards Inc. • Parent craft designer: Damen • Length: 154 feet • Beam: 25 feet • Displacement: 353 metric tons • Power plant: Two 4,300-kW MTU diesel engines • Speed: 28-plus knots • Endurance: five days • Crew: 24 (four officers, 20 enlisted) • Armament: One stabilized 25 mm machine gun mount and four non-stabilized crew-served .50-caliber machine guns Vessels in this class: • Bernard C. Webber (WPC 1101) Miami Beach, Florida • Richard Etheridge (WPC 1102) Miami Beach, Florida • William Flores (WPC 1103) Miami Beach, Florida • Robert Yered (WPC 1104) Miami Beach, Florida • Margaret Norvell (WPC 1105) Miami Beach, Florida • Paul Clark (WPC 1106), Miami Beach, Florida • Charles David Jr. (WPC 1107) Key West, Florida • Charles Sexton (WPC 1108) Key West, Florida • Kathleen Moore (WPC 1109) Key West, Florida
Coast Guard OUTLOOK
• Raymond Evans (WPC 1110) Key West, Florida • William Trump (WPC 1111) Key West, Florida • Isaac Mayo (WPC 1112) Key West, Florida • Richard Dixon (WPC 113) San Juan, Puerto Rico • Heriberto Hernandez (WPC 1114) San Juan, Puerto Rico • Joseph Napier (WPC 1115) San Juan, Puerto Rico • Winslow Griesser (WPC 1116) San Juan, Puerto Rico • Donald Horsley (WPC 1117) San Juan, Puerto Rico • Joseph Tezanos (WPC 1118) San Juan, Puerto Rico • Rollin Fritch (WPC 1119) Cape May, New Jersey • Lawrence Lawson (WPC 1120) Cape May, New Jersey • John McCormick (WPC 1121) Ketchikan, Alaska • Bailey Barco (WPC 1122) Ketchikan, Alaska • Benjamin Dailey (WPC 1123) Pascagoula, Mississippi • Oliver Berry (WPC 1124) Honolulu, Hawaii • Jacob Poroo (WPC 1125) Pascagoula, Mississippi • Joseph Gerczak (WPC 1126) Honolulu, Hawaii • Richard Snyder (WPC 1127) Atlantic Beach, North Carolina • Nathan Bruckenthal (WPC 1128) Atlantic Beach, North Carolina • Forrest Rednour (WPC 1129) San Pedro, California
U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO BY PETTY OFFICER 3RD CLASS MARK BARNEY
CGC Isaac Mayo
CGC Liberty • Robert Ward (WPC 1130) San Pedro, California • Terrell Horne III (WPC 1131) San Pedro, California • Benjamin Bottoms (WPC 1132) San Pedro, California • Joseph Doyle (WPC 1133) San Juan, Puerto Rico • William Hart (WPC 1134) Honolulu, Hawaii • Angela McShan (WPC 1135) Cape May, New Jersey • Daniel Tarr (WPC 1136) Galveston, Texas
U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO/PA3 ROB SIMPSON
Patrol Boats, 110-foot Island class (WPB) The Coast Guard 110-foot Island-class patrol boats are modified versions of a well-regarded British-designed patrol boat. These ships have excellent range and seakeeping capabilities, but are wearing out rapidly and are to be replaced by the FRC. Seventeen 110-foot WPBs were renovated under the MEP to ensure the 110-foot WPB fleet remains a reliable entity until the arrival of the FRC. The MEP was completed in 2012. Built in the late 1980s, they are equipped with advanced electronics and navigation equipment. WPBs are being decommissioned as more FRCs join the fleet, and this list of Island-class vessels remaining in commission is drawn from information available at time of writing.
• Length: 110 feet • Beam: 21 feet • Displacement: 154-165 tons • Power plant: Two Alco-Paxman Valenta diesel engines, 5,820 bhp • Speed: 28 to 30 knots • Range: 3,380 nautical miles at 8 knots • Armament: One Mk. 38 25 mm cannon; two .50-caliber machine guns Vessels in this class: • Maui (WPB 1304) Manama, Bahrain • Ocracoke (WPB 1307) South Portland, Maine • Aquidneck (WPB 1309) Manama, Bahrain • Mustang (WPB 1310) Seward, Alaska • Naushon (WPB 1311) Homer, Alaska • Sanibel (WPB 1312) Woods Hole, Massachusetts • Baranof (WPB 1318) Manama, Bahrain • Chandeleur (WPB 1319) Valdez, Alaska • Cuttyhunk (WPB 1322) Port Angeles, Washington • Key Largo (WPB 1324) Gloucester, Massachusetts • Monomoy (WPB 1326) Manama, Bahrain • Orcas (WPB 1327) Coos Bay, Oregon • Sitkinak (WPB 1329) Bayonne, New Jersey • Tybee (WPB 1330) Woods Hole, Massachusetts • Washington (WPB 1331) Apra Harbor, Guam
• Wrangell (WPB 1332) Manama, Bahrain • Adak (WPB 1333) Manama, Bahrain • Liberty (WPB 1334) Auke Bay, Alaska • Anacapa (WPB 1335) Petersburg, Alaska • Kiska (WPB 1336) Santa Rita, Guam
Coastal Patrol Boats, 87-foot Marine Protector class (WPB) The Marine Protector is an innovative, multi-mission class of vessel capable of performing search and rescue, law enforcement, fishery patrols, drug interdiction, illegal immigrant interdiction, and homeland security duties up to 200 miles offshore. The 73 cutters in this class each carry an 11-person crew and are capable of achieving a maximum continuous speed of 25 knots. The class offers numerous improvements over the former 82-foot Point-class vessels, including improved seakeeping abilities (up to sea state 5), enhanced habitability, and compliance with current and projected environmental protection laws. The Marine Protector class also employs an innovative stern launchand-recovery system using aluminum-hulled cutterboats propelled by inboard diesel-powered waterjets. The vastly larger pilothouse is equipped with an integrated bridge system, including an ECDIS (electronic chart display system), which interfaces with surface search radars used by U.S. warships. Four were built specifically to protect Navy ballistic missile submarines while they are in transit in and out of Kings Bay, Georgia, and Bangor, Washington. Production was completed in 2009. • Length: 87 feet • Beam: 19.4 feet • Displacement: 91 tons full load • Power plant: Two MTU 8V diesel engines • Speed: 25 knots • Range: 900 nautical miles Vessels in this class: • Barracuda (WPB 87301) Eureka, California • Hammerhead (WPB 87302) Woods Hole, Massachusetts • Mako (WPB 87303) Cape May, New Jersey • Marlin (WPB 87304) Fort Myers Beach, Florida • Stingray (WPB 87305) Mobile, Alabama • Dorado (WPB 87306) Crescent City, California • Osprey (WPB 87307) Port Townsend, Washington • Chinook (WPB 87308) New London, Connecticut • Albacore (WPB 87309) Little Creek, Virginia • Tarpon (WPB 87310) Tybee Island, Georgia • Cobia (WPB 87311) Mobile, Alabama • Hawksbill (WPB 87312) Monterey, California • Cormorant (WPB 87313) Fort Pierce, Florida • Finback (WPB 87314) Cape May, New Jersey • Amberjack (WPB 87315) Port Isabel, Texas • Kittiwake (WPB 87316) Honolulu, Hawaii • Blackfin (WPB 87317) Santa Barbara, California • Bluefin (WPB 87318) Fort Pierce, Florida • Yellowfin (WPB 87319) Charleston, South Carolina • Manta (WPB 87320) Freeport, Texas • Coho (WPB 87321) Panama City, Florida
Coast Guard OUTLOOK
• Kingfisher (WPB 87322) Mayport, Florida • Seahawk (WPB 87323) Carrabelle, Florida • Steelhead (WPB 87324) Port Aransas, Texas • Beluga (WPB 87325) Little Creek, Virginia • Blacktip (WPB 87326) Oxnard, California • Pelican (WPB 87327) Abbeville, Louisiana • Ridley (WPB 87328) Montauk, New York • Cochito (WPB 87329) Little Creek, Virginia • Manowar (WPB 87330) Galveston, Texas • Moray (WPB 87331) Jonesport, Maine • Razorbill (WPB 87332) Gulfport, Mississippi • Adelie (WPB 87333) Port Angeles, Washington • Gannet (WPB 87334) Dania, Florida • Narwhal (WPB 87335) Corona Del Mar, California • Sturgeon (WPB 87336) Grand Isle, Louisiana • Sockeye (WPB 87337) Bodega Bay, California • Ibis (WPB 87338) Cape May, New Jersey • Pompano (WPB 87339) Gulfport, Mississippi • Halibut (WPB 87340) Marina Del Rey, California • Bonito (WPB 87341) Pensacola, Florida
U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO/PA3 ROB SIMPSON
CGC Crocodile • Shrike (WPB 87342) Port Canaveral, Florida • Tern (WPB 87343) San Francisco, California • Heron (WPB 87344) Sabine, Texas • Wahoo (WPB 87345) Port Angeles, Washington • Flyingfish (WPB 87346) Boston, Massachusetts • Haddock (WPB 87347) San Diego, California • Brant (WPB 87348) Corpus Christi, Texas • Shearwater (WPB 87349) Portsmouth, Virginia • Petrel (WPB 87350) San Diego, California • Sea Lion (WPB 87352) Bellingham, Washington • Skipjack (WPB 87353) Galveston, Texas • Dolphin (WPB 87354) Miami, Florida • Hawk (WPB 87355) St. Petersburg, Florida • Sailfish (WPB 87356) Sandy Hook, New Jersey • Sawfish (WPB 87357) Key West, Florida • Swordfish (WPB 87358) Port Angeles, Washington • Tiger Shark (WPB 87359) Newport, Rhode Island • Blue Shark (WPB 87360) Everett, Washington • Sea Horse (WPB 87361) Portsmouth, Virginia • Sea Otter (WPB 87362) San Diego, California
• Manatee (WPB 87363) Corpus Christi, Texas • Ahi (WPB 87364) Honolulu, Hawaii • Pike (WPB 87365) San Francisco, California • Terrapin (WPB 87366) Bellingham, Washington • Sea Dragon (WPB 87367) Kings Bay, Georgia (Navy owned) • Sea Devil (WPB 87368) Bangor, Washington (Navy owned) • Crocodile (WPB 87369) St. Petersburg, Florida • Diamondback (WPB 87370) Miami Beach, Florida • Reef Shark (WPB 87371) San Juan, Puerto Rico • Alligator (WPB 87372) St. Petersburg, Florida • Sea Dog (WPB 87373) Kings Bay, Georgia (Navy owned) • Sea Fox (WPB 87374) Bangor, Washington (Navy owned)
65-foot Small Harbor Tugs (WYTL) Built between 1962 and 1967, the small, 65-foot harbor tugs are multi-mission cutters that have the distinction of being used only on the East Coast, from Maine to Virginia. With a crew of
47-foot Motor Lifeboat
• Length: 65 feet • Beam: 16 feet • Displacement: 72 tons full load • Power plant: One diesel, one shaft, 500 bhp • Speed: 10 knots • Range: 850 nautical miles at 9.8 knots; 2,700 nautical miles at 5.8 knots Vessels in this class: • Capstan (WYTL 65601) Philadelphia, Pennsylvania • Chock (WYTL 65602) Baltimore, Maryland • Tackle (WYTL 65604) Rockland, Maine • Bridle (WYTL 65607) Southwest Harbor, Maine • Pendant (WYTL 65608) Boston, Massachusetts • Shackle (WYTL 65609) South Portland, Maine • Hawser (WYTL 65610) Bayonne, New Jersey • Line (WYTL 65611) Bayonne, New Jersey
Coast Guard OUTLOOK
• Wire (WYTL 65612) Saugerties, New York • Bollard (WYTL 65614) New Haven, Connecticut • Cleat (WYTL 65615) Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
BOATS Coast Guard vessels under 65 feet in length are classified as boats and usually operate near shore, on inland waterways, or attached to cutters. The service has about 1,689 altogether, although the number fluctuates. These craft include heavyweather response boats, special purpose craft, ATON boats, and cutter-based boats. Sizes range from 64 feet in length down to 12 feet. The new emphasis on homeland security has produced a corresponding emphasis on smaller, fast boats such as the Response Boat-Small and Response Boat-Medium. An added capability for the ATON forces is the procurement of new work boats that replaced those that have exceeded their economic service life and are no longer cost effective to maintain. The new boats brought into service are ATON Boat-Small (AB-S), a 20-foot aluminum hull with a range of 70 nautical miles, and ATON Boat-Skiff (AB-SKF), a 16-foot aluminum hull
U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO BY CHIEF PETTY OFFICER DAVID MOSLEY
six, their primary missions are domestic ice breaking, port security, search and rescue, and law enforcement operations on rivers and in littoral areas. They are capable of breaking ice up to 12 inches thick.
25-foot Response Boat-Small II
with a range of 50 nautical miles. Both boats are outfitted with standard electrical systems and ample working deck space. Coast Guard boats include:
U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO BY PETTY OFFICER 2ND CLASS TARA MOLLE
47-foot Motor Lifeboat (MLB) The 47-foot MLB is primarily designed as a fast-response rescue vessel in high seas, surf, and heavy weather environments. But the unique feature of this boat is that it can self-right in only 30 seconds if knocked over by waves or surf. With stateof-the-art electronically controlled engines, fuel management systems, and integrated electronics suite, the 47-foot MLB has become the ideal platform for operations in extreme sea and weather conditions. The 47-foot MLBs are undergoing refit and renovation under the ISVS project. There are currently 107 MLBs in inventory.
45-foot Response Boat-Medium (RB-M) The 45-foot RB-M replaced the 41-foot Utility Boat (UTB) and other non-standard boats. It is an all-aluminum boat that
has a wireless crew communication system and is powered by twin diesel engines and water jet propulsion. Unlike the 41-foot UTB, the RB-M has the ability to self-right if it should ever capsize. This feature allows the RB-M to operate in higher seas, ensuring the crew (and rescued survivors) comes home safely. For example, RB-Ms are an offshore asset and the survivability parameters are 12-foot seas and 50 knots of wind, whereas the UTBâ€™s limits were 8-foot seas and 30 knots of wind. The RB-M has a top speed in excess of 40 knots and cruises at 30 knots, compared to the 41-foot UTBâ€™s top speed of 26 knots.
25-foot Response Boat-Small II (RB-S II) The 25-foot Response Boats-Small II (RB-S II) perform port and waterway security, search and rescue, drug and migrant interdiction, environmental, and other law enforcement missions. The second-generation RB-S IIs replaced the original RB-S classes. The RB-S IIs are 29 feet long and have a range of 220 nautical miles. The final RB-S II was delivered in November 2019, bringing the fleet up to 370 boats.
33-foot Special Purpose Craft
32-foot Transportable Port Security Boat (TPSB) Operated by port security units (PSUs), which are composed of Reserve and active-duty personnel, the TPSB provides for defense readiness operations in the United States and when PSUs are deployed overseas. It travels at 43-plus knots and carries a .50-caliber machine gun and two M60 machine guns. There are 52 in operation.
unique operating environment. A few of these boats are: 64-foot Screening Vessel; 52-foot Heavy Weather; 42-foot Near Shore Lifeboat; 36-foot Boarding Team Delivery; 33-foot Law Enforcement; 24-foot Shallow Water; skiffs that can be used to support natural disaster response; and ice boats that are used for conducting ice rescues.
These boats assist in maintaining the nearly 50,000 navigation aids on the marine transportation system. They include the 64-foot Self-Propelled Barge that primarily operates on protected rivers and protected waters; 55-foot aluminum hull that can operate in moderately rough weather in coastal and inland waters; 49-foot Stern Loading Buoy boat that supports the short-range ATON mission; 26-foot Trailerable ATON boat that serves as the workhorse for ATON teams; 20-foot ATON Boat-Small; and 16-foot ATON Boat-Skiff.
The cutterboats provide fast and effective surface capabilities that, in most cases, enable cutters to interdict boats on the high seas and conduct boardings. Included in this asset base are: 38-foot Arctic Survey Boat; 36-foot Long Range Interceptor; 35-foot Long Range Interceptor II; 24-foot Cutter Boat-Large; 24-foot ATON-Large; 24-foot Over-theHorizon and 26-foot Over-the-Horizon IV; 18-foot ATONMedium; 18-foot Cutter Boat-Medium; and 13-foot Cutter Boat-Small, just to name a few.
27-foot Utility Boat-Medium 18- to 64-foot Special Purpose Craft The special purpose craft are designed to meet specific mission requirements or provide a capable and safe asset in a
Coast Guard OUTLOOK
With a closed cabin, these aluminum-hulled boats are used for law enforcement, search and rescue, or ATON missions. They are being replaced by standard boats.
U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO BY PETTY OFFICER 1ST CLASS BRANDYN HILL
14- to 38-foot Cutter-based Boats 16- to 64-foot Aids to Navigation Boats
HC-144A Ocean Sentry
17- to 28-foot Utility Boat-Light (UTL) With generally an open cabin, these boats are either fiberglass or aluminum hulled and are assigned to ATON cutters and shore units.
U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO BY DAVE SILVA
AIRCRAFT The Coast Guard operates approximately 200 fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft – airplanes and helicopters – to support its work as a law enforcement arm, a military service branch, and a seafaring service. Nearly all Coast Guard aircraft have some role in homeland security operations, and some are now armed. The Coast Guard operates its aviation fleet on the principle that it cannot afford a fleet of aircraft intended solely for specialized missions, and has concentrated on aircraft that can carry out a wide range of diversified missions.
HC-144A/B Ocean Sentry, Medium Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) A medium-range maritime patrol version of the EADS CASA CN 235-300M cargo aircraft, the HC-144 is performing missions previously carried out by the HU-25 fleet as well as surveillance, search and rescue, and transport roles performed by the HC-130Hs. The HC-144 provides extended on-scene loitering capabilities while also being capable of performing maritime patrol, law enforcement, SAR, disaster response, and cargo and personnel transport missions. The Ocean Sentry also is capable of maintaining secure communications with the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and allied forces. The HC-144A – equipped with a new C4ISR suite, radar and electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensor mission systems pallet – is designed to serve as an on-scene command platform for SAR and homeland security operations and perform transport missions.
• Power plant: Two 1,750 shp (1,305 kW) General Electric CT7-9C3 turboprop engines • Maximum cruising speed: 236 knots • Range: up to 2,000 nautical miles (depending on configuration) • Range with payload: (6,000 pounds) 1,000 nautical miles (cargo configured) • Max endurance: 11.0 hours • Maximum takeoff weight: 36,380 pounds
Coast Guard OUTLOOK
• Dimensions: Length, 70 feet, 2 inches; wingspan, 84 feet, 7 inches
C-27J Medium Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft The Coast Guard is integrating 14 ex-U.S. Air Force C-27J Spartan aircraft into its medium-range surveillance aircraft fleet to work alongside the Ocean Sentry. The C-27Js are already outfitted with weather radar and military communications equipment capable of supporting transport and other Coast Guard missions. All 14 aircraft are planned to be missionized with a system based on the Minotaur mission system, incorporating sensors; radar; and command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance equipment. Six C-27Js are operating out of Air Station Sacramento, California. Seven aircraft are stationed at the HC-27J APO (Asset Project Office) in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Aircraft completing the missionization program will be designated HC-27J. • Length: 74 feet, 5 inches • Wingspan: 94 feet, 2 inches
COAST GUARD PHOTO BY LT. SCOTT HANDLIN
The Coast Guard completed planned work under this project with the delivery of its 18th HC-144A in September 2014. Ocean Sentries are currently operating from Coast Guard air stations Mobile, Alabama; Cape Cod, Massachusetts; Miami, Florida; and Corpus Christi, Texas. Procurement has ended in light of the acquisition of 14 C-27J Spartans. Currently the fleet is being upgraded to HC-144B standard, with integration of the Minotaur Mission System and a new cockpit control and display unit (CAU) under the Ocean Sentry Refresh program. The Coast Guard converted its sixth HC-144B aircraft in October 2019.
C-37A Gulfstream V • Height: 31 feet, 8 inches • Weight: 70,000 pounds • Speed: 290 knots • Range: Up to 2,674 nautical miles • Endurance: 12 hours • Ceiling: 30,000 feet
C-37A Gulfstream V Command and Control Aircraft The service operates two Gulfstream V aircraft as its principal command and control transport for senior Coast Guard and Department of Homeland Security officials. On long flights, the C-37A can carry 12 passengers and a crew of four with a range of 6,500 nautical miles, all with considerable fuel efficiency. The C-37A enjoys commonality of parts and supplies with more than a dozen C-37As operated by the other military branches. • Power plant: Two 14,750-pound thrust BMW/ Rolls-Royce BR710-48 turbofan engines • Max cruising speed: Mach 0.885/459 knots • Certified ceiling: 51,000 feet • Range: 5,500 nautical miles • Gross weight: 90,900 pounds • Dimensions: Wingspan, 93 feet, 6 inches; length, 96 feet, 5 inches; height, 25 feet, 10 inches
U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO
HC-130H Hercules and HC-130J Super Hercules, Long Range Surveillance (LRS) Aircraft The Coast Guard currently operates a long-range turboprop aircraft fleet consisting of HC-130H Hercules and HC-130J Super Hercules. However, the HC-130H Hercules aircraft are reaching the end of their useful service lives. The Coast Guard conducted a limited sustainment and enhancement project to modernize
systems on its HC-130Hs and is continuing with the planned acquisition of 22 of the more capable and cost-effective HC-130J. The remaining HC-130Hs will be systematically retired as the HC-130Js are accepted into service. The HC-130 provides a versatile platform capable of serving as an on-scene command-and-control platform with extended loitering capabilities as well as performing various missions, including maritime patrol, law enforcement, search and rescue, disaster response, and cargo and personnel transport. As a surveillance platform, it provides the critical means to detect, classify, and identify targets. For each of these missions, the information is shared with operational forces capable of interdicting drugs or migrants, protecting living marine resources, and enforcing economic, safety, and security zones. The HC-130 uses a powerful multimode surface-search radar and a nose-mounted EO/IR device combined with an Airborne Tactical Workstation and military satellite communications capability to improve mission effectiveness. The service’s HC-130Js will employ the Minotaur Mission System; newer aircraft are being produced with the system while older aircraft are being backfitted. • Power plant: Four 4,910-hp Allison T56-A15 turboprop engines (HC-130H); four 5,600-hp Rolls-Royce AE2100D turboprop engines driving six-bladed propellers (HC-130J) • Performance: Cruising speed, 280 knots/max 320 knots; service ceiling, 33,000 feet; range, up to 4,300 nautical miles (HC-130H); cruising speed, 280 knots/max 362 knots; service ceiling, 39,000 feet; range, up to 5,200 nautical miles (HC-130J) • Weight: Maximum gross weight at takeoff, 155,000 pounds; normal max 175,000 pounds (EWP-Emergency War Power)
• Dimensions: Wingspan, 132.6 feet; length, 99.6 feet; height, 38.6 feet; wing area, 1,734 square feet
MH-60T Jayhawk Medium Range Recovery Helicopter An all-weather, medium range recovery helicopter similar to the Navy MH-60R and MH-60S Sea Hawk, with roots going back to the Army’s basic H-60 Black Hawk transport, the Coast Guard MH-60 is a medium range recovery helicopter that is capable of a variety of missions. The service began to operate the aircraft in 1990 as a replacement for the now-retired HH-3F Pelican. The Coast Guard has 45 MH-60Ts at time of writing. Jayhawks are crewed by two pilots, a flight mechanic, and a rescue swimmer, and can carry up to six seated survivors. It is capable of limited shipboard operations as well as land-based operations out to 300 nautical miles, with a 45-minute on-scene time.
Coast Guard OUTLOOK
The MH-60T employs full night-vision-device capability. Primary tactical navigation is accomplished through blended GPS and inertial navigation system receivers. In addition to a rescue hoist – rated for 600 pounds – the Jayhawk is equipped with a heavy-lift external sling with a capacity of 6,000 pounds. The MH-60 carries sensors and equipment for SAR missions, law enforcement, and homeland security missions. Upgrades completed in 2008 providing armed response capability precipitated an airframe designation from HH-60J to MH-60J. The MH-60T is an upgrade of the MH-60J with “glass” cockpit, new EO/IR sensors, new radar, and upgrades to the engines. All MH-60Ts are equipped with Airborne Use of Force (AUF) capabilities. These upgraded MH-60Ts are expected to serve until 2027. Plans are to proceed with a Service Life Extension program (SLEP) upgrade for the fleet to keep it flying until replacement by an aircraft derived from the Future Vertical Lift program.
U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO BY PETTY OFFICER 1ST CLASS JONATHAN HARPER
U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO BY PETTY OFFICER 1ST CLASS BRADLEY PIGAGE
MH-60T Jayhawk • Power plant: Two 1,560-shp General Electric T700-GE-401C turboshaft engines • Dimensions: Rotor diameter: 53 feet, 8 inches; length, 64 feet, 8 inches; height, 17 feet; main rotor disc area, 2,261 square feet • Performance: Maximum speed, 180 knots; service ceiling, 5,000 feet, hovering; range, 700 nautical miles • Weights: Empty, 14,500 pounds; gross weight, 21,884 pounds • MH-60 Armament: .50-caliber precision fire weapon, M240 7.62 mm machine gun
MH-65 Dolphin Short Range Recovery Helicopter The H-65 Dolphin is the Coast Guard’s oldest and most numerous current helicopter, dating to the 1980s when it was selected for the short range rescue mission, and one of the service’s first
helicopters without the capability to perform water landings. The H-65 is a short-range recovery aircraft. This twin-engine, single-rotor helicopter is certified for all weather and nighttime operations, but it is prohibited from flying under known icing conditions. The strengths of this aircraft include its speed, flexibility, and integrated electronics package. The H-65 is the Coast Guard’s standard shipboard deployable aircraft and operates from all flight deck-equipped cutters. Navigation inputs are processed through a central mission computer unit, which can generate search patterns from pilot-provided input. This minimizes the attention needed to navigate the aircraft and maximizes search effectiveness. Endurance of the H-65 is limited, with a maximum endurance profile at 75 knots of 3.5 hours. The aircraft can sprint at speeds up to 165 knots for short periods and sustain speeds of more than 140 knots. An AUF capability was added to all H-65s, resulting in their redesignation as MH-65C. The MH-65C also obtained SATCOM capability, an integrated EO/IR system, and an NVG heads up display (HUD) to help pilots maintain situational awareness
U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO BY AUX. WILLIAM GREER
MH-65D Dolphin during nighttime operations. The MH-65s used by Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron, or HITRON, Jacksonville, Florida, for counterdrug operations carry an M240 machine gun and an M107 .50-caliber precision fire weapon for disabling fire. The MH-65D is the result of the latest incremental modernization project, Segment 4 of a six-segment modernization plan, which commenced in August 2010, was completed in December 2015, and will extend the aircraft’s service life through 2027. It addresses immediate critical mission degraders as well as replacing additional obsolete subsystems, including the aircraft’s navigation system and gyros, with digital GPS and inertial navigation. It adds a new digital Automatic Flight Control System, integrated flight deck with sensor display screens, and a robust, effective C4ISR suite. The service’s final MH-65D upgrade was completed in December 2015. Segment 5 will add a secure shipboard handling, securing, and traversing system. Segment 6, which brings the fleet to MH-65E standard, will replace the analog automatic flight
control with digital systems, and install digital weather radar and digital glass cockpit instruments, among other modernization upgrades. Data applies to MH-65C/D: • Power plant: HH-65C – two 853-shp Turbomeca Arriel 2C2-CG turboshaft engines • Performance: Maximum speed, 175 knots; cruising speed, 120 knots; operational ceiling, approximately 10,000 feet; range, 375 nautical miles • Weights: Empty weight, 6,200 pounds; max gross weight, 9,480 pounds • Dimensions: Main rotor diameter, 39 feet, 2 inches; main rotor disc area, 1,204 square feet; length, 44 feet, 4 inches; height, 13 feet, 4 inches • MH-65C Armament: .50-caliber precision fire weapon, M240B 7.62 mm machine gun
COAST GUARD PHOTO BY LT. SCOTT HANDLIN
A Coast Guard C-27J aircrew, assigned to Coast Guard Air Station Sacramento, flies over San Francisco, California, during area familiarization training, Feb. 6, 2018.