Friday, August 11, 2017

HEART OF OAK: EARLY HISTORY OF THE BRITISH NAVY

THE STORY OF THE 400 YEAR OLD STRUGGLE OF THE BRITISH NAVY AND THE NAVY'S ROLE IN BRINGING GREAT BRITAIN INTO THE FIRST RANK OF NATIONS IN THE MODERN WORLD

File:John Hawkins.JPG
QUEEN ELIZABETH I                                    SIR JOHN HAWKINS

"As treasurer (1577) and comptroller (1589) of the Royal Navy, Hawkins rebuilt older ships and helped design the faster ships that withstood the Spanish Armada in 1588. One of the foremost seamen of 16th-century England, Hawkins was the chief architect of the Elizabethan navy. In the battle in which the Spanish Armada was defeated in 1588, Hawkins served as a vice admiral. He was knighted for gallantry. He later devised the naval blockade to intercept Spanish treasure ships leaving Mexico and South America."-Wikipedia
File:1590 or later Marcus Gheeraerts, Sir Francis Drake Buckland Abbey, Devon.jpg

"Sir Francis Drakevice admiral (c. 1540 – 28 January 1596[3]) was an English sea captainprivateernavigatorslaver[4]and politician of the Elizabethan era. Drake carried out the second circumnavigation of the world in a single expedition, from 1577 to 1580, and was the first to complete the voyage as captain while leading the expedition throughout the entire circumnavigation."
Elizabeth I of England awarded Drake a knighthood in 1581. He was second-in-command of the English fleet against the Spanish Armada in 1588 and a cousin and close confidant of Hawkins."  From Wikipedia

 The people depicted above and whose biographies are linked to took a rag tag aging, and tiny English Navy and started it on its way to becoming a global force which would propel Great Britain into the first rank of nations. HEART OF OAK   is an entertaining but historically accurate video that tells the story of the early rise of the British Navy,  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZcKgDRqpMlo. Every Naval history buff should see HEART OF OAK   then stay tuned for the various episodes of EMPIRE OF THE SEAS which follow and bring the story into modern times.

Click here to begin: HEART OF OAK  

Friday, August 4, 2017

IS THE COAST GUARD TOO "CUTTER CENTRIC"? THE GREAT CATFISH EXPLAINS AND DIRECTS YOUR ATTENTION TO A REFERENCED EXPLANATION.

THE GREAT CATFISH RECOMMENDS A NEW LOOK AT COAST GUARD PLATFORMS AND ATTITUDES

NAMAZU, RETIRED JAPANESE GIANT CATFISH DEMIGOD TURNED MARITIME ANALYST
Greetings Bipeds!

 As most of you know by now I'm 3,000 years old and rather fond of tradition and traditional values. But times and circumstances do change and sometimes certain traditions and traditional attitudes no longer serve the needs of the day. I think sailors are wise in usually resisting change until all the evidence for the need is in. However, I do believe that once the need for change is demonstrated change has to be embraced. Sometimes traditionalists embrace totally new and novel approaches in the very name of tradition. One example that I've written about in recent times is the Coast Guard's fixation on its "Deep Water" fleet replacement project. This project is giving the Coast Guard for the first time in over two centuries its own purpose built fleet. The traditionalist fully embrace this initiative which is bringing new cutters into the fleet built from the keel up to Coast Guard specifications. These same traditionalists "cuttermen" seem to have abandoned a tradition centuries in the making. "Craft of Opportunity", sometimes commercial conversions, once captured "rum runners", naval surplus vessels filled out underfunded Coast Guard vessel needs for most of the service's existence one of the many factors that led to the formulation of the old Coast Guard enlisted slogan:

   We the willing, led by the inept, serve the ungrateful. We have been doing so much for so long with so little, that we are now capable of doing almost anything with nothing" .

 The Coast Guard leadership, especially the cutterman community both officer and enlisted seem to have tossed out the old motto for fear that this institutional talent of the Coast Guard, if discovered by Congress, could lead to budget cuts that would endanger the purpose built fleet. This is especially true in the area of ice breaking capacity. Not only has the Coast Guard failed to come up with an affordable purpose built design to increase this much needed service capacity, the service was reluctant to accept Navy assistance in the acquisition process. Some inexpensive commercial conversions are readily apparent on the market that could increase the ice breaker numbers as well as capacities even if each such craft of opportunity was perfect for each task. 

 In the NAVAL INSTITUTE'S PROCEEDINGS , August 2017 edition Lt. David Allan Adams, Jr, USCG takes issue with the entire cutter centric service culture . He notes the many emerging Coast Guard missions that might be better served by other platforms be they high speed smaller vessels, helicopters or other air craft, or even Department of Defense systems. He notes the rise in demand for the Coast Guard's "DOG FORCES" ( Deployable Operations Groups ) and the rising cost of both cutter acquisition, and up keep as well as cutter inefficiencies for certain missions. Among his observations: 

"....today, there are no longer times of war buffered by periods of peace. Instead, these two environments are now dangerously mixed in the “gray zone.” This unique environment demands a unique response that combines the capabilities of both a law enforcement agency and a counter terrorism, special missions team."


"In 2008, Admiral Thad Allen, when taking the helm as commandant of the Coast Guard, understood that we needed “to bring the Coast Guard into the 21st century” and “make it more responsive to the needs of the nation.” He noted that modernization alone would not suffice and that the Coast Guard must be a “change-centric organization.” His Intent to Action Order #1 was to set up the Deployable Operations Group (DOG) to provide properly equipped, trained, and organized Deployable Specialized Forces to Coast Guard, DHS, DOD, and interagency operational and tactical commanders. 10 His attempt to change the way the Coast Guard does business had “many senior officers wringing their hands” but sparked enthusiasm in younger Coasties—enlisted and officer alike." 11

"The Government Accountability Office recently pointed out that the “Coast Guard still has difficulty determining whether it has the right resources for the right missions at the right time . . . which puts the service at risk of repeating past mistakes as it continues to modernize and upgrade its aging flee"

 There will be those who will find the young lieutenant "out of line", and thinking "above his pay grade", and "disrespectful of tradition". As a 3,000 year old observer of history I usually fall into that group....but not this time. The U.S. Coast Guard is taking too long to assert the strong presence in the High Arctic that the United States must have. Domestic port security is not what it should be , and when its time to "loose the 'DOGS' " they seem to be too often either a DOG short or short of a delivery capability of the "DOG" to the scene. Your damn near infallible Catfish urges Coastie policy makers, POTUS, and Congress to read and give careful consideration to "

Coast Guard Is More Than Cutters, now available at: https://www.usni.org/magazines/proceedings/2017-08/coast-guard-more-cutters?utm_source=U.S.+Naval+Institute&utm_campaign=87b809d3fe-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_05_10&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_adee2c2162-87b809d3fe-222746633&mc_cid=87b809d3fe&mc_eid=[UNIQID

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

HAPPY BIRTHDAY US COAST GUARD August 4, 1790-August 4, 2017

ON AUGUST 4,1790 THE ANCESTRAL SERVICE OF THE U.S. COAST GUARD WAS FOUNDED IT WOULD NOT TAKE THE NAME "U.S. COAST GUARD" HOWEVER UNTIL 1915.

U.S. Revenue Cutter MASSACHUSETTS entered service 1791 Image USCG, (USCG notes one historic inaccuracy Revenue Ensign and commissioning pennant were not adopted until 1799 after the first MASSACHUSETTS left the service.)


American Admiralty Books Safety & Privacy Policies   EU VISITORS WARNING POSSIBLE COOKIES AHEAD


"In 1790, the First Congress of the United States established a small maritime law enforcement component within the Treasury Department to assist in collecting the new Nation’s customs duties. For the next eight years, this Revenue Marine (later called the Revenue Cutter Service) was the Nation’s only naval force and was soon assigned military duties. Over time, the Revenue Cutter Service merged with or absorbed other federal agencies. The Service acquired new responsibilities based upon its ability to perform them with existing assets and minimal disruption to its other duties. In some cases, the Service absorbed other agencies because their maritime responsibilities were seen as intersecting with or complementing its own. The result is today’s U.S. Coast Guard—a unique force that carries out an array of civil and military responsibilities touching every facet of the maritime environment of the United States." From Coast Guard Publication 1   Feb. 2014. http://www.uscg.mil/doctrine/CGPub/Pub_1.pdf

 The modern day Coast Guard evolved and continues to evolve by the absorption of unique maritime security related missions. In its earliest days some missions were actually assigned to other federal agencies often organized along para-naval lines. The most notable among these predecessor agencies were the U.S. Life Saving Service and the U.S. Light House Service. From its first founding the Revenue Marine was statutorily a part of the Navy in war time but at the moment of its founding there was no standing Navy the Revolutionary Navy having been disbanded. Despite the constitutional requirement for Congress to "maintain a navy", the new navy would not come into existence until some time after the founding of the "Revenue Marine". For a time the ten armed cutters of the "RMS" were the only armed public vessels of the United States. But while the RMS officers held naval rank and the crews held naval ratings, the service could only function under naval direction in war time because it was primarily a law enforcement agency. There early on was a reluctance to utilize military personnel in law enforcement in the United States and eventually it would become a statutory prohibition called the Posse Comitatus Act. So the "Revenue Marine" would continue as a naval auxiliary military service but would be housed in the Treasury Department vice the War or Navy Departments. The entire service or any component within it could be transferred to naval control in war or upon order of the President of the United States. 

Parallel with the development of the military / law enforcement agency known as the "Revenue Marine" other federal maritime agencies of a quasi naval character were evolving. The U.S. Light House Service evolved from the United States Lighthouse Establishment (USLHE)also serving under the treasury department and founded in 1789. Officers of the Revenue Marine served on the Light House Board.  The highly disciplined U.S. Life Saving Service was also evolving parallel with the Revenue Marine. On 28 January 1915, the service was merged by an act of Congress with the United States Life-Saving Service to form the United States Coast Guard. The U.S. Coast Guard would then go on to absorb several other federal marine safety and security related agencies including the U.S. Light House Service. 

 Many of the civil missions of these "predecessor agencies" once brought under the administration of the newly formed "U.S. Coast Guard" became not only domestic waters civil missions but also naval combat support missions. The institutional experience of the Coast Guard in saving lives through heavy surf was translated in World War Two into amphibious warfare roles involving the use of landing craft through surf. In Vietnam not only was the U.S. Coast Guard's expertise in board and search operations honed on its domestic law enforcement missions brought into play, but also the Guard provided aids to navigation services within the combat zone, again a domestic civil mission with military utility.  January 28, 2015 was the 100th anniversary of the U.S. Coast Guard name , Today August 4th, 2015 is the 225 anniversary of the founding of the Revenue Marine , considered the primary predecessor agency and long celebrated as the "Birthday" of the U.S. Coast Guard, now a 100 year old brand. 

                                            HAPPY BIRTDACOAST GUARD!