Thursday, February 7, 2013

2/7/2013 Defense utility of Coast Guards


Hello Again English speaking Bipeds. Let us continue our discussion of the naval challenges to, and potential corrective measures of, the collective sea power of the democratic English speaking nations.
In previous installments I gave you a tour of the wide spread demands for naval presence and operations around the world and described some of the "hot spots" where the demand level could increase instantly, including to naval shooting war status over night. Yesterday we took a look at the gross estimated combined combatant ship count for the English speaking naval powers. I think it was clear from the ship count that the English speaking world , once the premier sea power, is now more than a few cards short of a full deck for the game being imposed by the Thug states and their fellow travelers. Of the more than 56 nations in the world where English is at least an official language only a handful as pointed out in yesterday's post actually maintain and operate real navies. Some are not coastal states at all, but most that are coastal states operate some type of coast guard. Coast Guards are an important part of overall sea power and today I'd like to introduce you to their role and do a little inventory of how you English speaking bipeds are fixed for coast guards.

 Many of the English speaking nations have civilian coast guard organizations, others have coast guard organizations only engaged in search and rescue and aids to navigation duties, still others have armed police or military coast guards and the United States Coast Guard is legally both an armed maritime military service and a police/regulatory agency, most unique within the American government. Among Coast Guards its size is remarkable yet  America finds it a bit too small of late in terms of covering all of the bases. There is a request by Congress for a "persistent Coast Guard presence" on the Rio Grande where certain Texas counties are over run by drug and human traffickers from Mexico with the deadly Zata Cartel. The Coast Guard has not been able to respond to the satisfaction of Texas which launched its own virtual Coast Guard manned by armed police officers of the Texas Highway Department and the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife. Despite requests by Congress (but no funds) there is still  no year round presence in American Arctic waters.As large as the service is, the coast lines and inland waterways of the country are so large and face so many challenges that the service is still a bit too small for its mission set. Yet look at it size:

U.S.Coast Guard:
Armed Military Service with Law enforcement and Regulatory powers:
244 named Cutters (over 65ft, some as large as frigates and destroyers
1,850 boats
41,833 active duty uniformed personnel
8,000 selected military reserve personnel
30,000 uniformed civilian volunteer auxiliaries
204 air craft

 Let,s compare the U.S.Coast Guard to some of the Worlds navies:

#1 U.S.Navy 317,000 uniformed regulars, 108,718 ready reserve military personnel, 285 combatant ships including 11 big deck air craft carriers

#2 China: 250,000 men more than 522 combat vessels and 219 auxiliary support ships Ranked second in this comparison for having fewer uniformed personnel, only 1 aircraft carrier so far, and 332 ships being rated "coastal combat". In total however they have twice the ships of the U.S. Navy and every one of those "coastal combat" ships is viable in the East and South China Seas. They can't come hunt down the U.S. Navy yet, but they are extremely dangerous out to the first island chain where they are presently bullying their neighbors

#3 INDIA: 58,000 uniformed members about 100+ ships of varying quality but constantly improving and increasing, Inventory includes one Aircraft Carrier and nuclear submarines presently expanding.

#4 Japan. 45,000 uniformed personnel 48 surface combatant ships  and 21 submarines.
* U.S. Coast Guard 41,873 uniformed personnel ( plus 8,100 reserves and 30,000 auxiliary volunteers) 244 named cutters, 204 aircraft.  Based strictly on personnel strength and ship numbers the U.S. Coast Guard would be the World's fifth largest navy and proibably the third largest naval air service. However someof the "Cutters" such as coastal and sea going buoy tenders would be classed as auxiliaries,Quite a few of the combatant craft would be considered "coastal", but the Coast Guard has a history of successfully transporting some of its "coastal fleet" to distant theaters of war and operating quite successfully.
#5 Great Britain: 35,000 uniformed personnel, 77 combatant ships, 19 auxiliaries

#6 Australia: 16,000 uniformed members, 51 combatant ships.

Now lets look at some of the USCG inventory

File:USCGC Hamilton (WHEC-715).jpgUSCG National Security Cutter BERTHOLF (WMSL-750).jpeg USCG Polar Star Famous-class cutter USCGC Thetis (WMEC 910)

USCGC Mackinaw  
USCG WPB 87301 Barracuda - at speed.jpg

 USCGC Eagle under sailCoast Guard Boat in Morro Bay.jpgA USCG 41 ft (12 m) UTB underway.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words so we thought we'd skip the thousand words of explanation and just let the pictures and the statistics speak for them selves. Clearly the U.S. Coast Guard is a serious naval service that on the present day world scale is a respectable top navy in its own right. It is seperate and distinct from the U.S. Navy because of its unique mix of public safety, law enforcement, and regulatory missions. However the service is also a most important naval auxiliary from which the President may draw resources and put them at the service of the Navy temporarily or the Congress in war time may transfer the entire Coast Guard to the Navy/Marine Corps Department. When examining naval auxiliary services the term "coast guard" in the English speaking world has many connotations. In the English speaking world some are paramilitary, armed, and work in close coordination with naval forces, in others these are strictly search and rescue volunteer organizations and all variants in between. Outside of the English speaking world quite a few nations maintain a serious navy and serious separate coast guard, Italy being a prime example. Japan and S. Korea also come closer to the American model than most English speaking nations. But armed or not, military or not we have not finished the inventory of potential collective English speaking sea power until we have examined your Coast Guard and Coast Guard like organizations. We'll pick up again with this shortly.


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