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Leveraging Unmanned Systems for Coast Guard Missions (2020)

Chapter: 2 U.S. Coast Guard and Its Vital Missions

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Suggested Citation:"2 U.S. Coast Guard and Its Vital Missions." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Leveraging Unmanned Systems for Coast Guard Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25987.
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2

U.S. Coast Guard and Its Vital Missions

The United States is a maritime nation. The country’s maritime domain is varied and immense. It consists of thousands of miles of navigable river channels; nearly 400 harbor and port complexes on rivers, lakes, and oceans; more than 95,000 miles of coastline; and about 4.5 million square miles of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Artic Oceans, Gulf of Mexico, and Great Lakes.1 Responsibility for ensuring the safety, security, and economic and environmental stewardship of this vast maritime domain rests largely with the U.S. Coast Guard.

Founded in 1790, the Coast Guard’s first mission, as part of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, was to enforce compliance with the nation’s customs duties.2 Over the next century its revenue functions were supplemented by many new responsibilities, including safeguarding the U.S. coasts and maritime community from piracy and providing steamship inspection (vessel safety), lighthouse (navigation), and life-saving (search and rescue) services. Its missions continued to expand during its next 100 years, as it was called on to protect other U.S. interests, including fisheries and other marine resources, the marine environment, the integrity of the EEZ, and the nation’s defense in concert with the U.S. Navy and other military services. These varied missions have led to a modern Coast Guard with a unique

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1 U.S. Coast Guard. 2012. Publication 3-0. “Operations.” https://www.work.uscg.mil/Portals/6/Documents/PDF/CGPub_3-0.pdf?ver=2016-10-20-091037-843.

2 U.S. Coast Guard Historian’s Office. “Timeline 1700’s-1800’s.” https://www.history.uscg.mil/Complete-Time-Line/Time-Line-1700-1800.

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Suggested Citation:"2 U.S. Coast Guard and Its Vital Missions." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Leveraging Unmanned Systems for Coast Guard Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25987.
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blend of military, law enforcement, environmental stewardship, and humanitarian assistance capabilities and cultures.

This chapter begins with background on the Coast Guard’s statutory missions, which now total 11. An appreciation of the sheer number, complexity, and diversity of these missions is essential for understanding (1) the ways in which unmanned systems (UxSs) could be deployed by the Coast Guard; (2) where their use could present operational and other practical challenges; and (3) why interest in UxS could be Service-wide, such as to augment a uniformed force and traditional assets stretched thin by so many varied mission responsibilities.

Following the description of the 11 statutory missions, the chapter describes the Coast Guard’s organizational structure. The regionally-based command structure is designed to provide the Coast Guard with an ability to operate effectively and efficiently both domestically and globally. Most of the Coast Guard’s operations, and thus most of its forces and assets, are deployed by these regional commands. Accompanying these commands are several other Coast Guard units that provide mission support functions such as acquisitions, engineering and logistics, force readiness, cyberspace capability, and communications and information technology. Therefore, the chapter provides background information on several units that would play an important role in any expanded use of UxS.

The chapter ends by noting the Coast Guard’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 budget and how it is allocated across statutory missions and how it compares to the budgets of the other military branches. The budget is an important consideration because spending on UxSs usually constitutes a new expenditure and UxSs are sometimes viewed as a means for the Coast Guard to accomplish more with a limited budget.

STATUTORY MISSIONS

A unique instrument of national power, the Coast Guard is one of the six armed forces of the United States. The Coast Guard also serves as a first responder, law enforcement agency, maritime regulator, and member of the intelligence community. Located within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, most of the Coast Guard’s missions are unique and distinct from those of the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD). The Coast Guard’s 11 statutory missions are as follows:3

  1. Port, Waterways and Coastal Security
  2. Drug Interdiction

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3 This section draws information from the Coast Guard website at https://www.gocoastguard.com/about-the-coast-guard/discover-our-roles-missions.

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Suggested Citation:"2 U.S. Coast Guard and Its Vital Missions." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Leveraging Unmanned Systems for Coast Guard Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25987.
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  1. Aids to Navigation (ATON)
  2. Search and Rescue (SAR)
  3. Living Marine Resources
  4. Marine Safety
  5. Defense Readiness
  6. Migrant Interdiction
  7. Marine Environmental Protection
  8. Ice Operations
  9. Other Law Enforcement

Port, Waterways and Coastal Security4

The Port, Waterways and Coastal Security mission seeks to prevent and disrupt terrorist attacks, sabotage, espionage, and other subversive acts on population centers, vessels, and critical infrastructure in the maritime domain. Activities in fulfillment of this mission include performing vulnerability assessments and preparedness planning and exercises, establishing and enforcing security zones, approving and enforcing compliance with area-wide and vessel- and facility-specific security plans, escorting vessels that carry dangerous cargos or high numbers of passengers, and conducting harbor patrols and boardings of high-interest vessels, which imply vessels, cargos, and/or crews that might pose security risks to the United States.5 This mission requires intelligence support to identify these higher-risk vessels.

Drug Interdiction6

The Coast Guard is the lead federal agency for drug interdiction on the high seas. In pursuit of this mission, the Coast Guard seeks to deter and disrupt the smuggling of illegal drugs into the United States through at-sea interdiction and seizure of smuggling vessels, typically in the offshore area. These operations involve Coast Guard cutters and aircraft patrolling the high seas to provide a persistent presence for detection and monitoring, as well as vessel boardings by deployable specialized forces for interdiction,

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4 This section draws information from the Coast Guard website at https://www.gocoastguard.com/about-the-coast-guard/discover-our-roles-missions/ports-waterway-security.

5 Examples of high-interest vessels are barges or ships carrying liquefied petroleum gas, liquefied natural gas, or any other cargo deemed to be of high risk by the Captain of the Port. Any high-interest vessel entering or departing the United States is subject to Coast Guard security boardings.

6 This section draws information from the Coast Guard website at https://www.gocoastguard.com/about-the-coast-guard/discover-our-roles-missions/drug-interdiction.

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Suggested Citation:"2 U.S. Coast Guard and Its Vital Missions." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Leveraging Unmanned Systems for Coast Guard Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25987.
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apprehension, and evidence retrieval.7 The operations also depend on intelligence support, given the need to target the deployment of resources within the vast 6 million square-mile region of concern.

Aids to Navigation8

The Coast Guard is responsible for ensuring that the country’s aids to navigation network is current and functioning properly to mitigate transit risks and to promote the safe, economic, and efficient movement of military, commercial, and other vessels. To do so, the Coast Guard installs, maintains, and operates more than 45,000 lighted and unlighted buoys and beacons that mark 25,000 miles of U.S. coastal, intracoastal, and inland waters. As part of this mission crews verify the position and condition of the devices; repair or replace devices that are lost or damaged by wind, waves, and storms; and place new devices, such as when channels are relocated and new channels are dredged. This mission also involves monitoring and coordinating marine traffic in key ports and waterways through the Vessel Traffic Service. The Vessel Traffic Service provides active monitoring and navigational advice for vessels in particularly confined and busy waterways. Vessels traveling in these waterways make position reports to a vessel traffic center and are in turn provided with accurate, complete, and timely navigational safety information. The use of surveillance technology and computer-assisted tracking, similar to that used in air traffic control, also allow the Vessel Traffic Service to manage marine traffic and therefore decrease vessel congestion and dangerous encounter situations. To fulfill this service, the Coast Guard operates 12 Vessel Traffic Centers across the country.9

Search and Rescue10

The Coast Guard is the lead agency for maritime SAR in U.S. waters. It executes this mission by planning, coordinating, and conducting SAR efforts using its own surface and airborne units, as well as those of other federal, state, and local responders. These efforts involve not only searching for, locating, and rescuing mariners in distress, but also rescuing people in distress during floods from natural disasters such as hurricanes. The Coast

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7 This section draws information from U.S. Coast Guard. 2012. Publication 3-0. “Operations.” https://www.work.uscg.mil/Portals/6/Documents/PDF/CGPub_3-0.pdf?ver=2016-10-20091037-843.

8 This section draws information from the Coast Guard website at https://www.gocoastguard.com/about-the-coast-guard/discover-our-roles-missions/aids-to-navigation.

9 U.S. Coast Guard. Vessel Traffic Services. https://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=vtsMain.

10 This section draws information from the Coast Guard website at https://www.gocoastguard.com/about-the-coast-guard/discover-our-roles-missions/search-and-rescue.

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Suggested Citation:"2 U.S. Coast Guard and Its Vital Missions." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Leveraging Unmanned Systems for Coast Guard Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25987.
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Guard’s SAR response involves multi-mission stations, cutters, aircraft, and boats that are linked by communications networks.

Living Marine Resources11

The Coast Guard is the lead federal agency for at-sea enforcement of U.S. and international fisheries laws as well as for maintenance of international fisheries agreements. This responsibility is part of its Living Marine Resources mission, which seeks to support conservation and management of living marine resources and their environment, including protected species, protected areas, and critical habitats. In carrying out this mission, Coast Guard personnel observe and board commercial fishing vessels suspected of violating laws that govern fisheries and that protect marine species and habits, and they provide assistance for stranded and entangled marine animals.

Marine Safety12

The Marine Safety mission promotes safety at sea and the prevention of maritime accidents, personnel casualties, and property losses. To fulfill this mission, the Coast Guard investigates maritime accidents and inspects vessels and marine facilities. In addition, the Coast Guard credentials mariners, documents U.S. flagged vessels, and implements a variety of boating safety education and awareness programs. It also establishes safety standards and policies for vessel design and construction, safety equipment, and vessel safety checks. The Coast Guard is the lead U.S. representative to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for establishing international legal regimes for maritime safety.13

Defense Readiness14

The Coast Guard is one of the six services of the U.S. Armed Forces, providing several key defense missions, including maritime intercept operations; deployed port operations, security, and defense; peacetime engagement; and

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11 This section draws information from the Coast Guard website at https://www.gocoastguard.com/about-the-coast-guard/discover-our-roles-missions/living-marine-resources.

12 This section draws information from the Coast Guard website at https://www.gocoastguard.com/about-the-coast-guard/discover-our-roles-missions/marine-safety.

13 This section draws information from U.S. Coast Guard. 2012. Publication 3-0. “Operations.” https://www.work.uscg.mil/Portals/6/Documents/PDF/CGPub_3-0.pdf?ver=2016-1020-091037-843.

14 This section draws information from the Coast Guard website at https://www.gocoastguard.com/about-the-coast-guard/discover-our-roles-missions/defense-readiness.

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Suggested Citation:"2 U.S. Coast Guard and Its Vital Missions." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Leveraging Unmanned Systems for Coast Guard Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25987.
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environmental defense operations. The Coast Guard maintains readiness to carry out these responsibilities by ensuring that its forces and assets are capable, equipped, and well matched to deploy and conduct joint operations with combatant commanders from the U.S. Navy and other military services. These joint missions with other armed forces require extensive interservice integration in logistics and operations. As such, consistent technology capabilities and equipment interoperability are indispensable.

Migrant Interdiction15

As the country’s chief maritime law enforcement agency, the Coast Guard also enforces U.S. immigration laws at sea. It does so by detecting and interdicting undocumented migrants and smugglers as far as possible from the U.S. border, and by denying entry via maritime routes to the United States and its territories. In addition to enforcing U.S. immigration laws, the Coast Guard enforces international conventions against human smuggling through at-sea interdiction. Operations in support of this mission include carrying out patrols—by boat, cutter, or air—in conjunction with other federal agencies, including the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the U.S. Department of State.16

Marine Environmental Protection17

One of the Coast Guard’s environmental stewardship missions is to protect the marine ecosystem by developing and enforcing regulations to prevent and respond to oil and hazardous substance spills in the marine environment, the introduction of invasive species into the maritime environment, and unauthorized ocean dumping. In accordance with the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan, the Coast Guard is responsible for pre-designating the Federal On-Scene Coordinator for maritime pollution incidents. The Coast Guard responds to oil and hazardous substance incidents in the inland, coastal, and offshore operational areas, including by overseeing, directing, and conducting response operations.18

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15 This section draws information from the Coast Guard website at https://www.gocoastguard.com/about-the-coast-guard/discover-our-roles-missions/migrant-interdiction.

16 This section draws information from U.S. Coast Guard. 2012. Publication 3-0. “Operations.” https://www.work.uscg.mil/Portals/6/Documents/PDF/CGPub_3-0.pdf?ver=2016-1020-091037-843.

17 This section draws information from the Coast Guard website at https://www.gocoastguard.com/about-the-coast-guard/discover-our-roles-missions/marine-environmental-protection.

18 This section draws information from U.S. Coast Guard. 2012. Publication 3-0. “Operations.” https://www.work.uscg.mil/Portals/6/Documents/PDF/CGPub_3-0.pdf?ver=2016-1020-091037-843.

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Suggested Citation:"2 U.S. Coast Guard and Its Vital Missions." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Leveraging Unmanned Systems for Coast Guard Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25987.
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Ice Operations19

The Coast Guard is responsible for ice breaking operations in the Great Lakes and Northeast regions to ensure safe maritime commerce, prevent and respond to ice cover that causes flooding, and protect coastal communities in emergencies. This responsibility extends to the polar regions in support of U.S. national security, economic, and scientific interests. The Coast Guard also conducts International Ice Patrol operations in the offshore operational area to monitor and warn mariners of iceberg danger near the Grand Banks of Newfoundland in the Atlantic Ocean. The ice breaking and monitoring mission is conducted using icebreakers, and some other cutters depending on ice thickness, as well as aircraft.

Other Law Enforcement20

Other law enforcement missions of the Coast Guard include deterrence, detection, and interdiction of any illegal foreign fishing vessel making incursions into U.S. waters, including the EEZ.

JOINT, INTERAGENCY, AND INTERNATIONAL OPERATIONS

The scope of the Coast Guard’s 11 missions is extensive, and to conduct their associated operations, the Coast Guard benefits from partnerships with hundreds of federal, state, tribal, and local government organizations.21 These partnerships involve joint (with other military services), interagency, and international collaborations. A noteworthy partnership that combines these three kinds of collaborations is the Joint Interagency Task Force South (JIATF-S)—a naval cooperation that combines personnel and assets from the Navy, the Coast Guard, and civilian law enforcement, working with multinational partners to reduce illicit drug trafficking throughout Central and South America.22

As one of the six branches of the U.S. military, the Coast Guard has the mandate to support DOD worldwide by deploying cutters, boats, aircraft, and deployable specialized forces in and around harbors to protect military mobilization operations in the United States and expeditionary operations overseas, including warfighting forces under combatant commander

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19 This section draws information from the Coast Guard website at https://www.gocoastguard.com/about-the-coast-guard/discover-our-roles-missions/ice-operations.

20 This section draws information from the Coast Guard website at https://www.gocoastguard.com/about-the-coast-guard/discover-our-roles-missions/other-law-enforcement.

21 U.S. Coast Guard. Partnerships. https://www.work.uscg.mil/Partnerships.

22 U.S. Navy. 2015. A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower. https://www.work.uscg.mil/Portals/6/Documents/PDF/21_century_seapower.pdf?ver=2016-10-13-153830-287.

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Suggested Citation:"2 U.S. Coast Guard and Its Vital Missions." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Leveraging Unmanned Systems for Coast Guard Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25987.
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operational control. Carrying out these joint operations requires extensive interservice integration, and to that end, the Coast Guard maintains full interoperability to operate its personnel, assets, and equipment with the other military services at any time.23 These operations also present special logistics needs, especially if deployed to carry out operations in foreign countries.

Interagency coordination with nonmilitary agencies is also a Coast Guard core competency, because many of its operations require close cooperation with other law enforcement and civilian agencies. Two examples illustrate this capability. First, the Security and Accountability for Every Port Act of 2006 mandated the establishment of Interagency Operations Centers (IOCs)24 to plan, coordinate, and execute multi-agency maritime security operations at 37 high-priority U.S. ports.25 The Secretary of Homeland Security delegated the authority to implement this requirement to the Commandant of the Coast Guard, who in 2008 established the program to design, develop, deploy, and operate an information management system to support the IOCs’ functions. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill response in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 provides another example of the Coast Guard’s adeptness at interagency coordination. This vast spill impacted major portions of the coastal and inland areas along the coast of five states, and Coast Guard forces led the largest U.S. interagency response to a spill of national significance.

Other Coast Guard missions, such as Living Maritime Resources in which the Coast Guard enforces compliance with international agreements to deter illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing activity, also benefit from strong collaborations with foreign governments and other international partners. To cultivate international partnerships for its multiple missions, the Coast Guard engages in more than 60 bilateral agreements with partner-nations, participates in the Arctic Coast Guard Forum26 and the North Pacific Coast Guard Forum,27 and assigns Coast Guard personnel at

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23 U.S. Coast Guard. 2012. Publication 3.0. “Operations.” https://www.work.uscg.mil/Portals/6/Documents/PDF/CGPub_3-0.pdf?ver=2016-10-20-091037-843.

24 The IOC is a matrix organization conducting joint planning and assignment of resources to mission demands. https://www.dcms.uscg.mil/Our-Organization/Assistant-Commandant-for-Acquisitions-CG-9/Programs/C4ISR-Programs/IOC-Transitioned-toSustainment.

25 Security and Accountability for Every Port Act of 2006. Section 108—Establishment of interagency operational centers for port security. https://www.congress.gov/109/plaws/publ347/PLAW-109publ347.pdf.

26 A multi-lateral forum that includes Coast Guard−like agencies from Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, and Sweden. https://www.uscg.mil/readings/Article/1548235/partnerships.

27 A multi-lateral forum that includes Coast Guard−like agencies from Canada, China, Japan, Korea, and Russia, which coordinates maritime law enforcement, search and rescue, and environmental response activities. https://www.uscg.mil/readings/Article/1548235/partnerships.

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Suggested Citation:"2 U.S. Coast Guard and Its Vital Missions." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Leveraging Unmanned Systems for Coast Guard Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25987.
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foreign ports, leads U.S. participation in the IMO, and the Coast Guard’s International Mobile Training Branch temporarily deploys to foreign countries under U.S. Department of State direction as requested.

ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE

To perform and support its 11 missions, the Coast Guard assigns both uniformed and civilian personnel to different commands, directorates, and other offices, including the regional commands under which most forces and assets are used to fulfill the Service’s statutory missions. Figure 2-1 illustrates the Coast Guard organizational chart.

The structure of the regional command is summarized next, followed by background on several other Coast Guard operational and mission support units that would have a role in UxS investments.

Regional Commands

Although the Coast Guard’s headquarters is in Washington, DC, its operations are divided into two theater commands: the Atlantic Area and Pacific Area. The two Area Commanders allocate command and control to 9 District Commanders, who in turn assign command and control to 37 Sector Commanders. The number and types of Coast Guard units vary by sector but often include air stations, boat stations, aids to navigation teams, and other special-purpose detachments as discussed below. Figure 2-2 shows the geography of the nine districts, five in the Atlantic Area and four in the Pacific Area. Sector Commanders (holding the rank of Captain) serve in several important capacities, including Captain of the Port (with authority to enforce port safety, security, and marine environmental protection regulations), Officer in Charge of Marine Inspection, Federal On-Scene Coordinator for oil spills, and Search and Rescue Mission Coordinator.28

Other Relevant Operational and Mission Support Units

In addition to the regional commands, other operational and mission support directorates and units report directly to headquarters,29 several of which could be expected to play an important role in supporting UxSs and

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28 This section draws information from U.S. Coast Guard. 2012. Publication 3-0. “Operations.” https://www.work.uscg.mil/Portals/6/Documents/PDF/CGPub_3-0.pdf?ver=2016-1020-091037-843.

29 U.S. Coast Guard. “United States Coast Guard Organization Chart.” https://www.uscg.mil/Units/Organization/#direct.

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Suggested Citation:"2 U.S. Coast Guard and Its Vital Missions." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Leveraging Unmanned Systems for Coast Guard Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25987.
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Image
FIGURE 2-1 Coast Guard organizational chart.
SOURCE: U.S. Coast Guard.30

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30 See https://www.uscg.mil/Units/Organization.

31 U.S. Coast Guard. 2012. Publication 3-0. “Operations.” https://www.work.uscg.mil/Portals/6/Documents/PDF/CGPub_3-0.pdf?ver=2016-10-20-091037-843.

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Suggested Citation:"2 U.S. Coast Guard and Its Vital Missions." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Leveraging Unmanned Systems for Coast Guard Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25987.
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Image
FIGURE 2-2 Coast Guard command and control organization.
SOURCE: U.S. Coast Guard.31

in using them for mission purposes. It is not possible to describe all potentially relevant units here, the following are pertinent examples.

  • Acquisition: The Acquisition Directorate plans and executes the modernization and recapitalization of the Coast Guard’s fleet of vessels and aircraft, other equipment and assets, systems for information technology (IT), communications, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems. The Research and Development (R&D) Office is administered in this directorate.
  • Force Training and Capability: The Assistant Commandant for Capability is responsible for identifying and providing capabilities, competencies, and capacity and for developing standards for staffing, training, equipping, and employing Coast Guard forces to meet mission requirements. The Force Readiness Command
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Suggested Citation:"2 U.S. Coast Guard and Its Vital Missions." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Leveraging Unmanned Systems for Coast Guard Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25987.
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  • develops and maintain plans and policies for training, education, and development programs for personnel.
  • Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Information Technology (C4&IT): The Assistant Commandant for C4&IT designs, develops, deploys, and maintains C4&IT solutions for the entire Coast Guard to enable mission execution.
  • Response Policy: The Assistant Commandant for Response Policy develops policy guidance for Coast Guard forces to accomplish operational maritime missions, provides oversight to ensure successful operational execution, and ensures policy alignment throughout the Service and with other federal and international partners.
  • Intelligence: The Assistant Commandant for Intelligence supports the Coast Guard Intelligence enterprise through planning, policy, programming, budgeting, training, security, and information systems support.
  • Legal: The Judge Advocate General and Chief Counsel provide varied legal functions for the Coast Guard to ensure their missions, operations, and activities are consistent with and achieved under the law. These functions include ensuring that Coast Guard operations, policies, and activities comply with and conform to applicable federal regulations and international treaty standards.

DEPLOYMENT OF ASSETS AND FORCES

The Coast Guard performs all 11 or a subset of its missions in three basic geographic operational areas: inland waters, coastal zones, and offshore. Table 2-1 summarizes the geography of each operational area and the typical Coast Guard asset deployments and activities. These deployments and activities can differ substantially by operational area depending on the size and nature of the particular maritime domain and the missions relevant to that domain. Most of the Coast Guard’s major cutters, for instance, are deployed in the offshore operational area for functions such as national security and law enforcement, while its smaller boats and special purpose vessels, such as tugs and ATON tenders, are stationed on the inland waterways and coastal zones.

Commensurate with these operational areas, Coast Guard forces are divided into three types of operational units: shore-based, maritime patrol, and deployable specialized forces.32

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32 This section draws information from U.S. Coast Guard. 2012. Publication 3-0. “Operations.” https://www.work.uscg.mil/Portals/6/Documents/PDF/CGPub_3-0.pdf?ver=2016-1020-091037-843.

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Suggested Citation:"2 U.S. Coast Guard and Its Vital Missions." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Leveraging Unmanned Systems for Coast Guard Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25987.
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TABLE 2-1 Coast Guard Operational Areas and Associated Assets33

Inland and Coastal Offshore Aviation Capability
Geography Navigable inland waterways and lakes, including major inland ports

From shoreline to 50 nautical miles into the sea, including sea harbors and ports
Beyond 50 nautical miles from the shoreline, including polar regions (some areas cross international waters to the territorial seas of foreign nations where bilateral agreements) Inland, coastal, and offshore
Assets
  • Response and Pursuit Boats
  • Medium-Range Multi-Mission Boats
  • Surf Boats
  • Aids to Navigation Boats
  • Inland and Coastal Construction/Buoy Tenders
  • Icebreaking Tugs
  • Coastal Patrol Boats
  • Patrol Boats
  • Sea Going Buoy Tenders and Great Lakes Icebreaker
  • High-Endurance Fleet
  • Polar Icebreaker Fleet
  • Short-range recovery (375 nautical miles range, 3 hours endurance)
  • Medium-range recovery (700 nautical miles range, 6 hours endurance)
  • Medium-range surveillance (2,200 nautical miles range, 9 hours endurance)
  • Long-range surveillance (5,000 nautical miles range, 20 hours endurance)

Shore-Based Forces

Shore-based forces operate in inland waters and in coastal zones. Capable of conducting a varied set of operations, they are typically deployed in the following units:

  • Boat Stations, which consist of motor lifeboats, rapid response boats, and special purpose craft.
  • Aids to Navigation Teams, which operate navigation boats, such as river, construction, and inland buoy tenders. These teams also support flood recovery.
  • Marine Safety Units and Marine Safety Detachments, which conduct a range of prevention activities, including inspections, casualty investigations, and waterways management.

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33 The information in this table draws from the first two columns in Figure 2 of the following white paper: U.S. Coast Guard. 2013. “America’s 21st Century Coast Guard: Resourcing for Safety, Security and Stewardship.” https://www.uscg.mil/Portals/0/Strategy/2013_USCG_WP.pdf. More information about the Coast Guard assets can be found in the report “The Cutters, Boats, and Aircraft of the U.S. Coast Guard.” https://www.mycg.uscg.mil/Portals/6/Documents/PDF/CG_Cutters-Boats-Aircraft_2015-2016_edition.pdf?ver=2016-10-19-153700-540.

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Suggested Citation:"2 U.S. Coast Guard and Its Vital Missions." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Leveraging Unmanned Systems for Coast Guard Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25987.
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  • Vessel Traffic Services, which facilitate the safe and efficient transit of commercial vessel traffic on high-volume navigation channels.
  • Harbor and Icebreaking Tugs, which keep harbors and channels open for commerce. They also conduct SAR and maritime security patrols.

Maritime Patrol Forces

Although they can operate in inland areas as required (such as in response to a natural disaster), Maritime Patrols are primarily deployed in coastal and offshore areas. Their main function is to conduct prevention and response operations through patrol, presence, and at-sea operations, such as interdiction, boarding, enforcement, and SAR. They also conduct intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance activities and provide unique capabilities to DOD for joint operations. Marine Patrols may be deployed on the following:

  • Major Cutters, whose high endurance and sea keeping capabilities provide the Coast Guard with an ability to maintain persistent presence in a wide range of extreme environmental conditions. These vessels will carry small boats and helicopters capable of medium- and long-range response operations, such as SAR, as well as logistics and transport flights. As described in more detail below, National Security Cutters also have small, unmanned aircraft systems.
  • Patrol Boats, which are smaller cutters designed for rapid response, patrol, and interdiction. They conduct operations primarily in the coastal zone but are sometimes deployed overseas to support foreign interdiction operations.
  • Polar and Great Lakes Icebreakers, which are cutters designed to ensure surface access to U.S. ports and navigational channels in the Great Lakes, Saint Lawrence Seaway, and polar regions.
  • Oceangoing and Coastal Buoy Tenders, which are cutters designed to maintain ATONs and support reconstitution of ports after natural disasters or armed conflicts. Some of these vessels carry dive teams.
  • Air Stations, where fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters support missions such as SAR and oil spill monitoring, as well as provide logistics and transport flights.

Deployable Specialized Forces

Able to deploy rapidly across the United States and globally, the Deployable Specialized Forces consist of the following:

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Suggested Citation:"2 U.S. Coast Guard and Its Vital Missions." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Leveraging Unmanned Systems for Coast Guard Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25987.
×
  • Maritime Safety and Security Teams, which were established to protect local maritime interests—for example, by patrolling the shore side and harbors to detect, and potentially stop and arrest, submerged divers suspected of terrorism.
  • Maritime Security Response Teams, which conduct law enforcement and counterterrorism operations through boardings and advanced interdictions in all the operational areas. They also have particular capabilities to conduct security and response operations, including chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and high-yield explosive detection and response.
  • Tactical Law Enforcement Teams, which consist of law enforcement detachments that are deployed aboard to conduct global offshore operations through interdiction, boarding, and enforcement activities. These teams operate from U.S. Navy or allied vessels.
  • Port Security Units, which conduct expeditionary operations to ensure coastal and port security. They operate primarily in the offshore operational area.
  • National Strike Force, which consists of experienced personnel and specialized equipment to facilitate preparedness for and response to oil and hazardous substance pollution incidents.
  • Regional Dive Lockers, whose diver teams support multiple missions, such as ATON, and polar operations and underwater search and recovery.

COAST GUARD BUDGET

Table 2-2 shows a breakdown of the Coast Guard’s FY 2020 budget by mission area. Although it has large and diverse set of missions, the Coast Guard is a small Service, especially when compared with other military branches.34 Its net discretionary budget (which excludes spending on retirement and other mandated programs) in FY 2020 was $9.974 billion, or about one-twentieth the size of the other military services (see Table 2-3). Further consideration is given to the Coast Guard’s budget in later chapters, particularly its budget allocations for R&D and UxS.

__________________

34 The Coast Guard’s active duty personnel is about one-twelfth the size of the Navy’s. The personnel data as of June 2020 for all of the services can be found at the DOD website “DOD Personnel, Workforce Reports & Publications.” https://www.dmdc.osd.mil/appj/dwp/rest/download?fileName=DMDC_Website_Location_Report_2006.xlsx&groupName= milRegionCountry.

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Suggested Citation:"2 U.S. Coast Guard and Its Vital Missions." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Leveraging Unmanned Systems for Coast Guard Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25987.
×

TABLE 2-2 Coast Guard FY 2020 Discretionary Spending by Mission

Mission Enacted Budget (millions)35
Aids to Navigation 1,309
Defense Readiness 554
Drug Interdiction 1,868
Ice Operations 460
Living Marine Resources 912
Marine Environmental Protection 222
Marine Safety 909
Migrant Interdiction 1,002
Other Law Enforcement 344
Ports, Waterways, and Coast Security 1,368
Search and Rescue 1,025

TABLE 2-3 FY 2020 Discretionary Budgets (enacted) of the U.S. Coast Guard and Other U.S. Military Services

Military Service Enacted Budget (millions)
Coast Guard36 $9,974
Navy37 $209,000
Army38 $178,468
Air Force39 $205,406

__________________

35 U.S. Coast Guard. “Posture Statement: 2021 Budget Overview.” https://www.uscg.mil/portals/0/bib/BIB-booklet-FINAL-v3-web.pdf.

36 U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Coast Guard. “Budget Overview. Fiscal Year 2021, Congressional Justification.” https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/u.s._coast_guard.pdf.

37 Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)/Chief Financial Officer. 2020. “Defense Budget Overview.” https://comptroller.defense.gov/Portals/45/Documents/defbudget/fy2021/fy2021_Budget_Request_Overview_Book.pdf.

38 Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)/Chief Financial Officer. 2020. “Defense Budget Overview.” https://comptroller.defense.gov/Portals/45/Documents/defbudget/fy2021/fy2021_Budget_Request_Overview_Book.pdf.

39 Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)/Chief Financial Officer. 2020. “Defense Budget Overview.” https://comptroller.defense.gov/Portals/45/Documents/defbudget/fy2021/fy2021_Budget_Request_Overview_Book.pdf.

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Suggested Citation:"2 U.S. Coast Guard and Its Vital Missions." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Leveraging Unmanned Systems for Coast Guard Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25987.
×
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Suggested Citation:"2 U.S. Coast Guard and Its Vital Missions." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Leveraging Unmanned Systems for Coast Guard Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25987.
×
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Suggested Citation:"2 U.S. Coast Guard and Its Vital Missions." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Leveraging Unmanned Systems for Coast Guard Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25987.
×
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Suggested Citation:"2 U.S. Coast Guard and Its Vital Missions." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Leveraging Unmanned Systems for Coast Guard Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25987.
×
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Suggested Citation:"2 U.S. Coast Guard and Its Vital Missions." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Leveraging Unmanned Systems for Coast Guard Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25987.
×
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Suggested Citation:"2 U.S. Coast Guard and Its Vital Missions." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Leveraging Unmanned Systems for Coast Guard Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25987.
×
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Suggested Citation:"2 U.S. Coast Guard and Its Vital Missions." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Leveraging Unmanned Systems for Coast Guard Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25987.
×
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Suggested Citation:"2 U.S. Coast Guard and Its Vital Missions." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Leveraging Unmanned Systems for Coast Guard Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25987.
×
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Suggested Citation:"2 U.S. Coast Guard and Its Vital Missions." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Leveraging Unmanned Systems for Coast Guard Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25987.
×
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Suggested Citation:"2 U.S. Coast Guard and Its Vital Missions." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Leveraging Unmanned Systems for Coast Guard Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25987.
×
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Suggested Citation:"2 U.S. Coast Guard and Its Vital Missions." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Leveraging Unmanned Systems for Coast Guard Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25987.
×
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Suggested Citation:"2 U.S. Coast Guard and Its Vital Missions." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Leveraging Unmanned Systems for Coast Guard Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25987.
×
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Suggested Citation:"2 U.S. Coast Guard and Its Vital Missions." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Leveraging Unmanned Systems for Coast Guard Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25987.
×
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Suggested Citation:"2 U.S. Coast Guard and Its Vital Missions." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Leveraging Unmanned Systems for Coast Guard Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25987.
×
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Suggested Citation:"2 U.S. Coast Guard and Its Vital Missions." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Leveraging Unmanned Systems for Coast Guard Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25987.
×
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Suggested Citation:"2 U.S. Coast Guard and Its Vital Missions." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Leveraging Unmanned Systems for Coast Guard Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25987.
×
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Next: 3 Unmanned Systems Context »
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As unmanned systems (UxS) continue to develop and be used by other military services and federal agencies, the U.S. Coast Guard should proceed more aggressively and deliberately in taking advantage of UxS advancements, says a new congressionally mandated report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

The Coast Guard should also produce a high-level strategy with critical goals and actionable steps toward fully utilizing UxS technology, according to TRB Special Report 335: Leveraging Unmanned Systems for Coast Guard Missions.

UxS technologies include aerial, surface, and underwater vehicles with no human occupants; vehicles that may have a crew but with some level of remote control; and systems that are not vehicles.

As one of the country’s six military services, the Coast Guard also serves as a first responder, law enforcement agency, maritime regulator, and member of the intelligence community. Despite multiple initiatives to explore and assess the applicability of UxS to these areas, the Coast Guard lacks a formal means for identifying, investigating, and integrating systems. Meanwhile, UxS technological advancements continue to accelerate, driven by both commercial and military demands.

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