Aug 6

Sailing into the Future with the United States Coast Guard

Thursday, August 6, 2015 6:57 AM

By

USCG Eagle Mode.

Model of the USGG Eagle. Courtesy of Mr. Denis Clift.

In honor of the United States Coast Guard, which turned 225 years old this week, the Naval History Blog offers a selection from a speech delivered by A. Denis Clift, Vice President for Planning and Operations at the United States Naval Institute. In 2002, the United States Coast Guard formally entered the United States Intelligence Community, building on a long and distinguished career in law enforcement, defense, and myriad other maritime operations. In this October 2000 speech, as president of the Joint Military Intelligence College, Clift told the cadets at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, of the challenges they would face in their service. The ever-changing, evolving role of the Coast Guard evoked the image of the Greek god Proteus, with powers to change into any shape he pleased. So must the Coast Guard continue to face its challenges with the same spirit it has shown for hundreds of years. Those challenges require the best possible intelligence, and the Coast Guard is steadily improving its capabilities in that regard, as well as its interaction with the Intelligence Community. In closing, he cites some of the outstanding research conducted by United States Coast Guard officers in the master’s degree program at the Joint Military Intelligence College.

As a token of gratitude for his services, Mr. Clift was given a handmade model of the USCG Eagle — an image of which heads this article — by the US Coast Guard Academy Corps of Cadets

Built in 1936 in Germany and seized for reparations after World War II, the Eagle has served as the Coast Guard’s premier training ship, and, refitted and modernized, continues to blend training for the challenges facing our nation today with the finest of sailing traditions in the now-two-and-a-quarter-century-old sea service.

When Lieutenant John F. Kennedy sailed for the Pacific aboard the Navy transport USS Rochambeau in March 1943, he found himself sharing a stateroom with Ensign James A. Reed. They debated politics and became friends during the long westward passage. They fought the war from PT boats. When Kennedy was elected President, he named Reed in 1961 to be Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Law Enforcement, the secretariat position in that senior Department then overseeing the United States Coast Guard. In just a few months, the President would be aboard the Cutter Eagle, accompanied by Reed, to address the importance of the Coast Guard mission.

In 1965, during Reed’s tenure at Treasury, the Coast Guard marked its 175th anniversary. I was editor of the United States Naval Institute Proceedings at the time. I invited the Assistant Secretary to write the lead essay for the August 1965 anniversary issue, which he did, an essay titled “Renaissance of the Coast Guard.”

COAST GUARD RENAISSANCE

As his title suggested, those were exciting times for your distinguished service. The first two units of the new Hamilton-Class cutters were on the building ways. Reliance, Diligence, and Vigilant, the first three of the new medium-endurance-class cutters, had just entered service. New aircraft and new shore installations were in the works. “What we are aiming at,” Assistant Secretary Reed wrote, underscoring the privilege he felt at playing a part, “is nothing less than a total modernization of this service which has been obliged for too long to conduct its highly important functions with obsolete facilities.”

Invoking the image of the Greek god Proteus, who had the powers to instantly change himself into any shape he pleased—be it lion, serpent, or tongue of fire—Reed wrote that the Coast Guard must be capable of assuming many different shapes on short notice. He reviewed the quickening tempo of operations in the missions of law enforcement, merchant marine safety, recreational boating, search and rescue, aids to navigation, the International Ice Patrol, oceanographic research, the Cuban Patrol, and military operations ranging from the surveillance of the nation’s coastlines to the deployment of 82-footers to southeast Asia for operations in Vietnam.

“In this renaissance of the Coast Guard,” he wrote, “all previously held concepts are being carefully examined in light of changing times and technology. Nothing is being taken for granted solely because it has been honored by custom.” Today, 35 years later—a ship- life generation later—these same words capture the forces at work shaping the Coast Guard of the 21st century.

CONTINUING CHALLENGES

While the pace of change is quickening in terms both of on-rushing technologies and the scope and substance of national security challenges, certain factors remain constant. Among them, people—people everywhere break laws, people generate crises and engage in conflict—human beings do it with great and continuing regularity.

In July 2000, Norwegian fisherman Olaf Iversen was trawling for shrimp some 15 miles off Stavem, Norway, and took a great strain on his gear when his nets snagged 1,650 gallons of liquor in 31 submerged oil drums waiting pick-up beneath the surface. The rum runners are still at it in the 21st century. Being an honest man, Iversen did what any good citizen should do. He summoned the Norwegian Coast Guard.

In the same month of July, one of this nation’s outstanding military leaders, Marine General Anthony Zinni, Commander in Chief, U.S. Central Command, published his reflections on critical challenges facing the U.S. armed services. In his view, the military action involved in kicking Iraq out of Kuwait—Operation DESERT STORM—was the exception rather than the rule in terms, in his words, “of the terrible mess that awaits us abroad. …In the high- and top-level war colleges, we still fight the Saddam Hussein type of adversary, an adversary stupid enough to confront us symmetrically with less of everything so that we always win.” That is not going to be the case, General Zinni says, as “more and more U.S. military men and women are going to be involved in vague, confusing military actions, heavily overlaid with political, humanitarian, and economic considerations.”

As you weigh his words, you might agree that of the nation’s five armed services the Coast Guard more than any other, day-in, day-out, is in the thick of this asynchronous, asymmetric mess—as you deal with enforcement of embargoes, drug smuggling, illegal migration, oceanic over-fishing and pollution—as you guard against international terrorism and weapons of mass destruction in defense of the homeland in an era when annually 165 million containers are moving in and out of U.S. ports predominantly under foreign flag.

COAST GUARD ON THE FRONT LINES

I developed my first deep appreciation for the front-line role you play with a telephone call at about 3:00 a.m. on a 1971 spring morning. I had just joined the National Security Council staff in the administration of President Richard Nixon. While the Cold War was still frigid in the early 1970s, the President had opened a diplomatic dialogue with the Soviet leadership that would lead to the 1972-1974 summits of detente. The superpower relationship was complex.

When the telephone rang at my home in Annapolis, the senior watch officer, Coast Guard Operations Center, was on the line. I can still hear that very distinctive, periodic beep coming in over his voice reminding that the conversation was being recorded. One of your cutters had spotted and intercepted a Soviet trawler fishing in U.S. waters off Alaska. The Soviet was making a run for it, ignoring orders to heave to for boarding and inspection. The skipper of your cutter was requesting permission to fire a warning shot across the trawler’s bows. Your watch officer was asking me to grant that permission.

Standing there in my full majesty in the kitchen at 3:00 a.m., I may have lightly scratched my chest while contemplating this first opportunity to ignite U.S.-Soviet crisis and war. In fact, as I remember, and I am sure there is a tape in some archive capturing the event, I thanked the watch for bringing the request to the NSC and told him that my boss, Major General Al Haig, the Deputy National Security Adviser, would be the one to grant authority.

I gave him Haig’s White House switchboard number and recommended that he relay the request directly, rather than going through me, given the need for fast action. Permission would be granted, and the trawler would receive the Coast Guard inspection party.

The senior watch officer was sharp; the Coast Guard was sharp in that fast-breaking action. I see that same, sharp professionalism today in your charting of the strategy, the new capabilities, and the new ships, aircraft, and facilities—to include the command, control, communications, computer, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities— required for the Coast Guard of the 21st century.

INTELLIGENCE AND THE COAST GUARD

Intelligence—together with defense and foreign policy—has been a central, formal part of the national security work of this nation since the time of the National Security Act of 1947, an act born of Pearl Harbor and the coming of the nuclear era. Presidential Executive Order 12333 of December 1981, which spells out the duties and responsibilities of those engaged in U.S. intelligence work, sets the tone for the nation’s approach to such work in its opening lines:

Timely and accurate information about the activities, capabilities, plans, and intentions of foreign powers, organizations, and persons, and their agents, is essential to the national security of the United States. All reasonable and lawful means must be used to ensure that the United States will receive the best intelligence available.

The Coast Guard today—as the nation’s maritime law enforcement agency and as a military service—is stating the priority it places on being a full-fledged participant in the intelligence work of the nation. In March 1999, the Coast Guard’s Intelligence Coordination Center and the Navy’s Office of Naval Intelligence co-authored the report Threats and Challenges to Maritime Security 2020; projecting the range of legal and illegal maritime activities to be expected in the years ahead.

The December 1999 interagency report on Coast Guard roles and missions states in remarkable clarity and detail the new intelligence capabilities required to accomplish the 2020 mission. Like the Greek god, the Coast Guard is again about to change shape, this time to be able to see from space, to be able to listen around the world, to be able increasingly to divine the intentions of those who would do this nation harm. If the Coast Guard is Semper Paratus, truly as Secretary Reed suggested 35 years ago, you are also semper proteus as you once again adapt to be of most effective service to the nation.

In identifying the role that intelligence can play, to cite one example, against illegal immigration operations, the interagency report states that law enforcement agencies must operate within the “decision cycle” of smugglers. It will require focused operational intelligence to cue interdiction efforts; accurate and agile surveillance of immigration avenues; and effective apprehension “end games.” The result will be improved interdiction effectiveness B which will bolster deterrence. DoD and other federal agencies in the intelligence community have considerable information gathering capability that can and should be employed to improve the execution of this mission. Specifically, national intelligence systems and wide area surveillance capabilities (both national and commercial) can offset the need for some Coast Guard resources to counter illegal migrant activity, if made available for this purpose.

Recognizing that most Coast Guard Deepwater missions involve a search problem, your planners state that an effective intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance system must collect multi-source information, using the information received from one source to cue other collection sources. Your planners identify how existing Coast Guard intelligence capabilities should be joined with current national-level intelligence capabilities, those of low- and high-altitude satellites, aircraft, and unmanned aerial vehicles, and surface-based systems such as over-the-horizon radars. They identify the cooperation required with organizations of the national intelligence community, if future intelligence capabilities— from remote sensors to agents on the ground—are to contribute even more effectively to the surveillance, detection, classification, and identification steps leading to the prosecution and engagement phase of the mission.

IMPROVING INTELLIGENCE

The Coast Guard is moving to strengthen its intelligence capabilities in this, the cyber- era, the information age, a time when the U.S. Intelligence Community is developing remarkable new techniques for collection, analysis, and dissemination of intelligence at the national, theater, and tactical levels. The Intelligence Community has had a tremendous learning curve since the delivery of intelligence in Operation DESERT STORM, now a decade ago.

The Director of Intelligence on the Joint Staff, Rear Admiral Lowell E. “Jake” Jacoby, United States Navy, recently assessed the effectiveness of intelligence in Operation ALLIED FORCE, the operations in Kosovo in 1999. First, he found improvements since the early 1990s. Secondly, he found the modernization initiatives now underway are on the right path from the perspective of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s goals as set forth in Joint Vision 2010. Third, he found that today’s military commander wants and expects Joint Vision 2010‘s intelligence capabilities today.

The commanders in Operation ALLIED FORCE expected integrated intelligence support that delivers unqualified information superiority, continuously and seamlessly, throughout all phases of mission planning and execution. Translated into intelligence terminology, information superiority entails a capability to obtain and maintain a coherent, real-time view of the operating environment, in all its dimensions. It entails a capability to seek, locate and watch target objectives wherever they reside, transit, or hide.

If these expectations are to be met, Admiral Jacoby writes, the Intelligence Community must continue its drive to create “a partnership of highly skilled people—I repeat of highly skilled people—and leading edge technologies providing warfighters, policymakers, and planners with assured access to required intelligence.”

The need for highly skilled people, highlighted by Rear Admiral Jacoby, is underlined and reinforced by the Director of Military Intelligence Vice Admiral Tom Wilson and the Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet. In my position as President of the Joint Military Intelligence College, the nation’s only accredited College awarding the Master of Science of Strategic Intelligence degree and Bachelor of Science in Intelligence degree, I have the privilege and trust of educating the next generation of the nation’s intelligence leaders. This generation includes young and rising stars from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps. It includes their civilian counterparts from the Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency, State Department, National Imagery and Mapping Agency, Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Immigration and Naturalization Service. Year after year, it includes extremely talented and motivated Coast Guard officers who are contributing to the work of intelligence and to the Coast Guard’s intelligence expertise through their Master’s thesis research at the same time that they are receiving their degrees.

RESEARCH AT THE COLLEGE

To give you a flavor for this work, in 1998, Coast Guard Lieutenant Eric Ensign won the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz Archival Research Award for his Master’s thesis Intelligence in the Rum War at Sea, 1920-1933. In 1924, four years into the prohibition era, it had become clear that Americans had no intention of abiding by a self- imposed ban on alcohol. Buyer boats were doing a brisk business with seller ships lying along rum row three miles off the Atlantic coast. Gin and whiskey were running freely. In Treasury, lead agency responsibility for suppressing the illegal flow of liquor from the sea was transferred from the Prohibition Bureau to the Coast Guard. In his Master’s thesis, drawing on primary research of declassified Coast Guard Intelligence Division records, Lieutenant Ensign examines the intelligence capabilities the Coast Guard developed to carry out the new mission.

In 1924, at the outset of the campaign, the Coast Guard Intelligence Section was a one- man operation. Lieutenant Commander Charles S. Root reported directly to Commandant Billard, tracking the name, nationality, and homeports of the ships on rum row, plotting the positions of suspected rum runners—a precursor to today’s suspect vessel look-out lists— and disseminating the information to the Coast Guard Fleet via intelligence circulars.

By 1927, Root had been promoted to Commander. He now had a staff of five. With the arrival of the Coast Guard’s first seaplane the year before, he had a limited capability to scout sea areas off Long Island and New England. He and his staff developed a working intelligence relationship—national-level interagency intelligence sharing—with the Departments of State, War, Navy, Justice, Post Office, Interior, Commerce, and Labor. Commander Root was shaping an all-source intelligence capability—human source reporting, open-source reporting, communications intercepts, and imagery. Root’s small team of cryptanalysts began breaking the smugglers’ codes. Agents’ reports were fed by Root and his colleagues to the cutter crews, telling them where to look beneath the false bottoms, the double bottoms, beneath the cargoes of lumber, sand, coal, where to probe with long iron rods beneath the cargoes of fish.

There are striking parallels between this pioneering intelligence work in the early 1920s and the intelligence challenges today in drug interdiction and illegal alien migration. There is splendid research being conducted at the College in the fields of camouflage, concealment, and deception theory. This is research at the classified level aimed at tactical deception and psychological operations. It is research aimed at improved intelligence cueing, refined intelligence collection on concealment modification practices aboard suspect vessels, the use of new scientific and technical intelligence methods to assist boarding parties in locating hidden compartments and the contraband they conceal. Excellent work has been done on improving intelligence and law enforcement cooperation in countering maritime alien smuggling. Research has examined the Commandant of the Coast Guard’s international engagement strategy, the benefits to be realized from the Coast Guard’s networking with different nations in different regions of the world to gain better cooperation

in future operations, to strengthen other nations’ capabilities to catch smugglers in their waters before they reach our own.

In recent years, your officers at the Joint Military Intelligence College have examined Caribbean and Western Hemispheric issues and operations—the lessons to be learned from the Mariel boatlift and Haitian migration in the 1990s, the different dimensions of the drug r war, ranging from the different cultures of the region, to the dynamics of international drug movement and interdiction, to the role of intelligence and the operational security challenges.

In an era of increasingly close operational ties between the Coast Guard and the Navy, Navy students studying at the College are conducting research on the challenges of improving maritime intelligence capabilities in counter-drug operations, and on the enhancement of intelligence cooperation with law enforcement in our maritime economic zones, in our maritime defense against asymmetric threats to the homeland, in our ability to detect, watch, and intercept high-interest cargo movements.

Master’s theses have examined different dimensions of the challenges posed by oceanic over-fishing, the ramifications of the Pacific salmon conflict, for example, and challenges of enforcing the high seas driftnet moratorium. In 1997, Coast Guard Lieutenant Commander William Quigley’s research entitled Driftnet Fishery Enforcement: A New Intelligence Problem, was published by the College as a chapter in the book Intelligence for Multilateral Decision and Action, a text now being used both on our campus and at other colleges and universities across the country.

Lieutenant Commander Joe Hester came to the Master’s program at the Joint Military Intelligence College in the Class of 1999 following three years as the Commanding Officer of the Cutter Attu. His research would contribute to the interagency study on Coast Guard roles and missions published last December. Now, following in the footsteps of the rum war’s Lieutenant Commander Root, he is the pioneering first Chief of the new Maritime Intelligence Support Team attached to the Atlantic Area Command, providing a surge intelligence capability to Coast Guard operations here and abroad.

CONTINUING COAST GUARD CONTRIBUTIONS

The contributions to the nation’s security made through research such as that cited will continue to expand and increase in value as the role of intelligence in the Coast Guard evolves into its new, more prominent form. The partnership between the Coast Guard and the Joint Military Intelligence College is expanding and increasing in value as part of this process. We have welcomed your Commandant Admiral James Loy as a distinguished speaker at the College as well as your new Vice Commandant for Operations Rear Admiral Terry Cross. Former Commandant Admiral Robert Kramek serves with distinction as a member of the College’s Board of Visitors. Of even greater importance, in September 2000 we welcomed four Coast Guard officers as members of the incoming academic year 2001 Master’s program—double the Coast Guard enrollment of the year before.

When President Kennedy addressed ship’s company and the nation from the decks of the Eagle in August 1962, he said of the Coast Guard: “This is the oldest continuous seagoing service in the United States, stretching back to the beginning of our country, so I want all of you who are cadets to know how proud we are of you. I hope” the President said, “you and your fellow Americans realize how vital this service is.” I salute these words. I commend you as you embark on your service to this nation. In the years ahead, I will look forward to welcoming at least some of you to your graduate studies at the Joint Military Intelligence College.