National security threats are drawing the U.S. Coast Guard deeper into the Asia-Pacific region as it carries out its conventional missions in unconventional areas. Piracy, drug smuggling and even overfishing are becoming more prevalent in U.S. and neighboring waters, and the Coast Guard is finding itself forming alliances with foreign counterparts.
While the push forward for better collaboration and information-sharing capabilities will require technical advances, the experts at today's NATO workshop in Brussels, Belgium, are struggling with an even bigger challenge than connecting the bits and bytes.
Although it seems UAVs have been around for a long time-and are essential in current operations-the ground truth is that a number of challenges remain to be resolved before these aircraft can be used to their full potential.
"We have to understand that the changes in technology, computation and so forth have created what I call a fundamental change in our social atmosphere."--Adm. Thad W. Allen, USCG, commandant of the Coast Guard
"When I look at our adversaries around the world, what I see is that we can no longer kid ourselves into believing that we face challenges that will be easily boxed based on regions and categories."--The Honorable Michael Chertoff
Rather than thinking about how to improve what the U.S. government is doing, perhaps agencies-the U.S. Defense Department included-need to come at the problems from an entirely new direction-a very complex direction.