U.S. Coast Guard Fights Enemies far From U.S. Shores
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. Rear Adm. Manson Brown, USCG, commander, 14th Coast Guard District, outlined several national security aspects of its stewardship mission to a Tuesday luncheon audience at TechNet Asia-Pacific 2009, held in Honolulu, Hawaii, November 2-5. Protecting our precious fisheries are a national security issue, particularly as small island nations depend on fishing for food and commerce. If commercial concerns brazenly break rules and overfish, the well being of these nations is threatened, he stated. Food security is a top issue with each of these countries. However, it can be hard to get multiple nations to agree on something, he allowed. So the Coast Guard is entering into bilateral agreements to pursue joint interests in the vast region. Adm. Brown cited as an example how U.S. Coast Guard surveillance and reconnaissance information passed to its counterpart in Kiribati helped that small island nation catch illegal fishing in its waters. Apprehending the illegal fishers both stopped them and generated $4.7 million in fines revenue for Kiribati.