Force Protection and Coastal Security - A National Challenge, A Coast Guard Response   [open pdf - 1MB]

Among the challenges facing the United States in the post-Cold War world is an emerging threat from trans-national or non-state actors who will elect to use terrorism to achieve their ends because of their inability to meet the United States face to face militarily. Recent studies have indicated that while the threat of terrorism has decreased some in recent years, the severity of recent terrorist acts has actually increased, and is expected to continue in that trend. In light of the current overarching U.S. military strategy of forward presence and global engagement, today's U.S. Naval forces are more forward deployed to a range of theaters than ever before. Such forward presence does not afford the luxury of forces being able to operate from the relative safety of "Blue Water", but instead requires that they be engaged in the complex--and sometimes highly dangerous--littorals. The threat today in the littorals from non-state actors is also increasing; and the recent attack on the USS Cole seems only the latest evidence. The U.S. Coast Guard--a unique instrument of national security--more than ever has the ability to demonstrate a greater role in the force protection of forward deployed naval forces. Additionally, the threat to U.S. coastal security, particularly in critical strategic commercial and military ports is also growing. The U.S. Coast Guard must also rise to new challenges in this arena by addressing with other agencies, and then taking firm action to safeguard the future security of U.S. ports and harbors.

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