breaker available, and capacity limitations. The latter
means interagency and international partnerships are
essential to getting the work done. Using the fisheries
mission as an example, Brown explained how high-drift
nets — large-scale nets that are miles long that scour the
ocean, taking everything in its path — adversely affect
the environment and the economies of many nations.
There is an international ban on these nets.
“In an amazing act of partnership, the governments
of six nations banded together to create a North Pacific
Coast Guard Forum that would, together, enforce this
ban. Now, countries that are involved in this forum,
some of them won’t surprise you — U.S., Canada,
Japan, South Korea. Two of them might surprise you
— the People’s Republic of China and Russia,” he said.
Brown noted that “this is also going to be our key to
interacting with Russia in the Arctic, the relationship
built through that forum. A relationship of trust allows
us to interact with Russia despite some of the difficul-
ties that we have with them politically.”
Such international partnerships also are essential to
the drug and migrant interdiction work the Coast
Guard does in the Western Hemisphere.
Sea Service Awards
In his keynote address at the Sea Services Luncheon
following the panel discussion, Zukunft talked about
“where all the sea services fit together.” He noted the
work USS Kauffman is doing,
among other things, drug interdiction work with the Coast Guard in
the Western Hemisphere.
Kauffman, the last of the Perry-class frigates, will be decommissioned in September, creating a
“The Coast Guard is filling that
gap,” Zukunft said, “and will increase
by nearly 60 percent the number of
ships that are currently operating in
the Western Hemisphere. Now,
before I did that we rolled out the
Western Hemisphere strategy. We
didn’t do it in a vacuum. We worked
with our department [of Homeland
Security]. We also worked with the
national security staff.”
He explained how difficult the
drug and migrant interdiction
operations are when faced with an
adversary flush with funds.
“They don’t suffer from budget
control acts; they suffer from $750
billion a year in hard cash,” he said.
The Coast Guard relies on the international partnerships Brown talked about during the panel discussion.
“We have 41 bilateral agreements, where countries
look to us for maritime law enforcement service,”
Zukunft said. “The intelligence we’re able to bring across
the entire intelligence community is second to none.”
With regard to the Arctic, the commandant said he
met with representatives from the other seven Arctic
nations in Washington, including Russia, to discuss an
approach in the region for the 21st century.
“Let’s talk about saving life at sea,” he said. “Let’s
talk about responsible drilling. Let’s talk about the
indigenous tribes that live up there. … Let’s really talk
about the Arctic as a big domain where we have an
opportunity to lock down strategy.”
The Coast Guard is bringing new assets to the fleet,
including National Security Cutters and Fast Response
Cutters like Richard Dixon, and is planning for the
Offshore Patrol Cutters, but still operates a fleet that is,
on average, more than 35 years old.
“I’ve got cutters 60 years old in operation,” Zukunft
said. “USS Kaufman, when she’s decommissioned, will
be 28. That’s a half-life for a Coast Guard cutter. I have
50-year-old Coast Guard cutters at the far reaches of
the world today still in operation, well beyond their
service life. We’re able to operate these safely because
of generations of maintainers who kept the ships up
and running all these years.
Coast Guard Storekeeper 2nd Class Noel Cordero receives the pins of her
new rank from her mother, Kathie, and Coast Guard Commandant ADM Paul
F. Zukunft during the Sea Services Luncheon. Cordero was the recipient of
the Douglas A. Munro Award for Inspirational Leadership, which comes with a