The question before the Coast Guard is whether to retain its jack-of-all-trades doctrine or focus on a handful of missions related to the nation's most critical security requirements—such as maritime law enforcement and security—with deep expertise and tailored capabilities. If it does not, others will.
"Great battles," Winston Churchill remarked, "change the entire course of events, create new standards of values, new moods, in armies and in nations." The terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 and the subsequent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have had such an effect on the United States and its Coast Guard. 1 The "great battle" against al Qaeda and affiliated terrorist groups has launched two new paradigms with the power to fundamentally alter the Coast Guard: