The stormy seas facing the service that Admiral Papp warned of last year haven’t gotten any better, according to retired Captain Jim Howe and Reserve Lieutenant Jim Dolbow. They say that the Coast Guard’s future looks uncertain at best, with too many redundancies inside the Department of Homeland Security and just as many bureaucratic layers within the service itself that decrease efficiency and waste taxpayer dollars at a staggering pace. The authors pull no punches, calling for a “drastic” reinvention of the Coast Guard that will provide “internal efficiencies, better alignment with the federal family, and a broader role in the nation’s defense architecture.”
With over 70 percent of the world covered by oceans, the sheer size of these bodies of water provides natural cover for many illicit activities. From smuggling people or drugs to piracy and illegal fishing, partnerships are essential to combating illegal trafficking, says retired Coast Guard Commander Lou Orsini. Thanks to bilateral agreements enacted in 2012, the Coast Guard that year removed 116,740 pounds of cocaine and 35,732 pounds of marijuana, detained 232 suspected smugglers, and seized 43 vessels. Maritime law-enforcement agents use information gathered from these interdictions to make more busts, a cycle known as the maritime law-enforcement cycle of success. That success however, is not guaranteed, and the author reminds us that these partnerships must be maintained to thwart the efforts of those aiming to exploit the ocean.
In July the Naval Institute welcomed recently retired Admiral James Stavridis as Chair of its Board of Directors. As many of our readers doubtless know, Admiral Stavridis is a longtime contributor to and champion of the open forum. He started writing for the Institute as a midshipman—and never stopped, being published at every rank during his long and distinguished career. After departing Brussels, where he was Commander U.S. European Command and Supreme Allied Commander Europe, the admiral took time to talk with Managing Editor Fred Schultz before taking the reins as Dean of the Fletcher School at Tufts University. In a wide-ranging interview, Admiral Stavridis talks about, among other things, what kept him up at night as NATO commander, the advice he gave to his relief, Air Force General Philip M. Breedlove, the importance of young service members writing for publication, and the highlight of his Navy career, which may surprise some (but not anyone who’s read Destroyer Captain , his 2008 Naval Institute Press book). Read on to find out!
Paul Merzlak , Editor-in-Chief