Despite great commonality in how maritime security missions are conducted against terrorist threats, the Navy and Coast Guard are headed in different directions to provide this capability. The Navy plans to adapt its sophisticated low-end warship, the littoral combat ship (LCS), for the maritime security mission while the Coast Guard is building purposely designed ships for the same goal. In an era of great emphasis on inter-service jointness along with the reality of austere defense procurement budgets, there are growing concerns that the nation cannot afford this bifurcated approach to its maritime security. Specifically, is the Navy's LCS option for a maritime security role a prudent choice, or should the Navy consider embracing the Coast Guard's high-end cutter?
Smarter Security for Smaller Budgets
What will the shape of tomorrow's Navy and Coast Guard maritime security ship look like? Will it be the littoral combat ship? Or one—or more—of three other ship designs?
By Captain Bruce Stubbs, USCG (Ret.)