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The Navy must decide if it will play a more active role in homeland defense or leave this vital mission solely on the shoulders of the Coast Guard.
Five years after 9/11, the U.S. maritime approaches remain relatively unsecured. While significant threats and challenges remain, opportunities to enhance maritime homeland security and defense (HLS/HLD) also exist.1 Specifically, two polLMitial inilintives offer lucrative possibilities, but both carry resource and institutional commitments. First, expanding the Canadn-U.S. naval partnership in continental watcrs could significantly improve both binulional maritime domain awareness and combined readiness for continental defense crises. second, increasing Navy homeland security participation alongside the Coast Guard could provide an improved home-waters joint capability. Arguably, both are achievable and worthwhile. The U.S. Navy must either become a key player in North American maritime security or relegate responsibility to the Coast Guard and locus on forward-deployed defense missions. American policy, defense, anil NaN1V leaders should clearly delineate the Navy's continental role one way or the other.
We Can't Go It Alone
Homeland defense and security seem aptly termed in the post-9/1 I strategic environment, yet they carry connotations of exclusively national efforts and interests. The British are best known l'or the "homeland" jargon, defined by experiences of European continental aggression and the threat of invasion or cordon. Key allies also assisted the British homeland effort in two world wars-a point that needs current emphasis in the United States. The transatlantic alliances involved Canada as well, so a historical precedent for expanded wartime cooperation exists.
The contemporary asymmetric threat and common Canadian-U.S. interests demand a holistic continental approach that is both combined and joint. Vast contiguous Canadian-U.S. littorals are a doorway to two open democracies that share a reliance on sale sea-lanes and vibrant maritime commerce. Easy North American access is as much a vulnerability as it a prerequisite for free trade. Ingress to either country could present a cross-border threat to the other. Additionally, a large percentage of shipping bound for U.S. ports in the northeast and northwest either transits the Canadian exclusive economic /one (EEZ) or calls first in Canadian ports. Hence, a combined northsouth maritime security effort is clearly prudent.
Similarly, a largely single-service peacetime approach in U.S. waters seems myopic. While the U.S. Coast Guard excels at law enforcement and regulatory tasks, the Navy is unmatched in conventional warfare. The reported He/bolluh use of advanced antiship cruise missiles against the Israeli Navy in 2006 serves as a wake-up call that unconventional enemies can exploit conventional means. Having a ready mix of joint maritime capabilities is the best hedge against an amorphous threat.
More Work To Do
Washington's domestic answer to the post-9/1 I threat environment was to reorganize, adjust policy priorities, and develop new national strategies. The 2002 establishment of the Department of Homeland security (DHS), the shift ni the Coast Guard under DHS, and the formation of Northern Command institutionali/ed continental U.S. maritime security. In 2004, National security/Homeland security Presidential Directives (NSPD/HSPD) 41 and 13 provided a mandate for interageney-interdepartmental collaboration to focus homeland security/defense efforts. The 2005 National Strategy for Maritime security (NSMS) and its eight subordinate plans was another step toward codifying maritime HLS/HLD means and ends. The NSMS, and the two subordinate plans most relevant for this diseussion-MDA and Global Maritime Intelligence Integration-address the need for international and interagency cooperation, but are short on implementation details and are specifically national strategies.
Since the Coast Guard bore the lion's share of new HLS responsibilities, its strategic focus shifted more rapidly than the Navy's. As lead service for maritime homeland security, it published a new Maritime Strategy for Homeland security along the lines of the post-9/11 National security Strategy and the National Strategy for Homeland security. The Coast Guard strategy emphasi/.es maritime domain awareness, partnerships, and unprecedented interagency information sharing. As the supporting service, the Navy had less impetus to recast its priorities; the 2002 .SVi/ Power 21 strategy falls short of addressing revised national tasking. As such, the Navy is developing an updated maritime strategy that will almost certainly emphasize maritime partnerships. The 1.000-ship navy concept offers a glimpse, stressing interdependence and the common international pursuit of maritime security.
Another recent poliey ehange clearly directs enhanced Canadian-U.S. and Coast Guard-Navy collaboration. The early 2006 North American Aerospace Defense (NORAD) treaty renewal assigned the novel mission of "maritime warning," with potentially significant ramifications. While the agreement's language is somewhat vague, the success of the long-standing binutional NOKAD partnership provides a compelling paradigm for application to the maritime environment, and implementation planning moves apace.: Further, if key recommendations of the recently disbanded Bi-Nationul Planning Group come to fruition, maritime warning implementation could be a catalyst for improved intra and binational maritime security.' As always, though, treaties and executive directives make for splendid press conferences and photo opportunities, hut the devil is in the details.
Canadian and U.S. Efforts
Naysayers citing overwhelming benefits to Ottawa in any renewed partnership would do well to recall Canadian actions after 9/11. When Washington rapidly secured U.S. airspace on that tragic day. Ottawa agreed to route hundreds of American airliners low on fuel to sanctuary in Canada. The people of Canada opened their towns and homes to thousands of tired and shaken U.S. citi/ens. More recently, Canadian Forces (CF) helicopters and air crew deployed to Coast Guard stations to backfill U.S. aircraft deployed south for Hurricane Kalrina, and sent several ships to support port survey and reconstruction.4
Canadian global maritime security operations already serve to prevent threats from reaching the continent. Canadian naval units integrate into U.S. strike groups during deployments. CF leadership and expertise in maritime interception operations also bring a solid capability to Operation Enduring Freedom. CF warships participate in NATO operations in the Atlantic and the European theaters as well, supporting Operation Active Kndeavor. Although small in numbers. Canadian seafarers are peers in professionalism and lethality to the greatest fleets afloat-Canadian ships will sail into danger for a good cause. The maple leaf-draped coffins returning to Canada from Afghanistan alone demonstrate that Ottawa is fully in this fight.
Canada mitigates the limitations of its small fleet by exploiting an array of government resources. Satellites, eoastal radars, and commercial aircraft augment maritime patrols, fusing data to form a common operational picture (COP: "recognized maritime picture" or RMP in Canadian parlance) which reveals unidentified inbound shipping. Notably. Canada merges information gathered from law enforcement, military, and customs vessels into a single COP. while no similar interagency maritime surveillance effort occurs in U.S. waters.5
Ottawa's interagency ("other government departments") intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) efforts are a comparatively good example of unity of effort and information sharing. Coastal Maritime security Operations Centers merge CF and interagency information alongside operations counterparts-a nascent capability, but the ideal approach to providing decision-makers with maritime domain awareness. Canada also shares its COP with Washington. Indeed, the Canadian approach offers valuable lessons. Barring modified Navy and interagency priorities, however, implementing similar measures in the United States will he a challenge.
Information Sharing Vital
The lack of information sharing as an obstacle to effective maritime homeland security/defense merits special mention. A recent Canadian-U.S. assessment cites information sharing as a major impediment, recommending a new binational agreement and waivers to existing U.S. policy.'1 Assessing the potential inbound threats on merchant shipping (or even gauging the whereabouts of the roughly 1.500 vessels above 300 gross tons within 1J6 hours of arrival! requires full access to the data, context, perspective, and analysis of both partners. Without it. homeland security efforts are handicapped and continental maritime security is stillborn. Because of the volume of shipping to vet. intelligence must inform operational decision-makers on where and how to use scant maritime enforcement assets.
The theme of intelligence failures from poor information sharing is not new: yet post-9/11 efforts to remedy it remain incomplete. Indeed, the biggest obstacle to allsource analysis-to a greater likelihood of connecting the dots-is the Imman or systemic resistance to sharing information. It is inexplicable that a credible threat has not been sufficient impetus for aggressive measures tu shatter pervasive institutional, bureaucratic, and cultural barriers against collaboration. Regardless. Canadian mari time capabilities and operations illustrate the primacy of homeland over expeditionary missions. As such, the Coast Guard conducts the vast majority of continental maritime liaison, exchange of information, and combined operations with Canada.
The Canada-U.S. Navy relationship lor North American security, then, is understandably less robust. While a tenth the size of the U.S. Fleet, more CF warships patrol home waters than do U.S. grey hulls. Canadian Forces Aurora aircraft fly routine littoral patrols to support maritime domain awareness: conversely. U.S. Navy P-3 Orions remain "high demand, low density" assets prioritized lor forward missions. While occasional exercises occur, combined U.S.-Canadian Navy patrols in either nation's waters do not. Navy-to-navy collaboration targeting global conventional threats remains close, but a similar shared operational focus on civil-maritime shipping is lacking.
Beyond enhanced continental security. Ottawa has other interests in closer maritime cooperation. Wide swaths of unspoiled Canadian territory contain untapped natural resources and are subject to periodic foreign intrusions and sovereignty challenges. As Middle East petroleum resources expire or become inaccessible, fish stocks wane, and heretofore icebound waters open, the Canadian EEZ will become an increasingly vital national asset. Of course, the United States shares similar concerns. Canadian leaders surely hope that maritime collaboration will promote mutual interests while emphasizing coequal status.7
Unity of Effort
While the Coast Guard safeguards coastal approaches under homeland security, there is little Navy contribution. Coast Guard cutters conduct routine patrols, operations, and exercises, and coastal command centers manage the common operational picture for MDA. The smaller and older hulls, however, are not ideally suited for the relatively new maritime domain awareness mission. Conversely, Navy warships are optimally equipped tor contributing to MDA. but this is not a primary task in home waters. Repairs, upgrades, training, and exercises to prepare for near-term forward deployments occupy the U.S. second and Third Fleets. They serve as a contingency homeland security/defense force, hut have no viable "presence, patrol. monitor, and report" (i.e., MDA) missions supporting Northern Command or the Coast Guard/DHS.
The partial overlap in mission definitions also makes the Navy function situation-dependent, hence somewhat ambiguous. Obviously if a critical homeland defense exigency arose. Navy assets could redeploy homeward, hut only at the expense of international missions. Hence, the Coast Guard has the lead in homeland security and accomplishes the vast majority of day-to-day missions-while still responsible for all the other pre-9/11 roles such as counter-narcotics, search and rescue, fisheries enforcement, and navigation aid maintenance.
The Coast Guard, however, does not have enough assets-and may never have enough-to attain maritime domain awareness sufficient for effective homeland security. While the service devoted significant resources and developed procedures that greatly improved maritime domain awareness and inbound shipping threat assessments, gaps remain. A recent DHS study concluded, for instance, that the Coast Guard was unable to cover all other missions during the Hurricane Katrina response.s While the Navy also assisted after Katrina. no assets covered any real or perceived MDA gaps. If neither service has the wherewithal to cover contingency and routine requirements, this bodes ill for improving homeland security or ensuring homeland defense readiness.
The Navy and Coast Guard are ostensibly forming a closer partnership, but each is loathe to stray too far from unique mission areas. The Chief of Naval Operations and Coast Guard Commandant recently asserted the need to operationalize a "National Fleet" concept by enhancing the Coast Guard-Navy partnership.'1 The admirals related that procedures exist to shift Navy units to Coast Guard control or vessels from both services under a joint force commander for homeland security and defense missions, respectively; however, this rarely occurs, even in exercises. Joint Navy-Coast Guard homeland security patrols are nonexistent.
Still, collaboration is occurring. Navy loan of live coastal patrol-class ships. Coast Guard cutlers forward deployed, law enforcement detachments on Navy units accomplishing counter-narcotics and maritime interception operations, and Coast Guard shooters on Navy helicopters to intercept "go-fasts" are good examples. Nonetheless, long-term funding to meet Navy warship acquisition goals is doubtful: and global peacetime and crisis requirements will likely preclude Navy integration into homeland security missions.
The demand for a consistently available and capable home waters fleet deserves emphasis. Relatively accurate and timely MDA is a mandatory requirement to inform policy and operational decision-makers. Beyond the basic need to have vessels underway and poised to respond to tasking when a threat arises, observations and data from vessels on patrol are a critical ingredient in maritime domain awareness. Units on, over, and under continental waters are arguably the most important intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaisance contributors. In fact, the most cited problem facing Coast Guard-Navy (and Canadian-U.S.) MDA pursuit is ISR.10 The Coast Guard Deepwater program, if sustained, should provide for more assets in the EEZ, but the service cannot alone fulfill all homeland security ISR needs." Despite quantum leap technological improvements that support maritime domain awareness, any seafarer will advise that there is no substitute for hulls in the water.
Bold Action Needed
First, the Defense Department could assign full-time forces to Northern Command to provide a moderate maritime ISR and patrol capability. As one recent study asserts, "Anything that can be done to increase intelligence and surveillance assets ..." will directly benefit regional maritime security.12 Perhaps a small permanent home fleet tasked with homeland security/defense missions could contribute to a joint and combined continental task force. If current force levels preclude anything more than token Navy participation in homeland security-and overseas commitments are not scaled back-it is conceivable that a larger Navy commitment to support homeland missions could help justify increased funds for Fleet expansion." The catastrophic potential of failure should be justification enough to consider innovative approaches to ensuring that a maritime capability to address the full array of threats to North America is manned and ready.
Second, Coast Guard leaders should ensure new hulls are equipped (and older hulls updated) to feed information easily into the common operational picture through connectivity with Navy/DOD systems. Similarly, Navy units everywhere could once again live up to the Cold War mantra "every unit an intelligence collector" to better support maritime domain awareness.
Third, senior policy and military leaders should lend their support to modify obstructive policies and bureaucratic inertia that hinder north-south information sharing. NORAD maritime warning, maritime domain awareness, and global maritime intelligence integration policy guidance could provide the needed horsepower to achieve this.
If America's greatest security imperative truly is safeguarding the homeland, enhanced Coast Guard-Navy home waters integration and improved Canada-U.S. continental maritime ties are advisable courses of action.
Three key questions emerge from this analysis: Are homeland security/defense truly the nation's number one priority.' Do Americans deserve more than a partial effort to attain them in the maritime domain? Is the Navy prepared to relegate the home waters missions to the Coast Guard in favor of global ones? The answers will determine to what degree the Navy remains relevant, to what level North American maritime security can he improved, and ultimately, which service(s) can justify acquiring the vital resources to make manifest the motto "eternal vigilance is the price of freedom" for the homeland.
1. Homeland security is defined as "a concerted national effort to prevent terrorist attacks within ihe U.S., to reduce vulnerability to terrorism, and to minimize damage and recover from attacks that do occur." Homeland defense is defined as "the protection of U.S. territory, sovereignty, domestic population, and critical infrastructure against external threats and aggression." DHS is lead agency for homeland security while DOD is lead for homeland defense.
2. ADM Timothy J. Keating, USN, Commander, USNORTHCOM/NORAD, Senate Armed Services Committee Testimony, March 14, 2006. http://armed-services. senate.gov/statemnty2006/March/Keating%2003-14-06.pdf.
3. Bi-National Planning Group (BPG), The Final Report on Canadti-U.S. Enhanced Military Cooperation. Peterson AFB, Colorado, 13 March 2006. p. 19.
4. Joe DiRenzo III and Chris Doane. "The Coast Guard has Validated the Role of the Operational Commander," U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings (August 2006): pp. 68-69.
5. CAPT (N) Peter Avis. "The Terrorist Changed the Battlespace-Surveillance and Canadian Maritime Domestic Security." Norman Paterson School of International Relations. Carleton University, http://www.cda-cdai.ca/symposia/2003/avis.htm.
6. BPG, pp. 17-18.
7. Ottawa repeatedly asserts that Washington's apparent disregard for Canadian interests hurts north-south relations in general. Claims of U.S. Navy units transiting through Canadian waters without notification or approval and perceived imbalances in trade agreements on beef and lumber are good examples.
8. Megan Scully. "Washington Report: Deputy IG Gives USCG Mixed Review." Sea Power Vol. 49, no. 10 (October 2006); p. II.
9. ADM Thad Allen, USCG and ADM Mike Mullen. USN. "America's National Fleet; a Coast Guard-Navy Imperative." U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings (August 2006): pp. 16-20.
10. CAPT Peter M. Swantz, USN (Ret). Center for Strategic Studies "The Maritime Dimension of US MLS Policy and the Implications for Canada: A US Perspective." Conference Hosted by the Centre for foreign Policy Studies, Dalhousie Universily, 18-20 June 2004, http://centrefortoreignpolicystudies.dal.ca/pdf/msc2004/msc2004swartz.pdf.
11. Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition. Technology, and Logistics. Defense Science Board 2003 Summer Study on DoD Koles and Missions in Homeland security, VOLUME II - A: Supporting Reports (May 2004). p. 53. DSB concludes that even with Deepwater assets, the Coast Guard cannot alone accomplish this mission.
13 Frank Hoffman, "The Fleet We Need: A Look at Alternative-and Affordable-Futures for the U.S. Navy," Armed Forces Journal, August 2006, pp. 29-49. Hoffman argues that the size and nature of the future fleet should serve national political objectives, not just war fighting or institutional prerogatives.
Commander Patch is a surface warfare officer and career naval intelligence officer currently assigned to the Office of Naval Inlelligence. Me is also a qualified joint specially officer.