Coast Guard Presence in Disaster Zones Highlights Rise of ‘Gray Warfare’

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Because the world turns into extra advanced, the U.S. Coast Guard is advancing within the space of “gray warfare,” through which belongings are deployed in a army capability however with a much less aggressive look. And it is a international development, the vice commandant of the Coast Guard mentioned Monday.

Vice Adm. Charles Michel informed an viewers on the annual Sea-Air-Area expo that the just lately printed Nationwide Safety Technique highlighted the Coast Guard’s capability for hybrid and uneven warfare as coast guards all over the world lean into that function.

“So within the South China Sea, you are seeing China generally coming ahead with its navy however numerous instances with its coast guard, and it has some large ships within the China Coast Guard,” Michel mentioned. “And the way in which that it employs these ships as an train of state sovereignty whereas nonetheless having a racing stripe on the facet and a pleasant white hull and the optic that goes together with that.”

In recent times, there was reported dialogue on the prime ranges of the army relating to deployment of U.S. Coast Guard belongings to the South China Sea. Whereas that deployment has not taken place thus far, the service conducts routine patrols round South America, the Caribbean and the Arctic, and has smaller contingents deployed all over the world.

Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft is fond of claiming “the solar by no means units on the US Coast Guard.”

Zukunft informed in December that the Coast Guard was written into the US’ technique for a army contingency relating to North Korea.

Simply days in the past, Michel famous, the evolving function of the Chinese language Coast Guard was highlighted when the nation’s authorities formally made it a part of its armed forces. It was beforehand a part of the State Oceanic Administration.

“We will see how the coast guards of the world have gotten more and more related, as a result of states are discovering them more and more helpful to make use of for assertion of nationwide sovereignty, and we’ll should get our arms round that idea,” Michel mentioned. “We in the US Coast Guard are proud to be a part of the joint group and supply that toolkit … of this uneven power that may additionally function and interoperate with the symmetric forces.”

— Hope Hodge Seck may be reached at Observe her on Twitter at @HopeSeck.

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