Engagement with the USCG Pacific Area Senior Leadership

Since Admiral Fagan’s 2020 UC Berkeley remarks, the 2021 Interim National Security Strategic Guidance (INSSG) and the 2022 Indo-Pacific Strategy were promulgated. In the same vein as the 2019 DOD Indo-Pacific Strategy Report and 2020 Tri-Service Maritime Strategy, both the INSSG and IPS articulated enduring threats and challenges, and in response, an integrated approach (later termed “integrated deterrence”) focused on all-domain unity of action, partnerships, and readiness. The INSSG and IPS describe a blend of:

1. State-based threats, primarily from the PRC and Russia, experienced from a maritime
security and governance lens in activities such as Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated
Fishing (IUUF), cyber attacks, and sovereign rights infringement across the Indo-Pacific
from Pole to Pole and from the Eastern to the Western Pacific and Oceania; and,

2. Transnational challenges experienced in trends such as climate change, pandemics,
transnational organized crime networks, and migration.

These threats and challenges impact the resilience and readiness of U.S. joint forces and those of friends and allies, as well as pose existential threats to small Pacific Island Countries. USCG authorities, capabilities, and partnerships offer a unique value proposition that enhances maritime security, prosperity, and governance. The IPS specifically calls for: “ … expanding U.S. Coast Guard presence, training, and advising to bolster our partners’ capabilities.” (p. 13)

The discussion at UC Berkeley explored the following focal questions:

  • How are state-based threats and transnational challenges impacting a free and open rules-based order across the Indo-Pacific?
  • How does/can the USCG be an element of national power (e.g., soft, hard, smart) to advance our Nation’s, allies’, and partners’ security and economic interests?

VADM Tiongson opened the session by providing a few introductory framing comments. Then, each of the District Commanders briefly discussed how they are seeing these threats and challenges play out from their vantage point and what Coast Guard operations, activities, and investments are being employed in response.

Academic faculty shared their views of key Indo-Pacific threats and challenges in the context of strategic competition. Faculty were invited to offer observations on new ways that the Coast Guard could partner, collaborate, and innovate to address those threats and challenges, whether with other states bilaterally and multilaterally, and/or with academia and think tanks, public-private endeavors, and non-governmental organizations.

Sign up form for news and upcoming events

Stay informed about our upcoming events by signing up using the form below.