US Sending Third High Tech Coast Guard Cutter to Guam to Face China ‘Gray Zone’ Threats

U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Eric J. Chandler

CHINA GRAY ZONE – As tensions escalate daily with China in the South and East China Sea, as well as Taiwan, the U.S. is increasing its Coast Guard presence in the Pacific, adding a third of its newest fast-response cutters to the two already deployed to Guam. The 154-foot Sentinel-class cutter Frederick Hatch is expected to arrive at the U.S. island territory in early July, after a 70-day voyage from Key West, Florida.

The sophisticated new ‘warship’ (or more accurately- law enforcement vessel) will join two similar cutters — Myrtle Hazard and Oliver Henry — that arrived there in the latter half of 2020.

According to Stars and Stripes, the Frederick Hatch will make port calls along the way for maintenance, refueling and resupplying. It added that the trio of fast-response cutters replaces the service’s 110-foot patrol boats previously stationed on Guam. The Coast Guard has stated that the boats possess advanced technology in communications and surveillance systems.

Stars and Stripes explained:

The fast-response cutters are designed for missions beyond the traditional search-and-rescue work for which the Coast Guard is best known. They can reach speeds up to 28 knots, remain at sea for five days and cover over 2,500 nautical miles during that time, according to the Coast Guard.

Armed with four .50-caliber machine guns and a remote-controlled 25-mm cannon, the cutters can be used for drug interdiction, defense operations, maritime law enforcement, search and rescue and environmental protection.

The Coast Guard’s beefed-up fleet in the Pacific is aimed in part at countering China’s growing sea power.

This past December, the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard issued a rare tri-service naval strategy – “Advantage at Sea” – that responds to China’s “revisionist approach that aims at the heart of the United States’ maritime power.”

That report notes that China’s maritime strategy hinges on the use of a multipronged deployment of ships from its navy, coast guard and maritime militia “to subvert other nations’ sovereignty and enforce unlawful claims.”

Based on these observations, the Pentagon is providing a more robust Coast Guard presence in the Western Pacific to enable joint force commanders greater flexibility in responding to China’s preferred daily “gray zone” confrontations that continue just below the threshold of actual armed conflict. ADN

Paul Crespo is the Managing Editor of American Defense News. A defense and national security expert, he served as a Marine Corps officer and as a military attaché with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) at US embassies worldwide. Paul holds degrees from Georgetown, London, and Cambridge Universities. He is also CEO of SPECTRE Global Risk, a security advisory firm, and President of the Center for American Defense Studies, a national security think tank.

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Barry J Johnson
Barry J Johnson
5 months ago

And there are my Shallow Water Shipmates going out to ‘Kick Azz and Take Names’ like they do so well. HOORAY FOR COASTIES ! ! !
Look Out China, You have no idea what you are up against.
Barry Age 76
PO1 USN RET
Vietnam 3x (Tonkin Gulf Yacht Club)

Bill Quay
Bill Quay
5 months ago

The US government should put LRASM on these ships, a 50 cal isn’t going to stop the Chinese

Barry J Johnson
Barry J Johnson
5 months ago
Reply to  Bill Quay

Don’t underestimate the rest of the ship’s capabilities. Outside arms do not make a ship lethal.
When they get on the “horn” and call “Hey Rube” watch out chins, because your slanty eyed slope head azz is grass.
Barry Age 76
PO1 USN RET
Vietnam 3x (Tonkin Gulf Yacht Club)

Barry J Johnson
Barry J Johnson
5 months ago

Oops typo, chins sb china

Joe
Joe
5 months ago

U need to put more ships there besides the cutters, china is an emminant threat everywhere and pushing their boundaries all the time, we need to push back.

Barry J Johnson
Barry J Johnson
5 months ago
Reply to  Joe

Hey Joe, look carefully, They Are There.
Barry Age 76
PO1 USN RET
Vietnam 3x (Tonkin Gulf Yacht Club)

BrewDubbs
5 months ago

We have always needed to keep our defenses sharp and ready… especially now… WWII saw German subs close enough to our Eastern shores, machine guns and normal rifles could have been used to kill Americans. Now, we have China making waves in the South Pacific and also threatening our northern most state. Need to keep all of our eyes open with our head on a swivel…I am glad President Trump at least gave the defense some more cash to work with for a little bit. Obiden would have us going back to the P-40’s, if he could.

Haywood
Haywood
5 months ago
Reply to  BrewDubbs

So now the cartels are free to ream in the gulf and US coasts? Hmm


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