U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Karl L. Schultz spoke about the Coast Guard and the U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific, emphasizing plans to expand its presence and effectiveness in the region.
Schultz, who spoke from Saipan via teleconference this week, also mentioned the increasing Chinese incursion in the area and the illegal activities which posed challenges to the Coast Guard’s operations.
Schultz also reported the deployment of Fast Response Cutters in Guam, which he said will significantly increase the Coast Guard’s presence throughout the region.
“We also demonstrate our enduring commitment to the region by homeporting three of our new assets, the Fast Response Cutter, in Guam in the next two to three years. We broke ground yesterday in Guam on what we call the Maintenance Support Building and that building will support these assets operating in the Oceania region,” Schultz said.
He said the increased capability and capacity will allow for more frequent and longer patrols to protect the area from illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing, as well as increasing drug trafficking threats to the region.
Schultz also said by next month, the Coast Guard will deploy assets in a new operating concept to strengthen the community of island nations through Operation AIGA.
“In the next month, we will be deploying Coast Guard assets in a new operating concept to strengthen the community of island nations through Operation AIGA, that’s Samoan for ‘family.’ An initial 30-day deployment of multi-mission cutters, including a 225-foot buoy tender and one of these brand-new Fast Response Cutters, will provide specialized capability to our partners in the region. With this small footprint, we will deliver variety and convenience to their doorstep, tailored to the needs of each island nation,” Schultz said.
In summary, Schultz said the Coast Guard has an enduring and specialized role in the region, and they are proud to operate with Pacific partners to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific where individual sovereignty is protected.