On August 4, the United States Coast Guard (USCG) marks its 229th birthday. The Department of State is proud to call the USCG “partner” – our two agencies work together across the globe, jointly advancing U.S. and international security and safety in multiple ways. These efforts overseas focus on disrupting and deterring transnational criminal activity, strengthening partner resilience in the face of malign influence, and promoting the rules-based order in the maritime domain. The State Department’s Bureaus of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL); International Security and Nonproliferation (ISN); Oceans, Environment, and Science (OES); Political-Military Affairs (PM); and Economic and Business Affairs (EB) all look to the Coast Guard as their partner of choice in strengthening maritime governance, building partner nations’ maritime law enforcement capacity, enhancing maritime domain awareness, and protecting ports and waterways to ensure the free flow of global commerce.
In the Western Hemisphere, the USCG’s persistent offshore presence severs supply lines of criminal networks by interdicting drugs and apprehending traffickers where they are most vulnerable – at sea. But the Coast Guard’s work doesn’t stop there. In Costa Rica the State Department donated three former USCG 110-foot patrol boats, providing that country’s authorities with the ability to stop drugs at sea further from the Costa Rican shore, while the USCG is providing maintenance assistance teams with support from Central America Maritime Regional Initiative (CAMRI) FMF and INL funding. The Coast Guard also works with INL on training Costa Rica’s own Coast Guard and providing a U.S. maritime advisor. In El Salvador, the USCG and INL are working together to develop the capacity of the Navy, including through subject matter exchanges, mobile training teams, and the provision of a maritime advisor. Further south, the Coast Guard works with INL and the DEA to support the Colombian Navy in interdicting drugs departing Colombia’s Caribbean coast.
The State Department also partners with the USCG across the Indo-Pacific. In Southeast Asia, INL and the USCG are working together with the Indonesia, Malaysian, Philippine, and Vietnam coast guards to strengthen law enforcement operational and training capabilities, enhance regional interoperability, and increase maritime domain awareness. In Oceania, the USCG partnered with INL to conduct a regional “roundup” to stop illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. On the other side of the Indian Ocean, the USCG – in partnership with Embassy Nairobi – is the partner of choice for helping stand up the Kenya Coast Guard Service.
The State Department – Coast Guard partnership extends to the top of the planet. In the polar regions, the USCG is the preeminent U.S. maritime presence – defending U.S. sovereignty and economic interests from encroachment by militarized forces and non-Arctic nations. The service is also a forward-leaning leader in the Arctic Coast Guard Forum and an exceptional contributor to the Arctic Council, working hard to ensure the safety and security of this rapidly developing region. In our Southern Hemisphere, they lead U.S. maritime forces in Antarctica, protecting U.S. interests in the region and providing critical supplies to U.S. scientists. We look forward to the build-out of the Coast Guard’s new Polar Security Cutter program, allowing the United States to continue its long heritage in the polar regions and expand our contributions to the vital research, safety, and security needs of these remote areas.
Around the world, around the clock, the U.S. Coast Guard is there. Living their motto – Semper Paratus, Always Ready.