The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) is strategically homeporting significantly enhanced Sentinel-class Fast Response Cutters (FRCs) in the western Pacific, National Security Advisor Robert C. O’Brien said in a statement last week.
The new generation of Fast Response Cutters will conduct maritime security missions, such as fisheries patrols, enhance maritime domain awareness and enforcement efforts in collaboration with regional partners who have limited offshore surveillance and enforcement capacity, and ensure freedom of navigation.
The basing is in response to “China’s illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, and harassment of vessels operating in the exclusive economic zones (EEZs) of other countries in the Indo-Pacific”.
The statement said that the Chinese actions threatens America’s sovereignty, as well as the sovereignty of its Pacific neighbors and endangers regional stability. It added that the efforts of the United States Government, including the Coast Guard are critical to countering these “destabilizing and malign actions”.
The Coast Guard is planning to initially evaluate the feasibility of basing Fast Response Cutters in American Samoa in Fiscal Year 2021. If the survey is favorable, the United States could further expand its presence in the South Pacific.
“Enhancing the presence of the USCG in the Indo-Pacific ensures the United States will remain the maritime partner of choice in the region”, the statement said.