Intelligence role for Coast Guard is revived

Discussion in 'Academy/Military News' started by Antoinette, Jun 30, 2008.

  1. Antoinette

    Antoinette Founding Member

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    Graduates revive intelligence role for Coast Guard

    http://hamptonroads.com/2008/06/graduates-revive-intelligence-role-coast-guard

    The goal:
    The goal is to put intelligence specialists on all the Coast Guard’s platforms, whether at sea on cutters, monitoring ship traffic and researching foreign ports, or on shore, mapping trends on drug smuggling and illegal immigration routes and helping with search-and-rescue missions.

    Teaching:
    Beginning in September, all instruction will take place in new classrooms at the Coast Guard’s training center. The goal is to run three courses a year and graduate 54 students who will come out as third-class petty officers with top-secret security clearances.

    By Matthew Jones
    The Virginian-Pilot
    © June 29, 2008
    YORKTOWN

    In response to a demand for better intelligence in increasingly uncertain times, the Coast Guard is now growing its own.

    The first group of Coast Guard intelligence specialists graduated at the training center here last month, and more classes are under way.

    These sailors will assist the service in its unique role as both maritime force and law enforcement agency. They will monitor ship traffic, research foreign ports, assist boarding teams and commanding officers, and guide air patrol routes as global threats arise.

    "The Coast Guard," said Master Chief Mark Pearson, "is changing to meet this new world order."

    With its new intelligence specialist rating, the service is formalizing and making permanent the work that it has done collaterally since the rum-runner days of Prohibition.

    During War II, it collaborated with the Navy to break codes. After the war, though, its intelligence role was set aside, said F.R. "Joe" Call III, strategic adviser to the assistant commandant for intelligence and criminal investigations.

    By the late 1970s, illegal drugs had become a serious national threat and the Coast Guard was tapped once again to gather intelligence, Call said. By the mid-1980s, it had a small program to counter the drug trade and provide maritime defense against the Soviet Union.

    This program grew during the 1980s and 1990s, as national leaders debated expanding the service's role in the larger intelligence community. Then Sept. 11, 2001, happened.

    Suddenly, the nation's ports and waterways needed more protection. The only way to do that effectively was with better intelligence.

    The Coast Guard fills a singular niche in national defense, Call said, in that it inhabits the law enforcement, national security, military and maritime worlds.

    As part of the Department of Homeland Security, Call said, it's accustomed to dealing with groups other services do not - such as the FBI, customs, immigration, state and local law enforcement, and the local shipping industry.

    But while a need was clear, how to best staff it was not. Intelligence work had always been a one-tour option for Coast Guard enlisted and officers, something to do for a few years as a break from their regular jobs, said Rating Force Master Chief David Roche-fort.

    There was no continuity to the work, and no chance for advancement for those who enjoyed and excelled at it. New crops of people were continually coming in and having to start over.

    Not wanting to start from scratch, the Coast Guard looked at the Navy's intelligence and cryptologic technician ratings as guides. To this it added its own law enforcement training.

    The rating was formally created in 2006, and the first class of 11 students graduated in May. This group spent the first 12 weeks at a Navy program at the Dam Neck Annex to Oceana Naval Air Station before finishing in Yorktown. The following two classes will do the same.

    Beginning in September, all instruction will be given in new classrooms at the Coast Guard's training center.

    The goal is to run three courses a year and graduate 54 students who will come out as third-class petty officers with top-secret security clearances.

    The rating has 284 billets, 240 of which are filled, Rochefort said. The Coast Guard is looking to increase this by 5 percent in 2009.

    The goal is to put these specialists on all the Coast Guard's platforms, whether at sea on cutters, monitoring ship traffic and researching foreign ports ahead of mooring, or on shore, mapping trends on drug smuggling and illegal immigration routes and helping with search-and-rescue missions.

    These sailors probably will switch types of assignments between tours, Rochefort said, because "we're too small to specialize."

    Senior enlisted will be drawn from other special ties for the time being, added Rochefort, who is a former operations specialist. Some will receive brief training courses and others will learn on the job, he said. There is currently no officer training path, "but that's a next logical step."

    Seaman Ericka Teegarden said she chose to pursue the new rating for the challenge. She'll be going to the Pacific Area Maritime Intelligence Fusion Center in Alameda, Calif., after school finishes at the end of June.

    The Monticello, Ind., native said that while she's not sure if she's going to stay in the Coast Guard, the skills she's learning - such as data analysis, management and mapping - will be marketable in the civilian world.

    Seaman Chris Ormes of Green Bay, Wis., will be going to Buckley Air Force Base in Colorado. He chose the program because of the responsibility.

    "You have a large potential to make an impact," he said.

    Matthew Jones, (757) 446-2949, matthew.jones@pilotonline.com
     
  2. bossf51

    bossf51 Parent

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    Thanks for posting very interesting stuff.

    :thumb:
     
  3. Antoinette

    Antoinette Founding Member

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  4. bossf51

    bossf51 Parent

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    I read that site quite a bit...thanks. My son is peripherally involved in some of this and is considering it as his career option with the CG.
     

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