Joint operations with the coast guards and equivalents of China's neighbours would be the only way US Coast Guard operating so far from home would have any real legitimacy operating so far from home.
You would have complications associated with this (chains of command, other disputes between other countries not involving China etc.) but If there was a will on all relevant sides these potentially could be overcome in a way to avoid overt militarisation of the response to these Chinese "fishermen".
I agree. It's why I like the idea of transferring the Whidby Island-class of amphibs to the USGS. Those, combined with HH60's are perfect for HA/DR training. There is no shortage of HA/DR incidents in this region.
At ~15000 tons they are big.
They are amphibs so the well deck with connectors is great for HA/DR training.
HH60's have proven capabilities and is a bird the USGS uses today.
Whidby Island-class comes with significant defensive systems.
Built to military survivability class II standard.
It can be done immediately.
US Navy amphib plans are built around San Antonio-class ships (LX/R)
Two SA-Class LPD's are being built today. There is industrial capacity to add another in the shipbuilding plan.
Actually Kaiser, let me qualify where I agree. The USCG would be very beneficial in the Pacific theater. Joint operations is a great way for the USCG to assist, but it quite obviously doesn't have to be the only way.
No United States government civilian or military entity ever suffers from a lack of "real legitimacy". Why would such a characterization be considered? Further, they would not be operating "so far from home". Especially if by "home" we mean those areas where the United States clearly has economic and security interest.
The name, "US Coast Guard", only suggests that they are not typically a blue water force. My goodness, it does not define where they perform their duties. That would ignore historical precedence. Of course we all know there are countries that, unfortunately, do abdicate their responsibilities. They either don't choose to, or perhaps, they just don't have the ability to protect their national interests. That doesn't mean the United States must operate in the same etiolated manner.
The mission of the USGS is "to protect the public, the environment, and U.S. economic interests — in the nation's ports and waterways, along the coast, on international waters, or in any maritime region as required to support national security
That, my friend, includes the South China Sea.