USCG Commandant: Commitment to Western Hemisphere Is a Major Goal

US Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft addressed transnational threats and maritime challenges at the Center for Strategic and International Studies as part of the Maritime Security Dialogue, Friday.

The Maritime Security Dialogue highlights particular challenges facing the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard, from national-level maritime policy to naval concept development and program design.

Zukunft, who assumed command as the 25th commandant in June 2014, spoke about the Coast Guard’s evolving role in the 21st century and strategic goals for his term. One major goal is the Coast Guard’s responsibility and commitment to the Western Hemisphere.

The U.S. faces significant emerging threats on our southern borders and transit zones specifically due to the rapid growth of transnational criminal organizations that fuel violence and instability throughout the region.

The Coast Guard’s Western Hemisphere Strategy, released in September 2014, addresses these challenges in the Western Hemisphere and outlines a long-term guide for operational success. The strategy has three priorities: combating networks, securing borders and safeguarding commerce.

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Boutwell

Zukunft highlighted the Coast Guard Cutter Boutwell’s recent success as part of the Western Hemisphere Strategy. The crew of the San Diego-based cutter interdicted more than half a billion dollars of contraband from 13 interdictions during a recent patrol off of Central and South America.

He stressed that the Western Hemisphere Strategy will help to ensure the Coast Guard will continue to be the leader in maritime security.

Retired Navy Vice Adm. Peter Daly, chief executive officer of the U.S. Naval Institute, led the question and answer session.

The Maritime Security Dialogue brings together CSIS and USNI to provide an unmatched forum through public events and multimedia interviews with a wide range of military leaders, government officials, and thought leaders on maritime issues.

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Press release, Image: USCG