– Executive Summary –

Strategic competition with nation states below the level of armed conflict is a strategic reality for the foreseeable future. The United States cannot afford to cede the knowledge gained in irregular conflict during the Global War on Terror in favor of a renewed focus on nation-state conflict ala Air Land Battle and Air Sea Battle. Visionary change is needed to align the military services so that the nation can continue to address irregular threats, such as stabilization, as well as conventional threats by providing both deterrence against nation-state warfare as well as capabilities necessary to protect national interests globally. The Coast Guard could have a key role in addressing the nation’s security concerns while enabling diplomatic objectives related to strategic competition in the maritime domain. Development of a comprehensive Coast Guard Operating Concept aligns service efforts and missions along stabilization providing the Joint Force with a military service wholly focused below the threshold of near peer armed conflict in the maritime domain. A comprehensive operating concept mirroring those released by the Army and Marine Corps could align service cultures and internal communities behind a unifying and comprehensive mission carving out a unique niche for the Coast Guard within the Joint Force.

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