Coast Guard Faces Complex Global Challenges

For me, the United States Coast Guard has always evoked images of heroic rescues, ships caught in Nor'easters, and training sessions on fishing safety—vital acts imparting a straightforward impression.

A discussion aboard the USCGC Seneca with Commander Chuck Fosse, Lt. Commander Camilla Bosanquet, and the Carnegie New Leaders complicated matters. We discussed some of the global and ethical decisions that Coast Guard officers and sailors regularly face.

Since entering under the umbrella of the Department of Homeland Security in 2002, the mandate of the Coast Guard to protect our maritime borders has intensified. In addition to shoring up port security, Coast Guard sailors intercept drug and migrant boats regularly in the Caribbean. 

Values of honor, respect and devotion to duty guide the Coast Guard, along with a Coast Guard Ethos developed within the last 5 years. This ethos defines their responsibility to the citizens of the United States, and serves as a framework when deciding how to behave in critical situations.

The mandate to protect citizens of the United States is key when given the mission to intercept ramshackle migrant boats, full of desperate, hungry people yearning to enter our country. The Coast Guard sends the vast majority back to their nations of origin. It's not an easy task, but Fosse points out that without the intervention of cutters like his, half of those boats would be lost at sea to the heavy winds and dangerous currents.

While many encounters with migrant and drug boats require the cutters' considerable firepower—aimed to avoid killing humans on board vessels, but still risky—non-lethal weapons can also be used to avoid injury or death. The Coast Guard is developing a suite of these weapons, which range from rubber bullets to nausea-inducing stink-bombs. But Fosse says sometimes the best tool is patience; if he can stop a target boat from moving with a well-placed net around a propeller, its inhabitants will eventually become hungry, tired, and more complacent.

The Coast Guard is also responsible for training the navies of friendly developing nations and enforcing domestic fishing borders. They send teams aboard naval vessels to arrest pirates off the Horn of Africa. In short, their global reach is significant and flies under our collective radar.

The purpose of Fleet Week in New York is to celebrate the sea services. With this fascinating ship tour and exchange of global ideas, the Coast Guard and Carnegie New Leaders put their own stamp on Fleet Week 2012.

Views: 823

Tags: migration, security, trafficking

Comment

You need to be a member of Global Ethics Network to add comments!

Join Global Ethics Network

Comment by Julia Kennedy on May 31, 2012 at 1:37pm

Thanks to Lt. Commander Camilla Bosanquet for organizing the tour and conversation. She's a rock star of a Carnegie New Leader!

Carnegie Council

Ethics in Business: In Their Own Words, with Pendal's Emilio Gonzalez

Emilio Gonzalez, group CEO at Pendal in Australia, speaks about the role of ethics in global investment management. He discusses his organization's charitable work, its innovative "contribution leave" policy, how to engage with new technology, like AI, in a thoughtful way, and much more.

International Migrants in China's Global City, with James Farrer

Is China becoming an immigrant society? Why do foreigners move to the country? What can we learn by studying Shanghai's international community? James Farrer, a professor at Tokyo's Sophia University, has interviewed over 400 migrants to China looking to answer these questions. He and Senior Fellow Devin Stewart discuss immigration's impact on Chinese culture and whether foreigners can ever really fit in.

The Crack-Up: Eugene Debs & the Origins of Socialism in the U.S., with Maurice Isserman

Hamilton College's Maurice Isserman and historian Ted Widmer discuss American socialism in the early 1900s and the influence of Eugene Debs, a politician and trade unionist who received nearly a million votes for president in 1912. How did this movement influence Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement? What's the difference between Debs and Democratic Socialists like Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez?

SUBSCRIBE TODAY

VIDEOS

SUPPORT US

GEO-GOVERNANCE MATTERS

© 2019   Created by Carnegie Council.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service


The views and opinions expressed in the media, comments, or publications on this website are those of the speakers or authors and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions held by Carnegie Council.