Rear Admiral Andrew Sugimoto joined INSA's VP for Policy, Larry Hanauer, for a Tuesday morning Coffee & Conversation on March 16th. ADM Sugimoto serves as the U.S. Coast Guard's Assistant Commandant for Intelligence (CG-2) and provided candid insights about the Coast Guard’s mission imperatives, including its intelligence priorities, counterintelligence objectives, cybersecurity efforts, and more.
ADM Sugimoto began by explaining the unique role of the Coast Guard; the force is a military service, as well as law enforcement, first responders, and intelligence agency. Despite its relatively small size and budget, the Coast Guard has broad jurisdiction over these areas. Its top priorities include protecting maritime transportation systems, ensuring the movement of commerce, and providing actionable intelligence to decision-makers.
In response to a question about the threats posed by Russia and China, ADM Sugimoto stressed that the Coast Guard’s duties extend beyond protection. The force is also tasked with preserving a global rule-based order and maintaining freedom of navigation. Another important responsibility is to promote the safety, security, and sovereignty of US territories and to counter unregulated fishing fleets that deplete strategic protein stocks that many nations rely on.
Thanks to the CG-2's robust insider threat and training programs, the Coast Guard has been successful in mitigating anti-government extremism within its ranks. ADM Sugimoto discussed the Coast Guard’s counterintelligence concerns. Our adversaries are very interested in the tactics and strategies of our maritime service and how it goes about securing ports— protecting this information is of paramount importance. Regarding cyber threats, the Coast Guard works with DHS and its partners in the maritime industry to identify where the threats are coming from. Since the Coast Guard leads the defense of the nation’s maritime infrastructure, these partnerships are critical.
Greater collaboration between the CG-2 and industry will be necessary to equip the Coast Guard with the technologies needed to confront threats in the Arctic and around the world. ADM Sugimoto referred to the ScanEagle drone system and ISR capabilities; he is also looking at other unmanned systems that will build better maritime domain awareness. Technologies that process ISR data is one specific area where the Coast Guard aims to work more closely with industry.
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