Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Karl Schultz discussed expanding operations throughout the Indo-Pacific on a trip to the Philippines to mark the 75th anniversary of Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s Leyte landing.
“Many Indo-Pacific nations lack the capability to police their waters. In the face of coercive & antagonistic behavior, we offer transparent engagement & partnership,” Schultz tweeted regarding his meetings with U.S. 7th Fleet and U.S. Forces Japan leaders.
Schultz also met with Japan’s coast guard to ensure them of USCG “support to one of our most capable partners.”
“A secure & peaceful #IndoPacific is vital for global trade. We work w/ the Japan Coast Guard to ensure regional maritime security & promote rules-based order,” he tweeted.
He called cooperation with the Philippines “a top U.S. maritime policy priority,” and met with Adm. Elson E. Hermogino, commandant of the Philippine Coast Guard, and Vice Adm. Joel S. Garcia, deputy commandant for administration and the director of the National Coast Watch Center. “Our Service has supported their expansion through a robust training & technical assistance effort,” Schultz added.
The USCG, U.S. Navy and Philippine Navy trained together for Maritime Training Activity (MTA) Sama Sama, exercises that launched on Oct. 14 and included search-and-seizure operations, maritime domain awareness, and disaster response.
The commandant visited Coast Guard members from the Cutter Stratton, homeported in Alameda, Calif., and currently off the coast of Puerto Princesa. Stratton has been in the region since June, conducted joint training exercises with Indonesian and Malaysian counterparts, and conducted Yellow Sea patrols to intercept North Korean sanctions violations.
On Sunday, Schultz attended the Leyte anniversary commemoration with Chargé d’Affaires John C. Law. In a statement beforehand, the commandant called it “an opportunity to reflect on the enduring role of the U.S. Coast Guard in the Pacific region.”
“My goal for the U.S. Coast Guard is to be the partner of choice in the region,” Schultz said. “Our specialized capabilities and expansive international relationships enable us to build partner-nation capacity and model rules-based values. We are proud to be operating with our Philippine partners to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific region.”