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Coast Guard Interdictions and the Use of Advanced Technology by Adversaries
American Journal of Engineering and Technology Management
Volume 5, Issue 6, December 2020, Pages: 96-102
Received: Feb. 19, 2020; Accepted: May 18, 2020; Published: Dec. 31, 2020
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Susan Pickman, Department of Security, Fire, and Emergency Management, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York, USA
Lawrence A. Howard, Global Business and Transportation Department, SUNY Maritime College, Throggs Neck, USA
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This paper reviews the history of the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and its ever-expanding and evolving security mission, both in the present day and into the future. The authors begin by describing the broad history of maritime crime, from piracy and smuggling to political terrorism and human trafficking. The paper next hones in on the creation and transformation of the USCG—from essentially a seagoing force charged primarily with protecting the fledgling U.S. government’s main source of revenue through tariffs, to a key, multifaceted organization under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) charged with no less than 11 major missions on both land and sea—a transformation that is ongoing to the present day. The paper identifies the increasing variety of both air and sea vessels that international criminals and cartels use to conduct drug smuggling and human trafficking, and even for the purpose of launching terrorist attacks. Today these methods include not just traditional means, like ships and planes, but also seemingly outlandish devices like flying drones and unmanned submersibles that can be—and have been—used to move all manner of contraband. The authors go on to describe the innovative technologies the USCG is employing to combat all of these diverse threats, including highly sophisticated intelligence gathering capabilities and all manner of high-tech digital scanning technology specifically aimed at more effective contraband detection. Finally, the paper concludes by highlighting the most pressing current and future security challenges that the USCG faces, and emanating from some very surprising origins: the use of evolving digital technology to support covert illegal operations, and the worldwide, international effort to stop the spread of the most dangerous pandemic in over 100 years.
United States Coast Guard, Drug Smuggling, Contraband, Maritime Crimes, Submarines, Drones, Coronavirus
To cite this article
Susan Pickman, Lawrence A. Howard, Coast Guard Interdictions and the Use of Advanced Technology by Adversaries, American Journal of Engineering and Technology Management. Vol. 5, No. 6, 2020, pp. 96-102. doi: 10.11648/j.ajetm.20200506.12
Copyright © 2020 Authors retain the copyright of this article.
This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License ( which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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