The complete decommissioning of Navy frigates has produced a range of concerns regarding the United States’ maritime interdiction mission to remove drug traffickers and prevent illicit drugs from reaching the homeland. As the principal interdiction tool in the high seas, Coast Guard cutters have reported a significant increase in maritime seizure of cocaine, which is aligned with the dramatic increase in supply. Due to the decrease in maritime interdiction assets, however, only one in every four maritime drug events is interdicted and the rest pass safely through the security gap. This thesis examines the Navy’s newly acquired MK VI patrol boat to determine its suitability for the high seas. This is conducted through policy analysis of the Navy’s counterdrug mission and technology assessment of the MK VI. The research determined that MK VI application in the high seas, versus the littorals, would not be suitable; however, the Navy can engage the problem with creative ideas to mitigate the challenges with the MK VI. This thesis proposes the allocation of MK VI to forward naval bases in SOUTHCOM. The MK VI is a cost-effective, capable, and versatile platform that would tremendously help the Navy avoid maritime drug event leaks.
Security Studies (Homeland Security and Defense)
Naval Postgraduate School
Master of Arts in Security Studies (Homeland Security and Defense)
National Security Affairs (NSA)
Approved for public release. distribution is unlimited