BLUFThe 'quad' group of Australia, India, Japan and the US could more effectively support Indo-Pacific regional maritime security through cooperation between QUAD Group Coast Guards.
Coast guards (‘white hulls’) are increasingly deployed to maritime boundary disputes in the East China and South China Seas, notably between China, Japan and Vietnam. The informal Quad group, comprising Australia, India, Japan and the US, could provide an effective enhancer of maritime security in the Indo-Pacific through coordinating their coast guard operations. Australia’s equivalent of a coast guard, the Australian Border Force's Maritime Border Command, deploys dedicated ships and aircraft supplemented by ADF assets. It is commanded by an Australian Navy Admiral who is also a sworn Border Force Officer, allowing for the use of both ABF and ADF assets. As principally a law-enforcement agency coast guards can provide many practical benefits in building a stable and secure maritime domain, without the need to enter into a military alliance. Something its status as a civilian agency has the potential to benefit from when dealing with other nations in the region.