Why are so many countries opting to invest as much — if not more — in their coast guards compared to conventional naval forces? Perhaps the more pressing question for naval planners, strategists, and statesmen alike is why the United States is not following suit. China already has the world’s largest coast guard with plans for further fleet expansion. Russia is rapidly expanding the size and utility of its coast guard — particularly in its contentious “near abroad.” And both primary U.S. competitors regularly position their coast guards as preferred frontline forces in day-to-day competition below the level of armed conflict. Despite this emerging “era of the coast guards,” recent naval force structure recommendations neglect to mention, let alone suggest, a corresponding need for more U.S. Coast Guard forces. However, as some already suggest, the recently released tri-service maritime strategy, Advantage at Sea, may support a better-balanced fleet.