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Funding shortfall would hurt Coast Guard’s recapitalization Last month, the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation voiced their concern about the impact of the projected $600 million reduction in the U.S. Coast Guard’s Acquisition, Construction and Improvements Account. At the subcommittee hearing, “Coast Guard Readiness: Examining Cutter, Aircraft, and Communications Needs,” Ranking Member John Garamendi (D-CA) and Chairman Duncan Hunter (R-CA) listened to testimony by expert witnesses on how projected reductions would affect the Coast Guard’s ability to achieve its $29 billion recapitalization program. Witnesses were in agreement that unless significant additional funding is provided, the nation’s oldest continuous maritime service will experience reduced operational capabilities and mission performance. At the hearing, Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard Admiral John P. Currier said the Coast Guard would see

replacement assets. This will increase acquisition costs for taxpayers, place further strain on the Service’s aging and failing legacy assets, exacerbate growing capability gaps, and seriously degrade mission effectiveness.” Hunter said that because of its failing legacy assets, the Coast Guard has been forced to reduce hours spent conducting drug interdiction activities by 65 percent in recent fiscal years. “The only way to reverse the decline in the Coast Guard’s mission performance is to make the necessary investments to acquire new and improved assets. Unfortunately, based on the last couple of budget requests, it appears this Administration refuses to make those investments. If that is the case, then it is time for the President to tell Congress what missions the Coast Guard will no longer conduct. It is simply irresponsible to continue to send our servicemen and women out on failing legacy assets commissioned over 50 years ago and expect them to succeed in their missions.”

increased illegal maritime activities in the waters of California and Texas if the U.S. were to strengthen security on the southwest border, as is proposed in the Senate’s immigration bill. While the Coast Guard is finally taking delivery of new assets such as the Fast Response Cutter, National Security Cutter, and Medium Response Boats, Chairman Duncan Hunter (R-CA) said the President’s proposed budget would “set the program back another 15 to 20 years.” The FY2014 President’s Budget requests $9.79 billion for the Coast Guard, including $743 million for vessels, including the National Security Cutter (NSC-7), two Fast Response Cutters (FRC), Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC) acquisition, and funding for In-Service Vessel sustainment, including a 140 ft icebreaker. “The President guts the Coast Guard’s acquisition budget, cutting it by 42 percent below the current level,” said Hunter. “The President’s request proposes to terminate or delay the acquisition of critically needed

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12 MARINE LOG July 2013








Engineered Solutions

July 2013 Marine Log Magazine  
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