WWW.SEAPOWERMAGAZINE.ORG 20 SEAPOWER / APRIL 2015
The U.S. Coast Guard’s extensive fleet recapital- ization program would once again receive less funding than the previous year in President
Barack Obama’s fiscal 2016 budget request, despite a
slight increase in the service’s overall budget.
The spending request for the Department of
Homeland Security (DHS), which oversees the Coast
Guard, totals $41.2 billion, up from the fiscal 2015
request of $38.2 billion. Obama’s $9.96 billion budget
request for the service, released Feb. 2, includes $8.14
billion in discretionary funding and $1.01 billion for
acquisition, construction and improvements (AC&I).
The fiscal 2015 proposal asked for $9.8 billion overall,
including $1.08 billion for AC&I.
“The trend continues to reduce the amount of
money the Coast Guard has to build force structure in
an environment where people are going to turn to
them more and more in the future, and they are not
going to have the force to support it,” said Bryan Clark,
a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and
Modernizing the fleet has been a major emphasis for
the service since it was moved from the Department of
Transportation to DHS after the 9/11
terrorist attacks. Its mission set has
expanded over the years to include
more joint assignments with other
federal government agencies as
budgets in Washington have shrunk
due to the Budget Control Act of
2011 and sequestration in 2013.
Lawmakers on both sides of the
aisle were not pleased with the president’s budget request for the service.
“It will severely undermine efforts
to recapitalize the service’s aging and
failing legacy assets, increase acquisition costs for taxpayers and seriously
degrade mission effectiveness,” Rep.
Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., chairman
of the House Transportation and Infrastructure on Coast
Guard and maritime transportation subcommittee, said
during a Feb. 25 budget hearing.
Ranking Member, Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif.,
echoed his concerns.
“The Coast Guard is currently underfunded to meet
its mission goals,” he said.
In the $1.01 billion allotted in the AC&I budget,
$533.9 million is slated for the surface fleet, including
continued preliminary contract design evaluation for
the Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC), six Fast Response
Cutters (FRCs), and the continuation of the sustainment of the 140-foot domestic icebreaker fleet and the
225-foot seagoing buoy tender fleet.
The service issued three preliminary design contracts in 2014 to Bollinger Shipyards, Lockport, La.;
Eastern Shipbuilding Group Inc., Panama City, Fla.;
and General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine.
According to the Coast Guard, these contracts begin
Phase I of a two-phase competition.
During Phase I, the contractors will mature the proposed designs they submitted in response to the OPC
solicitation issued by the Coast Guard. These designs
More, But Less
Coast Guard acquisition, improvements request
is lower, though overall service budget would rise
By JOHN C. MARCARIO, Special Correspondent
A Boost for New Programs
In the Coast Guard’s fiscal 2016 budget request, the Offshore
Patrol Cutter (OPC) and C-27J Spartan medium-sized military
transport aircraft receive the funding spotlight.
; Included is continued funding for the preliminary contract design
evaluation of the OPC.
; However, the service’s overall acquisition, construction and
improvements budget would dip below the post-sequestration
level of 2013.
; The budget has been criticized by lawmakers and others as being
insufficient for the Coast Guard to execute its 11 core missions.