“As each FRC costs roughly $65 million, the reduction — $130 million value for two FRCs — fits relatively neatly with the heavy polar icebreaker request of
$150 million,” he said.
During a March 3 hearing of the House Appropriations
homeland security subcommittee, Rep. Chuck Fleisch-mann, R-Tenn., asked Coast Guard Commandant Adm.
Paul F. Zukunft that if the goal still was to build 58 FRCs,
why there was a reduction in funding requested for 2017
and would it delay the acquisition of the program?
Zukunft said that with an AC&I budget under $1.5
billion, some tradeoffs had to made, and this was one
of them. He added that service officials want to reach
the program of record.
In the Coast Guard’s fiscal 2016-2020 Five-Year
Capital Investment Plan, the AC&I plan for fiscal 2017
is $325 million for the FRC program.
Rep. David Price, D-N.C., said during the hearing
that Obama’s budget request is lower than what the
subcommittee would like to see and lawmakers will
work on addressing it through legislation.
Outside the FRC program, Slattery believes the fiscal 2017 request has placed appropriate priority on
some of its programs, but not for others.
“While it is a good sign that the Coast Guard might
actually be creeping toward making the icebreaker program a reality, there is still a long way to go with that
program,” he said.
A new icebreaker is expected to cost around $1 billion and take a decade to build. It has faced funding
obstacles for years in Congress, with lawmakers struggling to find ways to fund the ship and keep the Coast
Guard AC&I budget at around $1.2 billion.
The budget did not have any shocking components,
such as past proposals to cut the number of active-duty
personnel, but Slattery said he was surprised by how
large the icebreaker request was and the lack of funding
for an unmanned aerial system (UAS).
The budget justification does include a paragraph
indicating the Coast Guard is dedicating some of its
National Security Cutter (NSC) funds for UAS testing
and analysis. Specifically, $6 million is being request-
WWW.SEAPOWERMAGAZINE.ORG 28 SEAPOWER / APRIL 2016
The Coast Guard Fast Response Cutter Charles David Jr. transits the waters off the coast of Key West, Fla., Feb. 10.
The Coast Guard’s fiscal 2017 budget request includes $240 million to fund procurement of four Fast Response
Cutters, down from six cutters in the current budget.