ed to establish a small UAS capability aboard one
NSC, to include engineering analysis, non-recurring
engineering, procurement and installation of UAS
components, and system testing and engineering.
“I do think the Coast Guard should also more aggressively pursue resources that implement a UAS such as
the ScanEagle as quickly as possible, since capability
gaps are already emerging and evident when it comes to
aerial surveillance,” Slattery said.
Bryan Clark, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments,
said that although it was surprising the Coast Guard
once again did not invest substantial funds for UASs,
there are other options.
“Some of these systems are inexpensive enough to
be purchased as part of operating expenses, as opposed
to acquisition. Also, the Coast Guard could pursue getting some DoD [Department of Defense] systems that
are no longer being used,” he said.
Looking at the budget as a whole, Clark believes the
service placed enough priority on key acquisition programs to sustain today’s fleet of
ships and aircraft with procurement of new platforms.
“The emphasis on ships was evident in the fact that half the procurement budget goes to ship procurement and sustainment,” he said.
The service could face issues
funding the OPC and icebreaker
programs in the future while completing the FRC program at the
same time, with the usual acquisition dollars the service receives,
“These programs may be difficult to procure in future budgets
unless the Coast Guard gets more
money or forgoes most other procurement during the early 2020s,”
Coast Guard Office of Budget
and Programs officials told
Seapower that recapitalization is its
highest priority, and the fiscal 2017
budget keeps this on track and
ensures the Coast Guard can conduct operations in support of
Specifically, the budget accelerates acquisition of a new polar
icebreaker to meet growing demands in the polar regions, the
The lengthy recapitalization is prominent in the
budget as benchmark programs, such as the NSC,
wind down and new ones, such as the OPC and icebreaker, ramp up. All told, $704.1 million was requested for vessel recapitalization.
These projects are critical to ensuring Coast Guard
mission effectiveness in the 21st century, the budget
office officials said.
The budget provides the necessary funding for the
Coast Guard to continue replacing aging cutters and aircraft for the future viability of the service, as well as performing its statutory missions, they said.
This budget preserves Coast Guard operations and
continues recapitalization efforts for the cutters, boats,
aircraft, systems and infrastructure, according to budget office officials. The budget also efficiently allocates
resources to optimize Coast Guard mission performance, they said.
Missing from the budget, and noted in the Coast
Guard’s unfunded priority list, is $138 million for follow-on acquisition needs for a ninth NSC. ;
The Coast Guard’s fiscal 2017 budget request would invest $150 million to
complete the design work on a new heavy icebreaker to augment the service’s
fleet. Petty Officer 2nd Class Travis Curly and Petty Officer 3rd Class
Preston Cummings are shown here operating off the service’s lone operational
heavy icebreaker, Polar Star, near Antarctica’s Ross Ice Shelf on Feb. 4 during
Operation Deep Freeze.