sis for the National Security Multi-Mission Vessel/School Ship Replacement Program. The ships are replacing the aging fleet of training ships
provided to the six state maritime
academies that produce 70 percent
of the U.S. unlimited tonnage open
ocean-licensed mariners annually.
The average age of these ships is
USCG Budget Funds
OPC, Icebreaker Work
President Barack Obama’s $10.3 bil-
lion request for the Coast Guard,
which was part of the Department of
Homeland Security’s (DHS’) $40.6
billion budget proposal made public
Feb. 9, includes $1.1 billion for ac-
quisition, construction & improve-
ments (AC&I) and would keep the
number of active-duty personnel
around 42,000. The AC&I funding
includes $150 million for a new polar
icebreaker, a priority for the Obama
administration to strengthen U.S.
efforts in the changing Arctic.
The strong interest in the program
also comes as Washington’s relationship with Moscow, a key player in the
Arctic, rapidly devolves in the wake
of Russia’s incursion in Ukraine.
“The growth of human activity in
the Arctic region will require highly
engaged stewardship to maintain
the open seas necessary for global
commerce and scientific research,
allow for search-and-rescue activities, and provide for regional peace
and stability,” the White House said
in a statement in September.
A new heavy icebreaker is projected to cost between $900 million
and $1.1 billion. The budget proposal noted production activities on the
icebreaker should begin by 2020.
Other investment priorities in the
Coast Guard’s 2017 proposal include
$100 million to complete the
detailed design work and procure
long-lead items for the Offshore
Patrol Cutter (OPC), $130 million to
convert C-27J aircraft for the Coast
Guard and $240 million to buy four
Fast Response Cutters (FRCs).
The 25-ship OPC program, esti-
mated to cost $12 billion, will be
the most expensive in Coast Guard
and DHS history. The service
would like the first ship to be oper-
ating in the fleet by fiscal 2021.
The FRCs are replacing the 110-
foot Island-class patrol boat fleet. The
service commissioned the 15th FRC
in January and received delivery of
the 16th in December. The program
calls for 58 of the 154-foot ships.
The 2017 funding levels fall short
of Congress’ enacted fiscal 2016
budget that provided the service
with an overall budget of $11.1 billion and $1.9 billion in AC&I. In fiscal 2015, the service’s budget was
slightly less than $10.3 billion, with
$1.2 billion provided for AC&I.
WWW.SEAPOWERMAGAZINE.ORG 8 SEAPOWER / FEBRUARY/MARCH 2016
Crew members of the Coast Guard Fast Response Cutter (FRC) Joseph Napier salute during its commissioning ceremony
at Coast Guard Sector San Juan, Puerto Rico, Jan. 29. Joseph Napier is the 15th FRC to be commissioned.