COAST GUARD CUTTERS
The U.S. Coast Guard is one of the nation’s five
armed services — the only one residing outside the Department of Defense — and serves
as a maritime military and law enforcement
force within the Department of Homeland
According to Title 14, U.S. Code, the Coast Guard is
responsible for enforcing federal law on the high seas and in
U.S. waters. It administers the law and enforces regulations
that promote the safety of life and property in the maritime
environment. It also is charged with engaging in maritime
surveillance and interdiction, licensing mariners, monitoring
shipping within the United States and ensuring navigability of
In 2016, the Coast Guard maintained an active-duty force
of around 40,992, a Reserve force of 7,000 and a cadre of
8,577 civilian employees. The Coast Guard Auxiliary comprises
31,000 volunteers who support boating safety, marine environmental protection and search-and-rescue missions. The
Coast Guard conducts its missions with a force of about 243
cutters, 1,650 boats and 201 aircraft.
The U.S. Coast Guard is led by Adm. Paul F. Zukunft. His
priorities for the force during his four-year tenure as commandant include aligning Coast Guard strategies with Department
of Homeland Security priorities to advance national interests,
continuing to invest in the 21st-century fleet, sustaining mission excellence and maximizing service to the nation.
The Coast Guard is about halfway through the largest
recapitalization in its history. The service is acquiring nine
National Security Cutters — one more than originally planned
— and continuing acquisition of the Fast Response Cutter.
In September 2016, it selected the design for the new class
of 25 Offshore Patrol Cutters, awarding a contract to Eastern
Shipbuilding Group Inc., Panama City, Fla. Two Island-class
patrol boats were retired in 2016.
The Coast Guard is modifying the first few of 14 C-27J
Spartan medium-sized military transport aircraft acquired
from the Air Force to the HC-27J configuration. The service
also is acquiring more HC-130J aircraft as it retires some older
For fiscal 2017, President Barack Obama’s administration
requested $10.3 billion for the service, including $1.14 billion
for acquisition, construction and improvements.
The service, in 2016, continued working closely with U.S.
Southern Command on strategic objectives, mutual priorities
and opportunities for collaboration in Latin America and the
Caribbean, including drug and human trafficking interdiction.
The Coast Guard also was responsible for fisheries
enforcement and safety operations that help support the U.S.
domestic fisheries’ $24-billion-per-year industry.
The Coast Guard has expanded its operations in the Arctic
to improve readiness in the region. Obama stated his support
for a new icebreaker, with procurement expected to begin
in 2020. In October 2016, the service issued a request to the
shipbuilding industry for feedback on a notional acquisition
approach to a new icebreaker program. n
The U.S. Coast Guard Juniper-class seagoing buoy tender Sequoia
maintains position off Jinn Hsing Tsai No. 3 in the Philippine Sea while a
joint boarding team conducts a boarding of the vessel to enforce fish-
eries regulations, Sept. 2, 2016. The U.S. Coast Guard and Australian
Fisheries Management Authority boarded the vessel to ensure compli-
ance with Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Convention regulations.