Magazine article National Defense

Coast Guard Pleads for Deepwater Funds

Magazine article National Defense

Coast Guard Pleads for Deepwater Funds

Article excerpt

Senior Coast Guard officials are lobbying Congress for patience and generosity concerning the Deepwater program, and stress that the ambitious modernization effort is key in executing anti-narcotics missions.

"The Coast Guard must obtain and field the latest technologies and develop new techniques to counter this ever changing threat," said Rear Adm. Dennis Sirois, the Coast Guard's assistant commandant for operations. "For example, we are developing an initiative to deny the critical use of offshore refueling vessels to the go-fasts."

"Go-fasts" refer to small speedboats that rely on a network of slow, petrol-laden boats to power the craft they use to smuggle drugs into the United States. If the fueling vessels can be successfully targeted, the smugglers' speed and range could shrink significantly.

While testifying before a House government reform subcommittee, Sirois described congressional calls to reduce Deepwater funding as "troubling."

The Coast Guard's 2006 budget requests $966 million for the program. The House version of the 2006 DHS appropriations bill reduces Deepwater funding to $500 million; the Senate version reduces it to $905. …

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