Magazine article National Defense

Coast Guard Facing Financial Crunch

Magazine article National Defense

Coast Guard Facing Financial Crunch

Article excerpt

The Coast Guard is facing funding shortages as it seeks to upgrade its fleet, and the service does not have a sufficient plan to meet its long-term modernization goals, according to a government watchdog group.

The president's fiscal year 2018 budget request included only $1.2 billion for Coast Guard acquisitions, even though senior service officials have said they need more than $2 billion annually, said Marie Mak, director of acquisition and sourcing management at the Government Accountability Office. That is part of a multi-year trend, she added.

"In an effort to address funding constraints, the Coast Guard delayed new acquisitions through the annual budget process but lacks a long-term plan to set forth affordable priorities," she said in recent written testimony to the House subcommittee on Coast Guard and maritime transportation.

She estimated that offshore patrol cutter procurement would cost $12.1 billion and consume about two-thirds of the Coast Guard's acquisition budget between 2018 and 2032. Meanwhile, the service aims to buy new polar icebreakers, fast response cutters and aviation assets in the coming years.

Recapitalization remains the Coast Guard's highest priority, Deputy Commandant for Operations Vice Adm. Charles Ray and Deputy Commandant for Mission Support Vice Adm. Sandra Stosz said in written testimony to the subcommittee.

The Coast Guard currently has a $1.6 billion shore infrastructure construction backlog, and a $708 million shore maintenance backlog, according to officials. …

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