For years, the US Coast Guard has been doing more with less. This is common knowledge among the services, but, perhaps, not so well-known with the American public. That may be changing, according to Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Paul F. Zukunft.
The Coast Guard is currently contracting for new patrol boats, cutters, aircraft, and helicopters. They are also improving some of their home ports and airfields. Many of the problems that the Coast Guard is facing today actually began over 10 years ago when their contracting was outsourced to private entities. This was called the Deepwater Program, and it became notorious for its waste, mismanagement, inferior design schemes, and many other problems.
At a recent conference in Seattle, WA, Coast Guard Commandant Paul Zukunft remarked that the Coast Guard is now acquiring new vessels and aircraft at, what he calls, a historic pace. “We are no longer the Rodney Dangerfield that gets no respect. We are modernizing like no time ever in my 39-plus years of active duty service.”
A big change is that the CG has moved much of its contracting in-house. This, according to Zukunft, has allowed for faster delivery of vessels and other equipment, and better control over budgets. Even so, there are a couple of problem areas remaining. The Government Accountability Office has reported that the Coast Guard still needs to pay over $200 million for a variety of design changes for its new fleet of national-security cutters.
And, there are the problems with icebreakers. The US is woefully short on heavy polar icebreakers, which is a problem as more sea travel is expected in Arctic waters from cargo shipping, tourism and other activities in the near future. The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved $1 billion for the building of one new ship, but it will take about 10 years to get it built and put into the water. In 2013, the Department of Homeland Security called for a standing, operational fleet of six Coast Guard icebreakers. The US currently has two that are operational. To compare, Russia has more than 40, and more on the way.
It can be said that the Coast Guard, while making progress, still has a long way to go before it is fully modernized.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.
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