Commandant asks Surface Navy Association for Help

Thursday, Jan. 12, Admiral Papp addressed the Surface Navy Association and asked for their help in educating the Congress and the Administration regarding the need to complete the current ship acquisition plans.

Two things come to mind, first, good to see the Commandant on the stump trying to sell the program, and second, the Navy has not been helpful so far.

Why hasn’t the Navy helped in this regard?

  • Is it negligence?
  • Are they afraid money will be diverted from the Navy to the CG?
  • Do they feel the Coast Guard’s large ships are no longer naval assets, so why bother?

13 thoughts on “Commandant asks Surface Navy Association for Help

  1. It is not the Navy’s problem to solve the Coast Guard’s inability to maintain its assets and manage its acqusition programs.

    I will give you a point about cutters having no naval combat capability anymore, but again it is the Coast Guard itself who demilitarized the ships and who has made it clear since the days of Admiral Yost that they have no interest in anything beyond security ops in the rear.

  2. If I was the CNO, I wouldn’t actively supporting an increase to the CG’s shipbuilding budget. I realize that is harsh, but let’s be realistic – there is less shipbuilding money available, and then there is the Coast Guard’s regulatory mission set. The Navy doesn’t care about protecting fish stocks, conducting migrant patrols, and only marginally supports the drug interdiction mission. If they divert funds from Navy programs to build more NSCs, they aren’t going to get a very good ROI, as an NSC conducting North Pacific driftnet enforcement isn’t a DOD mission set.

    It isn’t the lack of CG combat capability on board cutters – I’m sure the Navy could add the necessary weaponry the cutters might lack, again, if the Navy thought they would get something for their time and effort.

  3. In a era in which the Navy will have fewer ships than prior to World War One , how can the “Big” White Ones be a force multplier for a force commander. ASW, nope, AAW, nope, NGFS, nope, ASSW, nope, So in what areas can our “POLICE” cutters operate.

    Oh wait, there will be mission pods. And who will mann those mission pods, with the Navy downsizing?
    Not Coasties. We did away with the Radarmen, Sonar Techs and Fire Control Techs, so we’ll have to borrow them, but from who.

    ADM Papp, with all due respect, If I was CNO, I would say to you, “When you decide that you are a military servicre and proovide me with platforms I and my fleet commanders can use, then and only then will I help.”

    • CGRDCS:

      Ordinarily I abide by a rule that I will not respond to anonymous bloggers. But your comment is so far off the mark and insulting to my Coast Guardsmen …“When you decide that you are a military servicre (your spelling)….” that I must respond. Ask Vice Admiral Mark Fox (5th Fleet and Navy Central Command) if he thinks our patrol boat squadron is anything less than “military”. I have…he wants more of us, and the squadron fills a niche that the Navy can’t.

      You presume to suggest what the CNO might say to me. I sit next to Admiral Greenert (the CNO in case you didn’t know) at the JCS Tank meetings at least weekly…sometimes twice a week, and then there are the numerous Washington events where we are together. I have known him since he was the N8 and I was Chief of Staff…and when he was Fleet Forces Command and I was LANTAREA. For my first year as Commandant, I sat next to Admiral Roughead (former CNO)…I’ve known him for 12 years. NEVER have I heard either of them refer to the Coast Guard in anything other that the most respectful terms. I can state the same for the other Service Chiefs as well.

      I have personally met with the Combatant Commanders of Northern, Southern, Pacific, Europe, Africa and Central Commands and each and every one of them wants more Coast Guard resources and people.

      The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Dempsey recently flew with me in a USCG H-60 to land on STRATTON for an underway tour of the ship. When questioned by reporters on why he was there, he stated that it was his job to give the President options for national security, and he needed to know all the options that are available…the Coast Guard presents an intriguing option.

      Those who suggest we build a fleet that is redundant to the Navy are off the mark, uninformed and demonstrate no knowledge of the Federal budget and acquisition processes. Those who want us to build a second Navy will be sorely disappointed. If we are to survive, we must build ships first, that meet Coast Guard mission requirements and second, provide capabilities that complement the Navy.

      I believe the National Security Cutter will be remembered some day like we remember the 327’s today. The 327’s were built as the country was coming out of the Great Depression, and they were minimally armed as cruising cutters. No one knew that World War II, Korea, Viet Nam, drug interdiction, and mass migrations would be in the future, but these very versatile cutters adapted, and complemented the Navy. As we deal with the challenges of the current economy and the Federal budget deficit, we find ourselves in similar times, with the same challenges. The NSCs are being built for 40 years of service in an uncertain and unpredictable future.

      So CGRDCS…stay in the world of the anonymous naysayers who contribute nothing other than adding to the doom and gloom. The men and women of today’s Coast Guard are the best, and most “military” I have seen in the nearly 42 years I have been associated with this Service. They inspire me with their possitive, optimistic and devoted efforts to move our beloved Service forward while responding to today’s challenges.

      Semper Paratus,
      Admiral R. J. Papp, Jr.
      Commandant

      • ADM Papp,
        Thank you for the tine to reply to my posting. I regret that you think my opinions disrespect the Men and Women of the Coast Guard. They do not. I know first hand that it is the dedication and attention to mission by the crews that will overcome problems in successful completion of assigned missions.

        I agree that we ( The Coast Guard) should not be a junior Navy. I am of the generation that believes the Navy is the junior Sea Service. The Coast Guard does have a military mission and over the years, in my opinion, that military mission has been pushed aside.

        The work done by the Patrol Boats and support staff in the 5th Fleet AOR is worthy of note and praise. They match the other patrol boats of Coast Guard history in hostile areas, like D-Day 83’s and the 82’s of Squadron 1, in Vietnam. I’m glad and proud of thier serice.

        For the record, I am a 21 year retired Senior Chief Radarman. I served aboard 311’s, 255’s, a 210, the STORIS and was a member of the PRECOM and Vietnam deployment crew of CGC RUSH. After making Chief, I returned for a second tour of duty aboard RUSH. I hold the Navy Commendation Medal with Combat V, the Navy Achievement Medal with Combat V, the Navy Combat ActionRibbon, the Coast Guard Unit Commendation Ribbon, with “O” devvice and Gold star in lieu of 2nd award, Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon, The Navy Meritious Unit Commendation Ribbon, CG Sea Service Ribbon, CG Good Conduct Medal (5 Awards) , Vietnam Service Medal and others. I also hold a permanment Cutterman’s Device. I served from June 1965 to September 1986. After Retirement I remained as a civillian employee at Governors Island, until 1989.

        Let me close by again repeating. My respect, devotion and love for the U.S. Coast Guard is second to none, even yours.

        SEMPER PARATUS
        John Hawkins
        RDCS, US Coast Guard Retired

  4. There may be a perception that there are trade offs between the Navy and CG budget, and some people may even be acting on that, but actually I don’t think there is anything beyond the very remote connection to the total Federal budget. Essentially you see a very consistent three way split between the Army, Navy (including the Marines), and Air Force. The question now is will that even split continue, or will priorities shift.

    • Chuck, I disagree. Yes, the Coast Guard budget is part of the DHS budget (a different problem altogether) and the Navy is funded through the DOD budget, but if you think that OMB isn’t comparing what the Navy asks for and the Coast Guard asks for, you’re dreaming. I have participated in several exercises of this kind over the last several years – OMB routinely crosses Departmental lines to look at funding requests for similar systems. The reality of our current fiscal disaster is that the Navy and the Coast Guard have to justify why they need the ships they ask for, and when there is no longer a unending pot of money, hard choices are going to be made.

      I have no doubt that the Combatant Commanders want more CG resources. We need all the NSC’s to be funded, and we need all the OPC’s that are planned. Whether we get them depends on how hard DHS advocates for them, how hard DOD advocates for them, and how hard the shipbuilding industry advocates for them.

      Finally, it is manifestly unfair to lay the blame on ADM Papp for the current circumstance the Coast Guard is faced with. Decisions made by his three predecessors are the reason the procurement process fell off the track the way it did.

  5. Senior Chief Hawkins: Thanks for your very kind and thoughtful reply to my post. You know, the great thing is that we (all Coast Guardsmen past and present) are passionate about our Coast Guard. Passion has to be informed as well. Chuck Hill has been doing well in terms of keeping the dialogue active, both pro and con, in support of modernization and replacement of our fleet.

    We are in very dynamic times right now with the economy and Federal budget…storm clouds loom on the horizon. We can use all the voices we can muster to present a clear and compelling reason why the taxpayer should invest in our Coast Guard. I hope I can depend on your (and others’) support.

    Thanks for your service to our country in the United States Coast Guard (our tours of duty may have even overlapped at good old Governors Island…1981-83 RED BEECH, 1983-86 Third District staff).

    Semper Paratus,

    Admiral Bob Papp
    Commandant

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