Offshore and Aviation Fleet Mix Study Published

The Coast Guard has made public the Executive Summary of its Offshore and Aviation Fleet Mix Study. “FierceHomelandSecurity” has published a short summary of the content.

They also provided a direct link to the “Executive Summary” (a 24 page pdf). It is heavy with acronyms, and there is no list of acronyms attached to the Executive Summary, although there is probably one in the full study. I’ve attached a list of those I found, at the end of the post for those who might want a little help going through the summary.

“This initial phase of the FMA (Fleet Mix Analysis-ed.) is intended to address offshore surface and aviation capabilities. Follow-on FMA phases will assess capabilities needed for coastal and inland missions as well as emerging missions, such as Arctic operations and those of the Deployable Operations Group (DOG).

“ES.5.1  SCOPE:

“The FMA explored the projected Fleet mix requirements to meet the CG’s 11 statutory missions in FY2025. Mission requirements were based on nine Mission Performance Plans (MPPs) and an assessment of critical activities, such as training and support, which consume asset mission availability.

“The FMA included all CG aviation (fixed- and rotary-wing), all white-hull cutters (FRC up to NSC), and all applicable C4ISR systems.

“The FMA focused on activities in the offshore and aviation operating environment. Offshore and aviation are defined in the FMA as being generally 50+ nautical miles offshore and/or requiring extended presence. The FMA also considered missions within 50 nautical miles that consume air asset availability.

“The FMA used the 2007 CG Fleet, as defined in the 2007 Modeled CONOPS (Concept of Operations-ed.) and the “Deepwater” POR (Program of Record-ed.) as Baselines for comparative performance and cost analysis.


“Preliminary Operational Requirements Document (P-ORD) thresholds were used for the OPC (Offshore Patrol Cutter-Chuck).

“The OPC and NSC will operate 230 days away from homeport (DAFHP). No specific crewing method is assumed (i.e., crew rotation concept [CRC]).

“The HC-144A will operate at 800 programmed flight hours (PFH) per year. (This is a reduction from previous assumption–Chuck)

“U.S. Navy out-of-hemisphere (OOH) (2.0 OPC/NSC) and Joint Interagency Task Force South (JIATF-S) (7.0 OPC/NSC) support was consistent with the FY2010 demand.

“Additional acquisition/next generation platforms have the same capabilities and cost as the FMA Baseline Fleet mix cutters and aircraft (e.g., the next-generation short range recovery (SRR) helicopter is an MH-65C).


“The High Latitude regions of the ice shelf and Deployable Operations Group (DOG) mission requirements were not considered.

“No specific MDA performance measures have been established to model.

“87-ft coastal patrol boat (CPB), 225-ft seagoing buoy tender (WLB), Department of Defense (DoD)/Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and foreign asset contributions were considered, but force level requirements for 87-ft CPB, 225-ft WLB, DoD/DHS and foreign assets were not assessed.

“Additional shore facilities (e.g., schools, berthing, simulators/training aids, etc.) beyond those directly associated with platforms (e.g., piers, hangars, etc.) are not included in costs.

“”The need for non-operational/shore billet increases commensurate with the projected increases in operational manning was not assessed and is not included in costs.

“All cost estimates are rough order of magnitude (ROM) and are not budget quality.

“Additional specific assumptions utilized for modeling, simulation, and costing are included in their respective chapters of the final report.

“ES.3  Methodology:

“The Fleet Capacity Analysis (FCA) combined information developed in the mission validation phase, the capability definition phase, and a Warfare Analysis Laboratory Exercise (WALEX) to produce an objective Fleet mix and incremental Fleet mix alternatives. To develop the objective Fleet mix, the FMA used three independent teams with unique force projection tools or methodologies – the Database Enhanced Center for Naval Analysis (CNA) IDS Asset Assessment Tool (CIAAT) Model (DECMv2), the Mission Effectiveness Asset Needs Model (MEAN), and a qualitative analysis by a panel of CG SMEs – to develop a force structure that was aligned with MPP capability and capacity targets. Each team applied their methodology using a common set of asset characteristics and mission demands to develop a zero-based force mix (capable of meeting all mission requirements) projection. The results from these independent projections were considered as three “lines of position” (LOPs) and were consolidated to form a conceptual “fix.””

Seven Alternative Fleets:

The Study looks at seven levels of effort:

  • 2004 Integrated Deepwater System (IDS) Mission Needs Statement (MNS) which was used as an approved performance objective, but that was not achievable because of operational realities now recognized.
  • 2007 Actual
  • The current Program of Record (POR) (closely related to the 2004 IDS/MNS but with adjustments)
  • An “Objective Mix Asset Quantities.”  This was referred to as FMA-4, and provided a fleet approximately twice as large as the program of record.
  • Three additional levels between the Program of Record and the Objective Mix Asset Quantities were identified as FMA-1, 2, and 3. The increments were not proportional across all platform types and appeared to have been tied to addressing specific performance shortfalls. The objectives of these intermediate steps were not explicitly stated in the summary.

Table ES-8 Alternative Fleet Mix Asset Quantities
————–POR       FMA-1      FMA-2      FMA-3       FMA-4
NSC                8             9                 9                 9                  9
OPC              25           32               43                50               57
FRC              58           63               75                80               91
HC-130        22            32               35                44               44
HC-144A     36            37               38                40               65
H-60            42            80               86                99             106
H-65           102           140             159              188            223
UAS-LB         4              19                21                21              22
UAS-CB       42              15                19               19               19


Based on the Figure ES-6, “CG-Wide Measures Compared to the 2004 NMS System,” measures of effectiveness that would primarily benefit from increased assets would be Cocaine interdiction, Living Marine Resources, and PWCS intelligence driven security boarding rate. All the improvements have very little impact on SAR and NDAD (non-deepwater aviation demands).

Graph ES-7 provides another way of looking at this:

“Figure ES-7 shows the relative improvements attributed to each FMA (Fleet Mix Analysis–ed.) increment over the 2007 CG Fleet based on these seven metrics. The POR (Program of Record–ed.) shows significant improvements over the 2007 Fleet, especially in LMR (living marine resources–ed) and CD (cocaine interdiction-ed.). As was expected, FMA-1 shows significant improvements in DefOps and CD; FMA-2 and FMA-3 show significant improvements in LMR, OLE, and PWCS; and FMA-4 shows significant improvements in AMIO. In addition, FMA-1, which targeted CD, showed a significant improvement in AMIO, and FMA-4, which targeted AMIO, show significant improvement in CD. This “by-catch” is due to the common threat vectors and targets shared by the AMIO and CD missions. The SAR mission shows only a slight increase in performance because the 2007 CG Fleet has a robust SAR posture, leaving very little room for improvement.”

In regard to Migrant Interdiction, ES-6 and ES-7 appear to be contradictory. Assuming “Maritime Migrant Success” in ES-6 is the measure for AMIO, results appear relatively flat in ES-6 with little change as assets are added, while ES-7 seems to indicate significant improvement with additional assets, with FMA-4 providing an approximate 135% improvement over levels in 2007. This is very hard to understand considering the Coast Guard already claims to have successfully interdicted 42.1% of marine migrants in 2007 and 46.9% in 2008. Additionally, other agencies are intercepting another 20% of marine migrants (See table ES-2). In other words to achieve a 135% improvement in AMIO the Coast Guard would have to intercept essentially 100% of marine migrants with no assistance from any other agency (The target was 90% and the study did suggest that this target be validated).

There a lot more to the report than we see in the Executive Summary, “A complete operational effectiveness assessment, with results broken down by region, mission, and asset class, is included in the final report.”


The objective mix assumed that five NSCs would be deployed to the Caribbean and four to the “International Pacific Ocean” for Defense Operations. None would be used for ALPAT. OPCs would be used for that mission. I find this decision hard to understand.

I was also surprised that at all levels, land based UAS out numbered ship based systems.

What it did not do:

The study did not consider different proportions of assets within the same spending constraints.

It did not consider alternative platform characteristics. Only those assets that were in the program of record were considered.

At least in the Executive Summary, it did not make a direct connection  between platform requirements and missions. That is, it does not show how resource hours or units are allocated among programs.

Did not consider the effects of actual current funding levels.

My Take:

I believe Congress asked for a “Fleet Mix Study” in 2008. The Coast Guard has been keeping it in house and the results, and apparently the format, have not changed significantly since 2009 when it was considered too unrealistic to present to Congress. We discussed it here in April 2011: “Fleet Mix Where Are the Trade-offs.” Unfortunately I don’t think this document will satisfy anyone. I have to say that I am profoundly disappointed, that so much effort has gone into a document, that has missed an opportunity to make any important point.

  • It states the obvious, “We could do more with more assets.”
  • It answers questions no one is asking like, “What would you do if we gave the Coast Guard an additional $2B a year?” and
  • It has missed the opportunity to tell Congress about the effects of the cuts the Coast Guard is actually experiencing.

Still the process appears to be a good one, if it can be integrated into the decision making process in a timely manner, instead of waiting for years for the result. Having developed the methodology, there should be an immediate effort to show the effects of the current budget. How effective will the Coast Guard be, when all the 210s are gone and the only large cutters we have are six NSCs and 13 270s? That is the Coast Guard we are likely to have in 2020. The Mission Effectiveness Project, which attempts to keep the legacy fleet operational indicates that they are attempting to keep the 210s in service until 2017 (by which time the youngest will have been in service for 48 years and the oldest for 53) and the 270s in service until 2022 by which time the youngest will have been in service for 32 years and the oldest for 39). The first OPC does not come on line until 2020 and it appears, unless there is a significant increase in the AC&I allocations, the Coast Guard may not build more than one a year. If so, the thirteenth OPC will not be delivered until 2032 at which time the youngest 270 will have had 42 years of service. Unless things change, we have to accept that the OPCs are replacements for the 270s not the 210s. The Webber Class are becoming the defacto replacement for 210s as well as 110s.

Acronyms–And one last gripe, executive summaries are not written for people who want to learn all the acronyms. Using too many acronyms leaves the impression the writer is following the advise, “If you can’t dazzle ’em with brilliance, baffle ’em with bull shit,” and consequently the results are suspect. As indicated above, here is a list of 83 acronyms used in the Executive Summary. My favorite is CIAAT, which is an acronym that incorporates two other acronyms– CNA (Center for Naval Analysis) IDS (Integrated Deepwater Systems) Asset Assessment Tool. There are three acronyms I was not able to identify, but have included them anyway in hopes that readers will provide the missing definition (two of the three now identified):

AMIO    Alien Migrant Interdiction Operations

APB      Acquisition Program Baseline

AOPS   Abstract of Operations System

AtoN     Aids to Navigation

AUF      Airborne Use of Force

CD         Removal rate for cocaine from non-commercial vessels in maritime transit zone

CGMOES Coast Guard Maritime Operational Effectiveness Simulation (campaign model)

CIAAT    CNA (Center for Naval Analysis) IDS (Integrated Deepwater Systems) Asset Assessment Tool

CNA       Center for Naval Analysis

COP       Common Operating Picture

CPB       Coastal Patrol Boat

CRC       Crew Rotation Concept (multiple crewing for cutters)

DAFHP   days away from homeport

DCI        Detect, Classify, Identify

DCO      Deputy Commandant for Operations

DCMS   Deputy Commandant for Mission Support

DECMv2  Database Enhanced Center for Naval Analysis Integrated Deepwater Systems Asset Assessment Tool CIAAT (One of three sources for determining number of asset required.)

DefOps   Defense Operations

ESC       Executive Steering Committee

FCA     Fleet Capacity Analysis

FMA     Fleet mix analysis

FVI       Foreign Vessel Inspection

GT        Guidance Team

IDE       International Data Exchange

IDS       Integrated Deepwater System

IIP         International Ice Patrol

IMO       International Maritime Organization

IOC       Initial Operational Capability

IPT        Integrated Product Teams

JIATF-S  Joint Interagency Task Force South JIATF-S

LMR     Living Marine Resources

LMS      Local Monitoring System

LRC      Long Range Cutter

LRIT     Long Range (vessel) Identification and Tracking System

LRS      Long Range Surveillance (C-130)

LSI        Lead System Integrator

MDA      Maritime Domain Awareness

MEP      Marine Environmental Protection

MER     Marine Environmental Response

MEAN  Mission Effectiveness Asset Needs (Model)

MISLE  Marine Information for Safety and Law Enforcement (a data base)

MNS    2004 Integrated Deepwater System Mission Needs Statement

MOE     Measures of Effectiveness

MRC     Medium Range Cutter

MPP     Mission Performance Plan

MRR     Medium Range Recovery (H-60)

MRS     Medium Range Surveillance (C-144)

MSMP   Modeling and Simulation Master Plan

NAIS     Nationwide Automated Identification System

NDAD   Non-Deepwater Aviation Demands

NDC      National Data Center

NMSRA National Maritime Security Risk Assessment (methodology)

OLE/GLE Other/General Law Enforcement

OOH      out-of-hemisphere

OPAR   Operational Performance Accountability Reports

PFH       Programmed Flight Hours

PGA      Performance Gap Analysis

POA&M Plan of Action and Milestones

POR      Current Program of Record

P-ORD Preliminary Operational Requirements Document

PWCS   CG Ports, Waterways, and Coastal Security

ROM     Rough order of Magnitude

RWAI    Rotary Wing Airborne Interdiction

SAR       Search and Rescue

SDCIP  Surveil, Detect, Classify, Identify, and Prosecute

SESS    Shipboard Signals Exploitation Space

SSEE    Ship’s Signal Exploitation Equipment

SI           System Integrator

SLEP     Service Life Extension Program

SME      Subject Matter Expert

SOLAS   Safety of Life at Sea

SOPP     Standard Operational Planning Process

SPD       Strategic Planning Direction

SRC       Short Range Cutter

SRR       Short Range Recovery (H-65)

TOC     Total Cost of Ownerships


SUAV    Strategic Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

TUAV     Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

UAS-CB  Unmanned Aerial System–Cutter Based

UAS-LB  Unmanned Aerial System–Land Based

VMS       Vessel Monitoring System

WALEX  Warfare Analysis Laboratory Exercise

56 thoughts on “Offshore and Aviation Fleet Mix Study Published

  1. MISLE is a database system managed and used by the USCG to store data on marine accidental and deliberate pollution and other shipping and port accidents in US territorial waters.

    • MISLE has grow significantly over the last decade, its now the single database for all CG operations. Every boarding, SAR case, inspection, etc, is tracked in MISLE.

      • fair enough, that’s what happens when you use a backbone programmed by grad students and pro bono professors. Cheap, yes, but good, hell no. For Pete’s sake, the enforcement activities icon is still Arnold from the original Terminator movie.

      • Consistent with an organization that kept the CG Standard Workstation with its awful propietary OS and limited software long past the time everyone else was moving to Windows – all because we had to wait until the “father” of that POS retired. 🙂

      • Do “more” with less….it’s a great catch phrase, but it is what perpetuates the death spiral we find ourselves in. It seems, admittedly I’m a layman, that we’ve let Congress off the hook by not forcing them to choose which of our missions they want us to continue when their budget falls short of reality.

      • Search VADM Z’s comments from a recent breakfast discussion at SDMAC. He was quite clear that he would advocate doing ‘less’ with ‘less’.

      • Advocating is one thing, but actually doing less with less is entirely another. 5 years from now, when an oil platform sinks in the Arctic or a well blows out, or a Tsunami hits a populated area or XYZ crisis occurs….. Then what?

      • I’m not sure I get your point. You complained that the CG always seems to be placed in position (by implication CG’s choice) to do more with less, I pointed out that VADM Z is entering his current job as Pacific Area Commander publicly stating the CG can’t do more with less and will in fact do less with less. Correct this remains to be seen, however, 5 years from now the CG will respond to the scenario you describe in the second comment with a surge, or in other terms reprioritazation, of then current assets regardless of the size of the fleet. No different than Katrina. Do you advocate building a CG to provide 100% coverage for a Katrina response? Oh, I get your point, its easy to be flippant here, did you find the VADM’s comments or are you winging it?

      • VADM comments were a reference to the possibility of sequestration in 2013– which ADM Papp described as apocalyptic for the Service in his most recent house testimony. His quote was something like, “I can’t even begin to imagine that implications of sequestration. Major reductions is personnel, rapid decommissioning of major cutters, significant delays/cancelations in acquisitions, etc. So lets cross that bridge when we come to it.
        In the meantime, the mission scope is widening while the number and availability of assets is declining (it now takes three major cutters to do the work of two). This is a zero sum contest, so in my mind our options are: ask Congress to re-prioritize (e.g reduce) our mission set OR acknowledge that we only have the resources to do a half-assed job.

  2. Less resources doesn’t mean a half assed job, we have congressionally mandated performance metrics. Generally, we meet all of them except ATON availability, drug removal rates, and LMR. The points of senior leadership are not radical by any standard other than internal CG standards.

    COMDT in the last all hands webinar specifially stated that this means we are not going to cut our programs of all of the support billets. therefore, a 10% billet decrease means 10% fewer front line operators. This is compared to the 90’s RIF which gutted acquisitions, budget, and personnel management; funny that these are the things the CG is no longer very good at and has spent the last decade trying to play catch up on

    Additionally, in his house budget testimony he clearly stated that he will prioritize the missions based on their importance to the nation and the available resources. When asked what he would cut back on he specifically stated that he would have fewer ships for COCOM support and instead would need to focus on domestic missions.

    I think its the right thing to say, every front line resource has a certain scaled ratio of personnel, monetary, logistic, and infrastructure support that is required. We are no longer going to take it on the chin. We will look at efficiencies but generally, a 10% cut in funding is going to mean a ~10% cut in performance. We will balance where those performance drops are based on mission priorities, operationally (individual sectors and districts) and strategically (individual missions).

    What troubles me is what happens at the individual command level. In my office of 22 members, 7 are HQ billets. Three of them were just cut based on the new budget killing a program. Granted there was a program they managed but they also did a bunch of general staff work, stood duty, and managed personnel. I’d say 75% of what they did will still need to be done, it just means that someone else will do it. As staffs shrink across the service, commands are going to pressure members to work longer hours and take on more responsibility so that they can try and deliver the same level of performance. This is the disconnect between doing less with less and the CG culture to make it work, no matter what.

    DOD seems to have a better work-life balance during their staff/support tours. The CG culture is very different. Last night at 2100 my O-6 was surprised to see how many of his JO’s were still in the office frantically clearing task items. he is clearly not understanding his staff work budget, this many officers means I can do this much work. I plan operations, the more staff time I can devote to each operation, the better the plan; better intel prep, better networking with host nation partners, better fusing operations with OGA partners, more OGA resources that I can secure and fold into the ops, and the better I can prep the participating units. Its not just how many ships I can put to a mission, its how well I can employ them. You cut our planning staff and all I can do is throw some ships and aircraft at a problem and hope they figure it out.

    Maybe we need some better internal marketing on what doing less with less means because it feels like fewer assets and longer work hours so that we can make sure that we meet all the same performance measures, admin requirements, and staff products.

    Lord put me back on a ship soon, I relish dealing with breaking equipment, misbehaving non-rates, and no budget to buy anything. A least on a ship you pull out the GAR and recognize your limits.

    On a ship, you blow a shaft seal, lock the shaft, and have a a reduced max speed. If you go any faster then the lock fails and you flood shaft alley. With the personnel cuts, I feel like we are going to have to lock the shaft but will be expected to still answer all bells. The problem is that with the CG culture, we might just look at the stability drawings, decide that flooding the space solid won’t be “too bad”, close the water tight doors, throw up some k-type shoring, and throw it back into standard.

    CG culture = self imposed misery ~ devotion to duty? Our core values are our greatest strength, how do we keep them from also being our greatest weakness?

    • I indeed hope you get that ship as well. Good analogy, we’ll have to keep a close eye on shaft alley. I don’t think it is all that healthy to have JOs working until 2100 routinely either. RADM Rich Kelly used to come in at the end of the day and kick me out of the office when he was acting. At least I got home to tuck the kids in bed.

      • Unfortunately the senior officers are now so caught up in their own admin bubbles that they don’t see what is even going on with their people. Personally, I’m in an office of cuttermen and the JO’s are all aspiring towards those next steps and will plow through the night to make sure that the bosses are happy; that is the culture of the community. It’s one thing to tell the JO to go home, instead I get asked what I am working on and they realize that none of it can actually wait, and a “well have a good night”. When the staff is staying that late, then there is just too much work or its not spread around properly.

    • “As staffs shrink across the service, commands are going to pressure members to work longer hours and take on more responsibility so that they can try and deliver the same level of performance. This is the disconnect between doing less with less and the CG culture to make it work, no matter what.”

      The problem is not that you don’t have enough personnel to do the staff work, it’s that too much of the work your staff is performing is useless busy work. Most of that useless busy work is generated by the growth of HQ level staff that simply cannot be justified by anything other than the desire to have more flag and SES billets in a given organization. Look at the Coast Guard today – 33,200 enlisted and 43 admirals. In 1994, there were 30,400 in the enlisted workforce, and 33 admirals. Did the Coast Guard really need 10 more admirals to manage 2800 more enlisted?

      Every time an organization creates a new flag or SES billet, it creates a staff to support that billet. Those staffs have to show that they are doing something to justify their existence, so they create problems to solve that either don’t really exist or are of such low priority that devoting scarce government resources to them is a scandalous waste of resources. The next time you go to an interagency meeting of any size, look around the room and you can see this explosion of staff that do nothing but take notes so they can assist in documenting what went on at the meeting so that their office chief can report to his/her superiors “look what I’m doing.”

      And the Coast Guard isn’t alone in this explosion of staff. The federal government has so many 24/7 operations centers these days it’s hard to keep track of them all. Staffed with GS-15s and O-5s, watchstanders all sit around watching their own version of the big board just waiting for something to happen so they can breathlessly report up their chain of command the latest Really Big Event.

      Several years ago I moved into a management position that, among other things, included the requirement to submit a weekly report to our front office. I had long suspected that no one really read those reports, so now that I was in charge, I decided to stop submitting it to see if anyone noticed. TWENTY months later, someone finally asked me why I wasn’t submitting that report. I told them that I had made the determination that since no one in the Front Office was reading that particular report, that I was no longer going to require my staff to produce it, freeing them to concentrate on real work. Given that it had taken the FO so long to realize we weren’t submitting the report, it sort of proved my point. The person asking me the question laughed nervously, but didn’t disagree.

      • Funny, in 1989 my XO told me the same thing, If you want to see how important a report is… don’t submit it. He also suggested intercepting and placing the weeks inbound mail into a manila envelope and mailing it back to the unit would allow the YN to date stamp it with the later date providing extra time to respond… email killed this but he still retired recently after 30yrs. Otherwise, you are being a little cynical with the line of discussion. Nobody is intentionally creating a staff and then looking for work to justify that creation. However, CG culture does play a role. I knew as a 1st year JO that my continued upward mobility as a cutterman was tied to my performance and results. I stayed late when required to accomplish legitimate requirements and personal quals and was rewarded with an 82′ command. Overall, Deskrider provides a good reminder to make sure senior leaders are clear about what is required and prioritize well in order to prevent unnecessary withdrawls from the Covey bank account held with junior personnel. I still believe this is achievable and if it can be accomplished in the fleet then it certainly is attainable in HQ.

      • If no one is “intentionally creating a staff and then looking for work” how do you explain the growth in flag officer and SES billets over the last 16 years?

        I’m not suggesting the Coast Guard is the only agency doing this – growing unnecessary staff is a government-wide problem and one of the reasons public service has lost the luster it once had. Taxpayers look at mushrooming HQ staff that are top heavy with expensive flag and SES everywhere you look, and are fed up.

        There was a long article in the paper over the weekend about how in San Jose, CA, the public is starting to turn on police and fire salaries and pensions as being inflated and undeserved. When you add to what is now a very generous pension and health benefits package that federal employees enjoy the recent stories of lavish conferences on the taxpayer dime, we at the federal level may very well face the same anger directed at us – if we don’t watch out.

      • I can only concur with your last statement, I think the CG is, in many cases, overly concerned with the public preception when it comes to travel and the reasons of justification. There are examples perhaps of the contrary but notably, CG personnel where not involved in the recent Colombia debacle, nor participating in videos during a Las Vegas convention. In fact, I don’t recall any CG aviators being singled out during tailhook if we look back that far (of course that was all private funding wasn’t it). If pressed I could name several flag/SES positions I wonder where they came from and what the reasoning was. However, I will also say that some of these are the price of doing business, especially inside the beltway. Perhaps forced on the CG by the manner in which other entities inflated their staffs. Lets use CG-2 as an example; pre-911 this was a three letter office. To play in the Intel game would a civilian GS14/15 or O6 participate in the current Intel community. The real question is should the CG be a member (and I believe the answer is yes) then you have to pay to play.

  3. “CG culture = self imposed misery ~ devotion to duty? Our core values are our greatest strength, how do we keep them from also being our greatest weakness.’

    Apart from being a segment of a failed management theory, what are the “core values?”

    Internal marketing would be to understand the Coast Guard’s past. How did some 800 officers and 11,000 enlisted personnel manage to create one of the Coast Guard’s largest “recapitalization” programs in its history and still get things done. All during the Great Depression.

    It may be time for the Coast Guard to divest itself of programs. M and AtoN come to mind. Both belong in the Department of Commerce. Or the Navy could once again try to take it all and attempt to create another “Maritime Marine Bureau.” Oh yes, why not commercialize SAR Air. The Brits are doing it.

      • Not sure who you interact with. I disagree, I don’t know anyone in a CG uniform who desires to be a civil servant (at least not until they retire…)

      • Matt, I believe there are many in the Coast Guard who enjoy the trappings, benefits and prestige of a military service but do not want to be in the military or do military things. I have heard and seen too many who are in this category.

        In 1928, then Commander R. R. Waesche reported that gunnery practice in the Coast Guard’s destroyer fleet was not being done because the captains believed the Coast Guard a humanitarian service and gunnery was military and, therefore, not necessary.

      • More recently, the Coast Guard ran a very effective “The Law on the Sea” print advertising campaign for a short time. It was pulled in part because of comments such as “but we’re lifesavers, not cops.”

        There is a reason many people in DoD don’t regard the Coast Guard as a true military service.

      • It’s always seemed there has been a tension in the service, between those who want to avoid the military implications and those who see the advantages of the service being a Naval Service with a significant war time role other than SAR.

        I think the “National Security Cutter” label may have been a mistake because we obviously don’t need a second Navy and this lead the DHS secretary (and staff) to think there might be duplication between the Navy and CG, and that may have killed the program.

        Having more than one purpose is a hard concept for Congress, Washington Bureaucrats, other armed services, and some Coasties to deal with. The Coast Guard is the Swiss Army Knife of Federal Agencies, it doesn’t exist for National Defense, but because it exist, it makes sense to spend a little extra and make it more effective in that role. That is a whole different way of looking at things for lots of people.

      • Bill, I’m sure you’re right in part. I guess the point is not to over characterize the service one way or the other based on the limited scope of people we each may have come in contact with. Likewise, the real point is captured by Chuck, the CG has many missions and attracts many people for different reasons. & in Response to below, this can lead to inaccurate perceptions or even assumptions as to why one program is pulled over another based on subjective personal opinion not fact. I could easily say that NASCAR advertising/team funding was pulled several years ago because there was an outcry by those who didn’t want to be associated with (term deleted due to PC) southern white people. (Full disclosure I grew up in NW Ohio and love watching NASCAR) Overall, perhaps some people in DOD are uneducated as to what the CG is, and mostly I’ve seen this at more junior levels lately as opposed to years ago when the senior folks looked down their nose at the CG (another perception). DOD members who are familiar with roles and missions have great regard for what the CG does across the board, including our position in the Armed Forces as a military service.

      • Matt, “Likewise, the real point is captured by Chuck, the CG has many missions and attracts many people for different reasons. ”

        At the history conference held at the CGA the first of May, I used my twenty minutes to expound upon (following Captain Capron’s 1960 book) What is the Coast Guard?

        He asked the question then and no one seems to able to answer it yet. I did cause a mild vacuum among some attendees when I stated, from my study, there is no ONE Coast Guard. The Coast Guard is a cobbled together group of unlike functions. I also mentioned these divisions and separations of the are the true strength of the Coast Guard.

        In overall historical reference, the Navy has always had respect for the operating abilities of the cutter officers and crews. During one of the Navy’s takeover attempts in the 1880s, Navy Secretary (General) Tracey commented that the RCS officers were the best seamen and navigators in national service. This was because they got practice working close to shore whereas the Navy had lots of ocean to move about and did not move much. The Navy’s junior officers were deficient in many skills needed to operate a vessel. This is one reason the Navy wanted to eliminate the RCS–to give its JOs jobs and training. There was never a thought of putting some on board cutters to learn. That would have been a social step down. Ironically, the early RCS was filled with former U. S. Navy midshipmen, masters and sailing masters. I’ve found only one former lieutenant.

        In the 1990s, I wrote a short article about the Coast Guard in Vietnam. In it, I mentioned the Coast Guard had the most professional small craft sailors in Vietnam. The Navy’s Chief Historian, Ed Marolda, agreed for the obvious reasons. However, the Coast Guard has been given short shrift in official histories and virtually none in the Coast Guard officialdom. There is still no an official history of the Coast Guard in Vietnam, or WWII, or nearly every other topic.

        We now have gone full circle. If people have no histories to consult the question of What is the Coast Guard? remains unanswered. I would like to get a group of cadets together and ask them the question. The answers would be interesting.

        Now, back to the topic. The idea of replacing one type of ship with another is common in Coast Guard history. It stems from when a cutter had to worn out or sank to get another.

  4. SO we have diverged greatly, back to Chuck’s original post. OPCs (WMSM) were never targeted at replacing either 210s or 270s, if you believe a system of systems approach they filled a role in the offshore environment where something less than the capability of a WMSL is required. Thus they don’t replace either the 210 or the 270 so the statement concerning replacing 270s rather than 210s isn’t really the issue. I think you are correct (and I’ve noted in other posts) the FRC (WPC) is more capable than a 110′ so it likely it will take over some of the 210 missions. The program of record also builds out more WPCs than 110s. By the nature of asset allocation process, I believe you’ll see WPCs conducting many missions we currently see 210s accomplish. Specifically, the 3 210s on the West Coast occassionally conduct District patrols without an aircraft on deck. There is shore based air support readily available. A WPC could undertake this mission and be as effective as the 210. I’m sure East Coast 210/270 patrols may fit this criteria. On the other hand, Alert, Active, Steadfast also conduct Eastern Pacific JIATFS patrols, typically with an aircraft. The WPC isn’t a one for one replacement and the WMSM or WMSL is then selected. This doesn’t mean lmited use of the WPC in JIATFS similar to as seen with the Cyclones and a recent 110 patrol wouldn’t occur. Again, given a defined fleet mix and numbers, planners will prioritize and select assets to match up with the mission.

    • “Thus they (OPCs) don’t replace either the 210 or the 270 so the statement concerning replacing 270s rather than 210s isn’t really the issue. ”

      But the world is not remade when the program of record is complete. WMECs may not be doing what they were built for, but they are doing the missions we expect the OPCs to do. Hopefully the Webber class will take some of the load, but it still looks like we will come up short at least for a while.

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