While the rest of the Federal Government has a 2015 budget, Homeland Security still does not. The DefenseDaily reported the bill out of committee in the House, describing the provisions, including this regarding the Coast Guard:
“The bill would give the Coast Guard $439.5 million above the president’s request, primarily by rejecting proposed cuts “that would have gutted vital Coast Guard operations,” according to the news release. The House committee increased Coast Guard funding to allow more cutter and aviation operating hours, training and maintenance; and to purchase the eighth National Security Cutter, two Fast Response Cutter patrol boats, an additional C-130J aircraft and one H-60 remanufactured helicopter.”
At this point the bill has been approved by the House and sent on to the Senate. DefenseNews talks about why Homeland Security is tied up in Immigration Policy.
It is good to see some additional operational funds, but I am frankly disappointed that there are only two Webber class WPCs included. This was the administration request, but I had hoped to see more added as has been done in the past. It could still happen, so we will have to wait and see.
This does raise the question of what CG-9, the Acquisitions Directorate, is doing about the contract for follow-on WPCs? All options on Bollinger’s original winning bid have expired. The Coast Guard paid for and now owns the design. A new bidding process was expected for the remaining ships, but last year’s buy was apparently negotiated without competition. As the number of ships remaining to be built gets smaller the ability and incentive for other yards to compete against Bollinger’s already established assembly line will decrease.