Coast Guard Budget and Charlie Hebdo

Defensenews reports,

“When the Hill passed its spending bill in December, it excluded DHS, instead putting the agency under a three-month continuing resolution while the Republican-controlled Congress sought to challenge President Barack Obama’s executive order on immigration.

“Asked about the DHS funds days after the Paris attacks, newly re-elected House Speaker John Boehner, R- Ohio, said “I don’t believe that the funding of the department is in fact at risk.” Meanwhile, Senate Appropriations Committee member Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D, indicated “more has to be done” to prevent such attacks, which could include an increase of funds.” (Emphasis applied–Chuck)

Should the Coast Guard play the terrorism card in a push for increased funding?
I hate to push fear as a justification for funding but keep a couple of things in mind.

  • If the electorate and their representatives are afraid, maybe they are right, maybe there is a threat.
  • Funding for Coast Guard counter-terrorism capabilities is a lot more relevant to the threat than funding for Navy high end warships, Air Force F-35s, or Army theater ballistic missile defense systems.
  • Improvements that help the Coast Guard deal with terrorism, including better comms, better Maritime Domain Awareness, and better sensors can also help the Coast Guard do a better job on their other missions.

The Department of Homeland Security seems to have a fixation on terrorism that the Coast Guard seems to have viewed with some skepticism. As a result while Departmental funding has continued to increase, Coast Guard funding has actually declined. We have been out of step with Department priorities.

Perhaps it is time to embrace the Department’s priorities.

It does seem the world is becoming a more dangerous place.

The house is pushing a bill that would have DHS strengthen the southern border including more aircraft.

Are they really worried about the right threats? Really, we should be talking about what we should be afraid of, and that should include the introduction of a nuclear device which most likely to come by sea.

The Pentagon wants $350B to modernize Nuclear deterrents, new SSBNs, new ICBMs, and new nuclear bombers, none of which will have any deterrent effect on terrorists. And after all will $350B for deterrence be any more effective than $320B?

Perhaps it would make sense to spend $1B more a year on the Service that is most likely to be on the line if terrorists attempt to bring a weapon of mass destruction into the US, when most of that money is expected to be spent over the long term anyway.

If the Coast Guard is going to embrace counter terrorism as a priority, the service needs to act like it believes a terrorist attack is a possibility and ask to be armed appropriately to deal with terrorist threats, a 7.62 mm machine gun on a 25 foot boat will not cut it.

It the Coast Guard is to have a creditable capability, it will need small highly accurate missiles like Griffin, Hellfire, or Brimstone to deal with relatively small, fast, highly maneuverable threats and light weight torpedoes to deal with larger, hard to stop threats. We also need to get modern reliable patrol vessels or aircraft armed with these weapons spread out geographically to cover all our ports.

13 thoughts on “Coast Guard Budget and Charlie Hebdo

  1. I feel exactly the same way.

    I understand that the Navy models require 12 boomers in order to have acceptable risk. And I understand that the USAF models show a requirement for X amount of ICBM’s. And I think we need a strong nuclear deterrent. But you can’t just throw everything else overboard in order to have the optimal nuclear deterrent. We really can’t afford to significantly increase defense spending right now, so compromises have to be made.

    It seems like the high end stuff always gets protected, but the day to day stuff gets neglected. The Coast Guard is a great example. Army helicopters are another. Secretary Gates talked about this issue in his book.

    • Studies get numbers that match what they think they could possibly get. If the budget were higher, they would get a higher number. Originally we had 41 SSBNs. Then there were to have been 24 Ohio class, but they built only 18. Still they had 24 missiles instead of the 16 planned for the new SSBN. But then they converted four of the 18 to carry cruise missiles. Really there is no magic number. More is better, but even one packs a lot of destruction.

  2. Well, For me the biggest hurdle is convening the brass that anti terrorism should be higher in the priorities. I remember when I worked in an Air Station armory and asked to start getting ready for AUF and I was told by the CO that “We are never going to shoot from the helicopters we just save people here that job is for HITRON we will never do it” 3 months later i was running around getting weapons and ammo for the Air Sta to hastily stand up the program. People bitch about going to the range and keeping qualifications now imagine if they step it up. I agree with the blog but all i remember is being stuck with mediocre training for the regular coasties and being cheap about anything weapons weapons related. ..there, got it off my chest. Thank God I retired a year ago and don’t have to feel the frustration anymore.

    • In the early 1980s, the district (oil) wanted to put M60s on the H52s at New Orleans. The trouble was the airdales did not want them and the extra 50 pounds of gear and ammo that came with them. Corpus Christi even took the shotguns they used carry off. At times, the helicopters wandered into Mexican air space and the Mexicans complained about the :U. S. sending in armed aircraft.

    • I understand, even if I don’t agree, with the hesitation to significantly uparm the Coast Guard stateside. But not uparming the middle east deployed coast guard is irresponsible. To me it’s like a frog in water that is being heated up. They’ve been there so long now, and nothing bad has happened, that they don’t appreciate how dangerous the situation has become. It’s only a matter of time until there is an incident.

      The new commandant has talked about a shift to the Western hemisphere. So maybe the idea is to delegate the middle eastern role back to the Navy. But we’re several years away from the Navy having the ships to do that. Seems like an unacceptable near term risk to me.

      • Does seem like our 110s in SW Asia should have gotten some of the same upgrades that the Cyclone class have received–Mk38 mod2s in lieu of the manual 25mm, and perhaps the Griffin, missiles.

  3. One thing I’ve noticed about the Coast Guard procurement budgets is that the current fiscal year procurements differ significantly from the prior years projected procurements. It varies some in the Navy, but it is much closer to the projection.

    The DHS budget that just came out would buy 6 FRC’s.

  4. There didn’t seem to be much opposition at the CG sat in Lower Mich. a few days ago. Did any of the men have small arms or other weapons to use in case it was a lot worse? They sure have to upgrade their area especially now that they are under the Homeland Div..

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