“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.