We now have access to the proposed Coast Guard Budget for FY2016 in several levels of detail in the form of pdfs. These range from a one page “fact sheet” to over 500 pages of Congressional justification.
FierceHomelandSecurity, also gives us a quick overview including how it fits in the larger Department budget. The Department’s budget is up 7.3% while the Coast Guard budget is up by only 1.6%.
The good news is that the budget has increased, the bad news is that all the increase can be accounted for by the increase in retired pay. In real terms, it is another cut, though not a big one.
In support of the DHS’s strategic objectives, the FY 2016 Budget provides for the acquisition of six Fast Response Cutters, continues to invest in pre-acquisition activities for an affordable Offshore Patrol Cutter and funds vessel sustainment projects for two 140’ WTGB Icebreaking Tugs and a 225’ Seagoing Buoy Tender. The budget also continues sustainment and conversion work on legacy fixed and rotary wing aircraft, missionization of the C-27J aircraft received from the Air Force, and investment in Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) systems.
It is a bit surprising that the cut in the AC&I account is not larger than it is, considering the Coast Guard is not ready to fund any new large ships in 2016. The NSC program is just finishing up and there is a small amount for that and some money to prep the OPC program, but no new starts for major cutters.
The six Webber class “Fast Response Cutters” puts the program back on track to continue delivering four per year since only two were included in 2015. This program will be with us until far into the future, with the last delivered in 2026 at the current rate.
Major Renovations for the 140 icebreaking tugs have already begun. The Acquisition Directorate, CG-9, is reporting work on the second vessel, Penobscot Bay has begun. Looks like C-27J integration is getting a boost.
I still wonder when we will start doing something about the inland fleet.