Authorization Bill Has Some Surprises

Federal Times is reporting the contents of the Coast Guards latest authorization bill, and there are some surprises.

The item I was particularly pleased to see, was a apparent interest in something I feel should be more closely watched, cutter days available.

Part of that requirement would be to implement a standard for tracking the number of days Coast Guard cutters are in operation at sea, and include days in which cutters are undergoing maintenance or repair.

That should be revealing. In considering what should be expected, I would suggest we look back a few years, say take a five year average from 1998 to 2002 as a baseline.

There are lots of other proposed changes, not the least is that it is to cover two years. I suggest you check it out.

7 thoughts on “Authorization Bill Has Some Surprises

  1. Included in the Federal Times Post was this,

    “The stability will help the agency rebuild and revamp its aging Coast Guard cutter fleet, according to Rep. Garret Graves, R-La.

    “The bill authorizes funding for the Coast Guard at levels that are reasonable, but would still allow the Coast Guard to recapitalize its aging cutters in a timely manner,” Graves said.

    I think it about time to acknowledge that it is already too late to recapitalize the cutter fleet in a timely manner.

  2. It’s all well and good that the authorization act authorizes funding, but unless there is a matching appropriation, the authorization act provisions mean very little. Appropriations drive the train, not authorizations.

    • Yes, and I have not been able to confirm this, but as I recall, previous authorizations were larger, while this is only what was actually funded in FY2015 and actual appropriations may be lower still.

      On the other hand, when passed, these are laws, and other provisions, like reporting requirements and authorizing assignment of a flag officer to the JCS are effective.

  3. Does this mean that undeway or at sea time has not been tracked. I seem to recall this used to be done. When did it change. This requirement goes to 1790 when quarterly abstracts of cutter logs were sent to the Collector of Customs, later to the Treasury Department, to ensure the cutters were constantly in motion as required by Alexander Hamilton and later secretaries.

    • I’m sure the data is available. I am just glad Congress is interested in seeing it. I am sure it will show that operation cutter days are decreasing both because the ships we have are aging but also because we have fewer ships. No way 33 ships, even new ships with the “crew rotation concept” can provide as many days as 44 ships.

      I am hoping Congress will se the need to accelerate and perhaps increase total cutter procurement. Still I don’t think it can happen without introducing a smaller cruising cutter like cutter X.

  4. Sounds like an expansion of ALMIS to the major cutter fleet is coming (if they don’t have it already). For the PB fleet, ALMIS already tracks days underway, days in planned maintenance, and days in unplanned maintenance – I believe that there is a similar mechanism in place for aircraft and small boats as well (ALMIS was initially an aviation thing that has been foisted on the small boat and cutter communities).

    Unfortunately, all it is going to tell anyone is that the WMECs are old and, at least for the 210s, likely well past the point where they should have been replaced. RELIANCE was commissioned in 1964, three years before HAMILTON, and the HAMILTON was decomm’d in 2011. Last I saw, RELIANCE is still scheduled to in service through the 2020s. I’m sure HAMILTON and the 378s saw their share of nasty weather, but if we’re holding all cutters to 185 DAFHP, those extra years in service start to add up – even with an extra “midlife” availability thrown in.

  5. Nice to see Congress not buying the CG leadership trying to avoid objective accountability. Like when they tried to stop taking Defensive Cutter Readiness metrics.

    Be wary of those who avoid measurable accountability.

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