“The 2009-page $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill before Congress this week includes a $640 million earmark for a Coast Guard ship the Coast Guard doesn’t want, but K Street does.”
They point to an earlier post that advocated a 9th NSC and this statement,
“The [program of record] provides the capabilities needed to execute our missions. While these assets have proven to be highly effective and capable, the Coast Guard has not identified a need for additional NSCs at this time,” said a Coast Guard spokesman Chief Warrant Officer Chad Saylor.
Presumably, CWO Saylor was just saying it was not in the budget or in the program of record. Saying the Coast Guard does not need or cannot use a ninth Bertholf class could not be more wrong.
The National Security Cutters have been repeatedly identified as replacements for the 378 foot WHECs. But even under the most optimistic assumption of the “Crew Rotation Concept,” eight NSCs are not enough to provide the same number of days away from homeport as twelve WHECs. Even assuming each NSC would be available 230 days a year, they could provide only 1840 days as compared to 2220 for twelve WHECs, each available 185 days per year. Even nine NSCs still leaves us 150 days short. To provide the same or more days away from homeport under the crew rotation concept, even if it worked would require ten ships and 13 crews.
The Fleet Mix study completed in 2009 and made public in 2012, indicated that the Coast Guard needs far more ships than included in the “Program of Record,” if it were to fully meet all our statutory missions. Each of the four progressively larger force levels (each progressively larger than the program of record) was intended to address a mission short fall. In every case the desired force level for National Security Cutters was nine.