There is an FY2017 Budget Fact Sheet here. Notably it does include long lead time items for the OPC and funding for four more Webber class Fast Responce Cutters.
There is also a Coast Guard provided “Appropriation Summary” table comparing “FY2015 revised enacted,” “FY2016 enacted,” and the “FY2017 President’s budget” here. In an earlier post I tracked how the 2016 budget had changed.
Perhaps not surprisingly the AC&I request ($$1.14B) is way down from the FY2016 budget ($1.95B) which funded a ninth National Security Cutter and accelerated the OPC and icebreaker programs, but it is a bit more than the original FY2016 request ($1.02B). The total 2017 budget ($10.32B) appears to be down significantly compared to the 2016 appropriation ($11.1B) but this is attributable primarily to the decline in the AC&I account.
I would hate to see AC&I funding, again drop well below a reasonable sustained funding rate, which is about $2-$2.5B. Would love to see some of the funding for the OPC or Icebreaker moved forward into the FY2017 budget so that a $2B AC&I budget would be seen as the new norm. The Acquisitions Directorate really needs to work to make that an option.
Seapower Magazine has a story about the 2017 budget here: http://www.seapowermagazine.org/stories/20160303-uscg.html
I was surprised to see this statement from the commandant, “Zukunft said he’d ideally like to have an AC&I budget of around $1.5 billion per year.”
When he was Commandant Adm. Papp made it clear we needed $2-2.5B annually in the AC&I budget. I don’t think we should back down from that. The OPC program plan is agonizingly slow. Two ships a year at most drags out replacement to a dangerous extent. We are also going to need to start replacing helicopters pretty soon. Congress wants us to procure new icebreakers for both the Polar regions and the Great Lakes. The existing fleet mix studies show we need more than the program of record to meet statutory requirements. Congressional Research Service studies have shown that our AC&I funding levels are far below comparable funding for the Navy.
If the Congress wants to give us a tenth NSC, as suggested by the Seapower article, we should be happy to have it if it is in addition to OPC funding. I have already demonstrated that even with augmented crews, it takes ten NSCs to provide as many days away from homeport as twelve WHECs. https://chuckhillscgblog.net/2015/04/16/timely-actions-needed-to-address-risks-in-using-rotational-crews-gao/
We are currently planning to replace about 44 ships with 34, while the Coast Guard’s responsibilities have grown. A new Fleet Mix Study cannot come soon enough.