Changes Ahead, Acquisition, Organization? and Again, Where is the Damn Unfunded Priority List?

Two new posts regarding the Coast Guard’s future, both from Defense News.

The first, “Commentary: US Coast Guard deserves military level funding,” by Representative Duncan D. Hunter (R-CA) is a plea for better funding of the Coast Guard. Its significance is less what it says, than who is saying it.

The second, “US Coast Guard urged to step up requirements,” by Christopher P. Cavas, quotes Representative Hunter and his chief of staff, Joe Kasper. It primarily encourages the Coast Guard to provide a comprehensive unfunded priority list, primarily with regard to icebreakers, Unmanned Air Systems, and, some what obliquely, the inland tender fleet, but it goes further, indicating Hunter will attempt to have the Coast Guard moved into the DOD and have our larger cutters better armed.

So who is Representative Hunter?  He is the son of long serving representative Duncan L. Hunter. He serves on the Armed Services, Education and the Workforce and Transportation and Infrastructure committees, and most importantly for us, he chairs the Transportation Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation. He is a Marine Reserve Major. The day after the September 11 attacks, Hunter quit his job and joined the Corps. He served two tours in Iraq as an artillary officer and was recalled to duty for a tour in Afghanistan.

Perhaps significantly he and Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) were the first members of Congress to endorse Trump.

I first became aware of him watching the video you can see here, “Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee Hearing on Coast Guard Arctic Implementation Capabilities 7/12/16.” I should have been paying more attention earlier when I included another video of a subcommittee hearing here, “Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation: Examining Cutter, Aircraft, and Communications Needs.”

If you look, particularly at the first video from 2016, you will see his frustration with the Coast Guard leadership. This call for an “expansive” unfunded priority list seems to be an effort to teach the Coast Guard leadership how to “play the game.”

“We’re trying to instill some courage in the Coast Guard,” he added. “They’re taking on a bigger role, doing more things. We’re talking about the Arctic, about inland waterways. Until you ask for it, it is going to be increasingly difficult for us on the Hill to sound the need. There is no confusion around the Navy’s fleet size, there’s good awareness on where the Navy needs to be. The Navy knows how to play this game, to advocate for its needs.  Until you start getting out in front and making the case for where you need to be and not worrying about the effect on your budget, you’re never going to get what you need.”

I have expressed my own inability to understand why the Coast Guard will not provide an unfunded priorities list even when it is requested by Congress. Here in 2013, and again in 2014.

Hopefully we will see one this year.

Thanks to Luke for bringing these to my attention.


8 thoughts on “Changes Ahead, Acquisition, Organization? and Again, Where is the Damn Unfunded Priority List?

  1. More indication Duncan Hunter is pushing for the icebreakers.

    This reports includes a couple of surprises.

    “Our nation has an urgent need for heavy polar icebreaking capability,” Rear Adm. Michael Haycock, the Coast Guard’s director of acquisition programs, said Wednesday…They want to exceed the Arktika’s power, a tall task….Arktika can break ice up to 2.9 meters (9.5 feet) thick and reach speeds of 22 knots. It’s fitted with a hangar capable of accommodating two choppers — one for ice reconnaissance and another for transportation. The Arktika was also built to be armed in wartime.

    “Arktika might be mammoth in size but it doesn’t hold a candle to Russia’s newest design. Named, “Leader,” the super-ship will be unveiled in 2019 and is three times the size of Arktika.”

  2. Pingback: My Unfunded Priority List | Chuck Hill's CG Blog

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  4. Pingback: Coast Guard Gets $578M Above President’s Budget Request in Appropriations Deal” –Homeland Security Today | Chuck Hill's CG Blog

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