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.”
Hopefully we will see one this year.
Thanks to Luke for bringing these to my attention.