Government Reorganization–Effects on Coast Guard

PENSACOLA BEACH, Fla. (Sept. 20, 2004)–Coast Guard cutter CYPRESS, a 225-foot buoy tender homeported in Mobile, Ala., underway near Pensacola Beach. CYPRESS was deployed in part of the Coast Guards efforts to repair aids to navigation damaged or dragged off station by Hurricane Ivan. USCG photo by PA3 John Edwards

“We trained hard, but it seemed that every time we were beginning
to form up into teams, we would be reorganized. I was to learn later
in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganizing;
and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress
while producing confusion, inefficiency, and demoralization.” attributed, probably erroneously to Gaius Petronius Arbiter, Roman Satirist (c.27-66 AD)

BryMar-Consulting has provided a link to the administration’s proposal for reorganizing the government. The Coast Guard is mentioned twice, once in regard to transferring Aids to Navigation responsibility to DOT and once with regard to duplication between the Coast Guard and CBP’s marine unit.

“In addition, transferring current U.S. Coast Guard responsibilities for permitting alterations to bridges and aids to coastal navigation to DOT would better align those functions with similar functions already carried out by DOT’s.” (p.73)

(Once again the multi-mission nature of CG AtoN assets is not recognized.)

“DHS Air & Maritime Programs

“This proposal would identify efficiencies and budgetary savings to be achieved by eliminating unnecessary duplication between U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Coast Guard air and maritime programs. This could include facility consolidation, standardized data, enhanced domain awareness and coordination, and common future capability requirements. “(p. 123)

GAO seems to like CBP. We may be in for a fight on this.

There is a good possibility this proposal will go nowhere. It will require Congressional action. Still we need to stay heads up.


9 thoughts on “Government Reorganization–Effects on Coast Guard

  1. Maybe I should finish my article about Herbert Hoover signing an EO transferring the Border Patrol and Customs Patrol to the Coast Guard about 1930 in a fit of efficiency. When Hoover left office, FDR and administration thought it was a good idea and reissued it to R. R. Waesche. Interesting story and one that illustrates why senior Coast Guard officers should be better politicians and drinkers.

    The 1915 Act to create the Coast Guard was another reorganization that didn’t work either.

  2. As I’ve suggested before, the ATON fleet and operations, but not the personnel, should be transferred to the Army Corps of Engineers (ACoE). And, for that matter, the ACoE should be transferred to DOT. I’ve pointed out before the nonsensical metaphor: USCG doing ATON is like having State Troopers in charge of hanging traffic signs on the highway… Not sure why GAO favors CBP, but it makes total sense to give the maritime border duties exclusively to USCG and terrestrial borders to CBP…

    • To me it makes nearly no sense to have the CG involved in border security. We transfer too often and are not true professionals in MLE. We should stick to RBS boardings. Almost every time we interact with other agencies we end up looking like the KeyStone Cops.

      • Well, there is the new ME rating, and District 7, especially, has done a tremendous amount of border security work in terms of migrant interdiction, so I’m not sure I follow you.

        I guess it also depends on what you call “border security.” There’s no question the CG is eyeballs deep in drug interdiction. Is that not part of “border security?”

        And, finally, what agency do you think *should* have the Maritime Border Security role? (Hint: the job description is in the name of the agency “Coast Guard.”)

  3. I hope the aton suggestion goes nowhere. I only did 1 aton tour,(epo ant woods hole), but it was one of my best tours especially for shore duty. plus this would create a loss of unique training and experience for deck types and snipes as well. as far as aviation, don’t know it enough aviation other then to say the linked oig report doesn’t say much for cpb aviation maintenence.

    • Well…. You have to remember Trump is a politician. The leaders of the country are all politicians (maybe somewhat less-so on the Supreme Court, but Exec. & Leg. branches? Oh yeah!)

      He ran on certain promises. He apparently feels he must follow these promises, even if that means finding a work-around to the Congressional-Critters who are not helping him, which is what this seems to be. His administration proposed a significant increase in the budget for the USCG, possibly, because they were planning all along to shift that money to “The Wall” and leave the Coast Guard with what they would have normally had anyway…

      Disingenuous? To the CG, absolutely, but to his electorate? No. It’s dealing with the “Swamp” in a swampy way in order to deliver on his promises. It does NOT mean he doesn’t appreciate or like the CG; it appears he genuinely does. But, he has priorities, and he is following through on them, even if in a less-than-palatable way.

      • This does seem to be an internal DHS initiative rather than something directed from above and $77M is relatively small. Even if taken out of the budget, we are doing much better than previous budgets.

        To some extent I do think perhaps the DHS recognizes that the CG is more popular with Congress than their other agencies and perhaps shorts the CG in budget requests to put money into the other agencies knowing Congress will plus up the CG budget.

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