“New Coast Guard Leader Focusing on Readiness”–National Defense

File:Adm. Karl L. Schultz.jpg

National Defense Magazine reports and interview with the new Commandant, Admiral Karl L. Schultz.

These two paragraphs pretty much sum up his stance.

““My intention would be to not deviate too much,” he said. “Obviously, every change brings some different thinking, different ideas, but at our core it’s … steady as you go with trying to pick up speed a little bit.”

“As part of his guiding principles over the next four years, Schultz — who took over in June — said he is focusing on making the Coast Guard a ready, relevant and responsive service.”

He intends to push readiness in terms of operating budget.

“While the service is replacing many of its aging assets, it still has 50-year-old cutters in operation, he noted. Those vessels are expensive to maintain and the newer ships coming down the pipeline will be costly as well, he added.”

Of the new cutters, only National Security Cutters look like they might actually cost less to run than the vessels they replace, based on their smaller crew, but even that is questionable. The Webber class and the Offshore Patrol Cutters are much larger, more powerful, and have larger crews than the 110s and WMECs they will replace. While we may end up with fewer NSCs than 378s (10 v 12) and fewer OPCs than WMEC (25 v 28) it looks like we will have substantially more FRCs than 110s (only 41 WPB 110s were operational when the FRC program began and it looks like we will get at least 58).

The piece goes on to discuss icebreakers and the “waterways commerce cutter” (inland tenders). Additionally, don’t expect any change in the Coast Guard’s commitment to drug interdiction, “…we’re all in.”

11 thoughts on ““New Coast Guard Leader Focusing on Readiness”–National Defense

    • How can you say the Coast Guard is Down Sizing? The total number of personal is at a all time high for peace time!

      • And the Number of Ship’s in the USCG is What? “Increasing” or “Decreasing”! Ten NSC, not twelve, Twenty-Five OPC, not twenty-eight…

      • Secundius

        The number of 10 NSC’s is not set in stone. I think that it is better than 50/50 there 12 or more NSC’s will be build for the the Coast Guard. Remember just a few years ago, the last administration wanted only 6 cutters. We now have 10 on record!
        As for the OPC, it still too early for that program to tell how many will be build.
        But look at the OPC for a moment. With the exception of speed. These cutter’s will be better than even the Hamilton’s. And they are to replace the 210’s and 270’s
        in the fleet. Not a bad trade off, you ask me.
        I know that in the last few day’s the situation about the icebreakers has been a bit cloudy. But in the long run the Coast Guard will probably get at least 2 to 4 new heavy icebreakers along with 2 medium breakers.
        So Down Sizing, I don’t think so!

      • Neither is the “Proposed” Fifth-Eight “FRC’s” that the USCG are asking for. Also considering that the “Polar’s” are being SLEP upgraded and not Replaced…

      • The Polar Star is getting a SLEP in the hopes it will last long enough to be replaced. by the second Heavy Polar Icebreaker. It is not a substitute for the construction program.

      • Cutterman75 is right on the money. Counting 10 NSCs, 25 OPCs, and 58 FRCs, we get 93 vessels. These are replacing 12 WHECs, 28 WMECs, and 49 WPBs (using the original operational figure), which adds up to 89 vessels. And there are variables involved like how much of the arctic patrol cutter duties might be taken over by the Medium Icebreakers and whether the Navy will separately fund more FRCs for the CG presence in the Persian Gulf. All in all, I’d say the Cag is coming out ahead for once…

  1. Have you ever notice how most of the USCG Commandants have come from Connecticut. It seems like Connecticut is home to Commandants. On top of that, if he thinks the USCG is downsizing that means the AUX has to shoulder the load.

  2. ten NSCs, 25 OPCs, and 58 FRCs (93 vessels) are replacing 12 WHECs, 28 WMECs, and 41 WPCs (81 vessels). In most cases the replacements are larger. You could argue that we have fewer large ships which is true but FRCs are actually doing a lot of the type work 210s did. The real down sizing started earlier. My 2000-2001 Combat Fleets of the World shows we had 12 WHECs, 32 WMECs, and 49 Island class 110s (93 vessels). We are really in a period of rebuilding. There is never any certainty until everything is actually completed but it looks like we will have a more capable fleet than ever before. The problem I see is that the OPC program is way to slow. The last ship is not projected to enter service until 2034.

    We have generally had good support from Congress. They have frequently included more FRCs than the administration (under both Obama and Trump) has asked for. Hopefully they will similarly accelerate the OPC procurement.

    • Particularly with the LCS / FFX fracas, OPCs and NSCs might be seen as badly needed supplements/alternatives to help in a wartime conjoining with USN, as long as they are weaponized sufficiently to have a meaningful role. New Commandant sounds like he buys into that concept to some degree.

  3. For Coast Guard peacetime missions both the NSCs and the OPCs will be more capable than the 378s. The speed advantage of the 378s over the OPCs was very little used. I was on the Midgett for two year and I think the time we spent on both turbines was measured in minutes. We spent several hours on a single turbine during a SAR case but that gave us only 22 knots, same as the OPCs sustained speed or the NSC’s speed on diesels alone. On the other hand we spent a lot of time on one diesel and one shaft doing 11.5 knots or less.

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