Homeland Security Today is reporting the newly passed Coast Guard budget contains some very good news, including $655M for the new Polar Security Cutter.
The total budget is approximately $12,016M. This is about $92M less than last year, but that budget was remarkable in funding two National Security Cutters (#10 and #11). Presumably it contains funding for the second Offshore Patrol Cutter and long lead time items for the third. These were included in the original request, but were not mentioned in the report.
The Coast Guard gets $15 million for an additional 250 military personnel in the legislative agreement, $12.9 million for the 2019 pay raise, and $2 million to increase child care benefits and cost of living increases.
The bill is reported to include a couple of reporting requirements that may indicate where the Congress thinks the Coast Guard should be heading.
The bill directs the USCG to submit a plan within 120 days for a one-year pilot program to address illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, which “leads to billions in losses for the global fishing industry and is a source of financing for illicit activity such as piracy, drug trafficking, human trafficking, and slavery.”
Within 180 days, the USCG is required to give relevant committees “an assessment of the Coast Guard’s ability to conduct maritime law enforcement activities in the high seas in support of international partners.” (emphasis applied–Chuck)
The illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing could just be in reference to helping Micronesia. The law enforcement activities with partners could be about drug enforcement, but that is already pretty well understood. Could this mean we might be helping the Vietnam or the Philippines with their Chinese fisheries problems?
There is “$5,000,000 for survey and design work to support the acquisition of a Great Lakes icebreaker.” Based on earlier discussions, this ship would be at least as capable as the current USCGC Mackinaw.
The budget includes six additional Webber class “Fast Response Cutters,” four toward the 58 in the program of record and a second pair toward the replacement of the six 110s in South West Asia.
Aviation did reasonably well. “…$105,000,000 for the HC-130J aircraft program; $95,000,000 to recapitalize MH-60T aircraft; $8,000,000 to fund both the planned avionics upgrades and the costs associated with the service life extension project for HH-65 aircraft.”
It is gratifying to see that our “Unfunded Priorities List (UPL)” made a difference since frequently in the past we had no UPL. $119M was allocated for UPL items.
Reportedly the President has signed the bill into law.
Pingback: FY2019 PC&I Appropriations | Chuck Hill's CG Blog