Below you will find a CCGD11 news release regarding the Commandant’s State of the Coast Guard speech delivered today quoted in full. It also includes a link to the text of the speech. I will make some additional observations at the end.
Editors’ Note: Click on above image to download full-resolution photos and view the videos.
SAN PEDRO, Calif. — The Commandant of the United States Coast Guard delivered his first State of the Coast Guard address Thursday at Coast Guard Base Los Angeles-Long Beach in San Pedro.
Speaking from the largest port in the nation, Adm. Karl Schultz highlighted Coast Guard security and marine safety operations, which facilitate $4.6 trillion in annual economic activity.
Schultz also recognized the service and sacrifice of Coast Guard men and women deployed around the world ensuring global peace and prosperity, including servicemembers supporting U.S. Indo-Pacific Command and U.S. Central Command. He also honored servicemembers in San Pedro, who help ensure the safety and timely movement of vessels operating in the Ports of Los Angeles-Long Beach.
“We must make a difference today, for the Coast Guard of tomorrow,” said Schultz. “Our Coast Guard men and women are united by a shared commitment and eagerness to serve, to demonstrate skill and courage, so that America’s Coast Guard will remain Semper Paratus—Always Ready.”
Schultz also made multiple policy and acquisition announcements including:
- Increased presence in Southern California, including construction of a new air station at Ventura County Naval Station; the homeporting of the service’s first two new Offshore Patrol Cutters at Base Los Angeles-Long Beach in 2021; and four new Fast Response Cutters in Los Angeles.
- Confirmed the service was poised to release an update to its Arctic Strategic Outlook in the coming weeks.
- $675 million to fully fund the Polar Security Cutter and award the first construction contract for the cutter in the spring.
- Provided an update on Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf’s deployment to the Western Pacific in support of United States Indo-Pacific Command combating North Korea’s maritime sanctions evasion activity.
- Confirmed the service will accelerate delivery of unmanned aerial systems for National Security Cutters to enable operations that reduce violence and economic/political instability in the Western Hemisphere.
“As Congress makes tough fiscal decisions and looks at the best ways to spend the nation’s precious resources, there’s not a better return on investment in government than the United States Coast Guard,” said Schultz.
Download his full remarks at www.uscg.mil/AlwaysReady.
The statement that the first two OPCs will go to Long Angeles/Long Beach is the first time I have heard this. Still don’t think I have heard where NSCs #9-11 are going.
The Commandant wants to double the rate at which we procure Scan Eagle for the National Security Cutters and he wants to put them on OPCs as well.
He talked a lot about Port Security cyber. This is going to continue to grow.
He talked about making the service more inclusive, and a safe workplace. In this regard he referred to the Women’s retention taskforce. which is expected to report next week. He also indicated there will be an underrepresented minorities retention task force.
He reported that he was putting Coast Guard Reservists directly under vice Commandant for Operations.
These are inevitably feel good events, and watching it you could feel pride in the Coast Guard and in its people and accomplishments. I know I did. It is not good form to complain too much about the administration or the Department or how Congress has treated the Coast Guard, but the Commandant did talk about how the Coast Guard had a backlog of deferred maintenance and a $1.7B shore infrastructure backlog, and that the operating accounts have been flatlined for the last eight years resulting in a 10% loss of purchasing power. He included a reminder in the third and forth paragraph from the end that we really need a steady budget increase. He did not say it, but that is not the case with the FY2020 budget, in fact it is smaller than the FY2019 budget. Congress could still fix that.
“To be the Coast Guard that America needs takes more than just recapitalization. It requires sufficient operating and support funding to maintain our platforms, to train and equip our crews, and to support our Coast Guardsmen and their families. We’re appreciative of the fiscal year 2019 enacted budget, which provided over $2.2 billion dollars for capital investments and ensured continued frontline operations. I am also thankful for the President’s fiscal year 2020 budget request, which will sustain our Service.
“However, to be an absolutely Ready, Relevant, and Responsive Coast Guard requires a 5% annual increase in operating and support funding. As Congress makes tough fiscal decisions and looks at the best ways to spend the Nation’s precious resources, there’s not a better return on investment in government than the United States Coast Guard.”