The US Naval Institute news service reports the House has passed the Department of Homeland Security budget including,
“The FY 2020 total is $49.8 million less than what the service received a year ago but is $846.7 million more than what was initially proposed in President Donald Trump’s FY 2020 budget request, according to a statement from the House Appropriations Committee.”
It is worth noting that this bill has already been coordinated with the Senate, so it should advance without significant changes.
“The funding was part of a $1.4 trillion spending bill Senate and House negotiators created that avoids a possible federal government shutdown at the end of this week. The spending bill still needs Senate approval and Trump’s signature before becoming law.”
The Good News:
As expected the Congress bumped up the purchase of Webber class patrol craft from two units to four. ($140M requested, $260M in the bill, the FY 2019 budget provided six units for $360M). Congress has been pretty consistent in increasing the number purchased annually. This will fund FRCs #57-60. That leaves only four more units to complete the expected 64 total units anticipated for the class (58 in the program of record and six for PATFORSWA).
An additional $100M for long lead time items for the second Polar Security Cutter was added.
Congress also added another $105M for the HC-130J program. Congress also has a history of doing this as well. A similar amount was in the FY2019 budget.
The Bad News:
The total amount in the budget is less than FY2019, and that was less than FY2018. That trend is not good.
Since the requested amount for Procurement, Construction, and Improvements (PC&I) was $1.2B, it seems likely that even with these additions, the total Budget may be well under both the $2M the Coast Guard has been saying they need annually and last year’s $2,248.26M total, but we will not know for sure until we get more detail.
There is no provision for a much talked about National Security Cutter #12, even though money was included in the FY2019 budget for long lead time items for #12.
The Not Unexpected:
The requested amount for the Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC) program, $457 million for the construction of OPC #3 as well as long lead time materials for OPCs #4 and #5, was cut by $14M. That may represent nothing more than deletion of long lead time materials for OPC #5. Construction of #5 is now in the distant future, since the decision to grant Eastern Contract Relief and re-compete the contract for OPCs #5-15. This does seem to indicate Congress will allow DHS and the Coast Guard to continue with contract relief and that Eastern will construct the first four OPCs as previously announced.