Forbes brings us some good news, that people in Congress are trying to help the Coast Guard.
This is apparently only one of several bills, but it has some good things, money for the Coast Guard Yard and for the backlog of shoreside infrastructure, also assurance that Coast Guard personnel will continue to be paid if there is a government shutdown.
But it also includes something cheap that I have been advocating repeatedly, a new Fleet Mix Study. It has been 13 years, far too long since the last one was done. (Follow the link to see what we thought would happen in 2012.) Much has changed. The OPCs were long delayed, do we still want to go with the slow pace of construction currently planned? Should we consider something like “Cutter X?” More NSC were built than planned. We still have no shore based UAS. The MH-65s are becoming unsupportable. “Future Vertical Lift” aircraft are with the planning horizon. We got far fewer C-144s than planned. C-27 became available, replacing some C-144s, but also perhaps replacing some C-130s. The 87 foot Marine Protector WPBs are reaching the end of their lives, what do replace them with, a large motor lifeboat, an interceptor, or both? A new Tri-Service Strategy has been published. International Illegal Undocumented Unreported (IUU) fisheries has become a hot topic. Capacity building with friendly nations is becoming a major goal. Arctic presence, law enforcement, and SAR has become a concern.
Unlike the previous Fleet Mix Study we need to consider alternatives, not just preselected solutions.
Churchill is reputed to have said, “Gentlemen, We Have Run Out Of Money; Now We Have to Think.” In this case if we think, we might make a case for getting money. Too often it seems the Congress has been willing to give us money, but the Coast Guard did not have a wish list, e.g. unfunded priorities. We need a new vision of what the Coast Guard can be.