ADM K.L Schultz delivered his “State of the Coast Guard 2022” at Air Station Clearwater, today, 24 February 2022.
You can read the prepared speech here.
There is an awful lot in the 13 pages. Much of it deals with how the Coast Guard hopes to provide a better life for its members and their families. I will not attempt to summarize. I will mention a couple of revelations that I think may be new.
Three FRCs will be homeported in Tampa Bay with Sector Saint Petersburg. This will bring the final number of FRCs in the 7th District up to at least 23. We repeatedly see these little ships doing fisheries and drug and migrant interdiction missions in the waters off Florida, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean that would have previously been performed by WMECs. This frees the larger cutters to perform missions in more demanding environments.
We have seen a growing tendency to group long range assets. Apparently, this will continue.
We’re developing geographic centers of gravity, creating more Coast Guard hubs like Portsmouth and Alameda… These new or improved operating hubs will be in Charleston, Seattle, Pensacola, Los Angeles, and Newport, Rhode Island… These operating hubs will allow us to better support our operational assets, and to further support the geographic stability of our workforce.
To some extent these centers of gravity exploit infrastructure built by the Navy but now considered excess. This applies to at least Charleston, Pensacola, and Newport.
These “centers of gravity” suggests expansion or creation of additional Support Centers. It may also suggest where Offshore Patrol Cutters (OPCs) will be homeported. We already know at least two OPCs each are going to San Pedro (Los Angeles), Kodiak, and Newport. Alameda already has four National Security Cutters (NSC) and Charleston will have five when all are completed. Seattle will most certainly be the homeport for three Polar Security Cutters. This suggest that at least Portsmouth, Pensacola, Los Angeles, and Newport will host large numbers of OPCs, perhaps as many as six. If that were to be the case, it would mean 14 large patrol cutters in Pacific Area (6 NSCs and 8 OPCs) and 22 in Atlantic Area (5 NSCs and 17 OPCs).
That would be close to the historic split of resources, but recent developments, including the success of the FRCs and IUU concerns in the Pacific, suggest we may have more large ships in the Pacific, perhaps a third OPC in Kodiak and up to three in Seattle or more likely Honolulu. That would make the split 18 in PAC Area and 18 in LANT Area.
(Updated: Corrected number of NSCs in each area.)