“An omnibus spending bill to fund the federal government for fiscal year 2022 would add $130 million for two Coast Guard fast response cutters (FRCs), continuing the program beyond its planned buy of 64 vessels…”
This is not too surprising considering the frequently sighted need for additional Coast Guard resources in the Western Pacific. This will probably allow the Coast Guard to place two of the cutters in American Samoa. These two additional vessels are part of a option for up to twelve vessels that will expire May 2023. I am a bit surprised Congress did not choose to buy more than two. Presumably that option will still be open for a bit more than a year.
Thanks to Lee for bringing this to my attention.
It would be good to have a plan for when Congress buys what isn’t asked for.
There is provision for an Unfunded priority list.
The Coast Guard seems to have been exploring the possibility of operating out of American Samoa for some time now. Hopefully this will make it work. We will of course need to add some infrastructure for support.
Pacific Island neighbors need help. You noted the USCG has been helping Samoa since its sovereignty patrol vessel, the Nafanua, was in an Australian shipyard… https://chuckhillscgblog.net/2022/02/28/40404/
Well, it’s official. The vessel is being written off. https://www.overtdefense.com/2022/03/10/samoan-patrol-boat-written-off-months-after-grounding/
Will Australia provide them with ANOTHER Guardian class vessel? Will the USA provide them with a new Defiant class vessel? Will they end up with a surplus vessel, maybe a former Island class?
I think we will keep buying FRC from Bollinger until they land another major government contract. Look at Austal, we keep funding Spearhead class from them because they have to have orders coming in to keep their workforce and cash flow.
The Navy wants a second yard for FFGs, but Congress won’t let them yet. Same thing with Bolinger. Until they get an OPC contract or marine protector replacement contract we have to keep buying FRC.
I think any additional vessels will be treated as a one-time “lottery win”. Expanding the western Pacific presence would require a redeployment of recurring assets. As such I think it is more likely that any additional FRCs will be used to adjust the existing force structure, backfilling retirements of both Protector-class and WMECs,