There is a very good summary of the Commandant’s remarks reported by the US Naval Institute, “Coast Guard Weathering Cutter Production Delays as More Coasties Head to Sea.” There is really much more to the USNI post than the title would suggest.
The “big news” in the article, reflected in the title of the post, was this statement.
The Coast Guard is shifting some 2,000 billets in the coming years to sailing billets, largely to support the additional cutters. It might push the active force population somewhat beyond the 42,000 personnel currently, Schultz told USNI. “They’ll be some end-strength increase beyond that,” but it’s not clear yet how that will bear out.
I am not sure where this is coming from. The total number of afloat billets under the program of record is not significantly different from the number of afloat billets we had two decades ago. The additional icebreakers will make a small difference, but it would not approach 2000 billets. It is true we have seen some draw down since then, and the number of technical ratings afloat will certainly increase with the increasingly sophisticated ships.
The shift of billets from non-rates to highly technical ratings does mean we would be sending far fewer non-rates afloat. It maybe, we have seen the ill effects of this move and will be sending more non-rates afloat. I would applaud such a move. It would better prepare the non-rates for school and would increase the resilience of the ship’s crews. Below, I have linked previous posts that discuss the number of afloat billets.
A video of the “Town Hall” is above. There is nothing for about the first 47 minutes. If you would like to hear the Commandant’s remarks directly, the sections where he makes his remarks begin at approximately the following times. You may want to watch the whole thing. I was very impressed with the Marine Corps Commandant’s comments.
- 47:30 Intros
- 50:30 Readiness
- 1:00:00 Recapitalization vs Operating expenses/maintenance & infrastructure
- 1:07:30 Competition for personnel
- 1:17:00 Specialty personnel
- 1:26:00 What do we need from industry
- 1:32:00 Civilian hiring. Need to speed up the process. Civilian career development
- 1:34:30 What the CG got out of the infrastructure bill
- 1:39:00 Contract shipyards
- 1:42:30 Supporting old cutters
- 1:49:00 Should the CG be forward? 2000 additional at afloat billets. Additional help for ships during inports. Reserve utilization. Additional mental health professionals.
- 1:54:00 Strategic integration of sea services
- 2:01:00 Long term/distant deployments