“Schultz: U.S. Coast Guard in ‘Prolific’ Shipbuilding Period” –USNI

Vice Adm. Karl L. Schultz, commander, Coast Guard Atlantic Area, speaks at the Coast Guard Cutter Benjamin Dailey commissioning ceremony in Pascagoula, Miss. Coast Guard Photo

The US Naval Institute reports on the Commandant’s remarks at the Surface Navy Association Symposium.

There did not seem to be any surprises. The Commandant’s messaging has been very consistent. He did spend some time discussing the Coast Guard growing role in international affairs.

“Well, I think we really play a key role in shaping the diction of global maritime security, global maritime safety, and I suspect navies around the world are recognizing that the language and purpose of coast guards are well supported to their interests and their sovereign interests. And that’s why we’re adapting our operations abroad,” Schultz said.

There was discussion about the recapitalization of the fleet, which the Commandant called the Coast Guard’s “largest shipbuilding period since World War II.” The cost of the contracts has been unprecedented and the 34 year time span from acceptance of the “Program of Record” in 2004 until its projected completion in 2038 must be some kind of record. The FRC program has certainly been a success, but aside from them, we have only delivered the nine National Security Cutters in the almost fourteen years since Bertholf was commissioned. This does not look that intense compared to the nine-year period from 1964 to 1972 when the Coast Guard commissioned 28 major ships–12 WHEC378s and 16 WMEC210s–along with 35 WPBs.

By the time we expect to get the last OPC, the first NSC will be 30 years old. We need to change our mind set and that of Congress. If we are to maintain a fleet of 72 major ships, i.e. 36 Offshore Patrol Vessels, six icebreakers, and 30 seagoing and coastal buoy tenders, and I don’t think that is really enough, and we are to replace them in a timely fashion, building two ships a year needs to be the norm, not the exception.

We are not building at a high tempo; if anything, we are building too slow.

“Troubled CBP Gets $3.7 Billion Infrastructure Boost While Coast Guard Gets Peanuts” –Forbes

US Capital West Side, by Martin Falbisoner

Forbes makes a case that DHS is directing money to Customs and Border Protection because it’s broken, while minimally funding the Coast Guard because it works.

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, better known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, did a lot for the U.S. Coast Guard. The Coast Guard, the maritime component of the sprawling Department of Homeland Security, got a $434 billion windfall (that has to be million vice billion–Chuck) to fund operations and pay for physical improvements.

That’s better than a kick in the head. But the service got mere fraction of the $3.7 billion Congress meted out to the Department of Homeland Security’s continually-troubled Customs and Border Patrol.

Unfortunately, there seems to be a tendency in government to throw money at agencies that are not performing, in hopes of seeing an improvement, and providing no additional funds to agencies that are providing a good return on investment, inverting good investment strategy.

He also points out that for whatever reason, despite numerous demands from Congress, the Coast Guard is not providing the information Congress needs to make an informed decision about the true needs of the service.

At least this time the Coast Guard had provided an unfunded priority list. In many previous years there was none. The “program of record” for cutter procurement was formulated in 2004 and has not changed in 17 years. The only Fleet Mix study was done in 2011, a decade ago. There is no long-term capital asset or ship building plan.

“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

Thanks to formerdirtdart for bringing this to my attention. 

“Coast Guard Polar Security Cutter (Polar Icebreaker) Program: Background and Issues for Congress” –CRS, December 7, 2021

 

The Congressional Research Service has once again updated their look at the Polar Security Cutter (heavy icebreaker) program. (See the latest version here.) My last look at this evolving document was in regard to the October 19, 2021 revision.

The one-page summary, which has not changed, is reproduced below, but first I will point out what appears to have changed since the October 19 edition.


From page 13 re program delays (This is based on the report discussed here)

An October 19, 2021, press report stated

Delivery of the first new Coast Guard heavy polar icebreaker has slipped a year to 2025 due to the fact that it’s been 45 years since the last heavy icebreaker was built in the U.S. and impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, Adm. Karl Schultz, the service’s commandant, said on Tuesday [October 19].

The first Polar Security Cutter (PSC) is expected to be delivered in the third quarter of fiscal year 2025, Schultz told a Senate Commerce Committee panel that oversees the Coast Guard. The PSC was originally expected to be delivered in March of 2024, which is in the second quarter of FY ’24. That timeline was later revised to May 2024, which is the third quarter….

Schultz said that COVID “complications” have hampered “international collaboration” on PSC ship construction, noting that the program is ambitious and “on a compressed timeline.”

A Coast Guard spokesman told Defense Daily in an email reply to questions that infection rates and travel restrictions due to COVID “significantly affected Halter Marine’s ship design efforts and subcontractor integration, resulting in unavoidable delays. COVID-19 was particularly impactful to HMI’s efforts to hire and maintain staffing levels across multiple occupation categories (labor, management, and engineering) and hindered collaboration with its ship design subcontractors, many of whom are based internationally and were significantly affected by early COVID-19 restrictions.”

The spokesman added that “The Coast Guard and Navy Integrated Program Office recently negotiated a consolidated contract action that definitizes COVID-19 delays and rebaselines the delivery schedule by 12 months.” Still, the program remains on track to begin operations in 2027 with Operation Deep Freeze, he said.

From pages 29 and 30, re a Great Lakes Icebreaker and a Forth PSC

Build Back Better Act (H.R. 5376)
House
Section 110023 of H.R. 5376 as passed by the House on November 19, 2021, states
SEC. 110023. GREAT LAKES ICEBREAKER ACQUISITION.

In addition to amounts otherwise available, there is appropriated for fiscal year 2022, out of funds in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, $350,000,000, to remain available until September, 30, 2031, to the Coast Guard, for acquisition, design, and construction of a Great Lakes heavy icebreaker, as authorized under section 8107 of the William M. (Mac) Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 (P.L. 116-283).50 The Coast Guard shall return to the Treasury any funds appropriated under this section that have not been expended by September 30, 2031.

Section 10024 of H.R. 5376 as passed by the House states
SEC. 110024. POLAR SECURITY CUTTERS AND CLIMATE SCIENCE.

In addition to amounts otherwise available, there is appropriated for fiscal year 2022, out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, $788,000,000, to remain available until September 30, 2031, to the Coast Guard, for the acquisition of the fourth heavy Polar Security Cutter, including scientific laboratory and berthing facilities, to expand access for scientists to the polar regions, to improve climate and weather research, for other polar missions, and for other purposes, as authorized under section 561 of title 14, United States Code.


Summary (Note no change from previous edition-Chuck)

The Coast Guard Polar Security Cutter (PSC) program is a program to acquire three new PSCs (i.e., heavy polar icebreakers), to be followed years from now by the acquisition of up to three new Arctic Security Cutters (ASCs) (i.e., medium polar icebreakers). The PSC program has received a total of $1,754.6 million (i.e., about $1.8 billion) in procurement funding through FY2021, including $300 million that was provided through the Navy’s shipbuilding account in FY2017 and FY2018. With the funding the program has received through FY2021, the first two PSCs are now fully funded.

The Coast Guard’s proposed FY2022 budget requests $170.0 million in procurement funding for the PSC program, which would be used for, among other things, procuring long leadtime materials (LLTM) for the third PSC.

The Navy and Coast Guard in 2020 estimated the total procurement costs of the PSCs in then year dollars as $1,038 million (i.e., about $1.0 billion) for the first ship, $794 million for the second ship, and $841 million for the third ship, for a combined estimated cost of $2,673 million (i.e., about $2.7 billion). Within those figures, the shipbuilder’s portion of the total procurement cost is $746 million for the first ship, $544 million for the second ship, and $535 million for the third ship, for a combined estimated shipbuilder’s cost of $1,825 million (i.e., about $1.8 billion).

On April 23, 2019, the Coast Guard-Navy Integrated Program Office for the PSC program awarded a $745.9 million fixed-price, incentive-firm contract for the detail design and construction (DD&C) of the first PSC to VT Halter Marine of Pascagoula, MS, a shipyard owned by Singapore Technologies (ST) Engineering. VT Halter was the leader of one of three industry teams that competed for the DD&C contract. The first PSC is scheduled to begin construction in 2021 and be delivered in 2024, though the DD&C contract includes financial incentives for earlier delivery.

The DD&C contract includes options for building the second and third PSCs. If these options are exercised, the total value of the contract would increase to $1,942.8 million (i.e., about $1.9 billion). The figures of $745.9 million and $1,942.8 million cover only the shipbuilder’s costs; they do not include the cost of government-furnished equipment (GFE), which is equipment for the ships that the government purchases and then provides to the shipbuilder for incorporation into the ship, post-delivery costs, costs for Navy-specific equipment, or government program-management costs.

The operational U.S. polar icebreaking fleet currently consists of one heavy polar icebreaker, Polar Star, and one medium polar icebreaker, Healy. In addition to Polar Star, the Coast Guard has a second heavy polar icebreaker, Polar Sea. Polar Sea, however, suffered an engine casualty in June 2010 and has been nonoperational since then. Polar Star and Polar Sea entered service in 1976 and 1978, respectively, and are now well beyond their originally intended 30-year service lives. The Coast Guard plans to extend the service life of Polar Star until the delivery of at least the second PSC. The Coast Guard is using Polar Sea as a source of spare parts for keeping Polar Star operational

“Coast Guard Head Schultz Optimistic Congress Will Approve 2022 Budget; Warns Year-long Continuing Resolution Would be ‘Devastating’” –USNI

U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Karl Schultz testifies before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation on April 4, 2019. US Coast Guard Photo

The US Naval Institute News Service reports on remarks by the Commandant on prospects for the FY2022 budget and the potential effects of operating a full year under a “Continuing Resolution.”

Spoiler Alert: It is not all doom and gloom.

“WEB EXCLUSIVE: Q&A With Adm. Karl Schultz, Commandant of the Coast Guard” –National Defense

Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Karl Schultz. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Jetta Disco.

National Defense has an interview with the Commandant. There is a lot of discussion about COVID and how the Coast Guard has adapted to the reality of annual continuing resolutions (CR).

There is a good deal of discussion here about icebreakers. Polar Security Cutter construction is the program most effected by COVID and the first of class is now not expected until 2025. The Commandant actually wants more than six icebreakers, perhaps as many as nine, including some for the Atlantic side, more than three PSCs, and (for the first time I have heard this) we are also looking at something less than a medium icebreaker.

 “I’ve been having a conversation for most of my tenure that we really need a minimum of six icebreakers. Of that six, three will be Polar Security Cutters. We’ll have a hot production line, I hope that conversations is really about more than three Polar Security Cutters, but we’re also talking about maybe something a little less than a medium icebreaker. We’ve done some work at the behest of the last National Security Council in the Trump administration that has played forward for this administration. They seem very interested. So, I think we’re having the right conversations about a fleet of maybe six or nine that can work in the high latitudes both the High North and down in Antarctica.”

There was brief discussion of armament for the icebreakers. The Commandant noted that the PSC design included space, weight and power for upgrades (type unspecified), but no intention to make those upgrades now. There was no mention of Antarctica in that discussion.

There is a discussion about the Coast Guard in the Western Pacific in regard to both the Webber class FRCs and deployment of National Security Cutters to the far Western Pacific.

The interviewer seemed to be pushing the Commandant to acknowledge that the hardware elements of the Deepwater program were essentially complete. The Commandant’s response was more muted, noting that the Offshore Patrol Cutters are the “backbone” of the recapitalization and that program has essentially only just begun.

There was only one question that mentioned unmanned systems and the Commandant’s response made no mention of them. There was also no discussion of replacement of the H-65s with H-60s.

“Eastern Shipbuilding looks to win Coast Guard cutter contract — again” –Defense News

Defense News has a report of Eastern Shipbuilding’s hopes and efforts regarding phase two of the Offshore Patrol Cutter program.

“the Coast Guard expects to award the OPC second stage detail design and construction contract in spring 2022.”

I am a little surprised, it is taking as long as it is, to make a decision, two years after award of contracts to nine ship builder for industry studies (March 20, 2020), and about a year after the deadline for submission of proposals (May 28, 2021), but it certainly is an important choice.

Start of the OPC program contract was too long delayed in the first place. Then a hurricane delayed Eastern’s efforts about a year, and raised the cost. The decision to recompete the contract resulted in more delays, in that previous plans to move to funding two OPCs a year were pushed even further into the future. Instead of delivering the first three OPCs, one per year 2021-2023 and delivering two per year beginning 2024 through 2034; the current notional deliver schedule is one per year 2022-2028 and then two per year 2029-2037.

One potential benefit, if Eastern should be chosen for Phase II, is that they might be able to transition more quickly to building two ships per year. To some extent, that may be true of other yards as well, but Eastern’s product will presumably remain the same and a decision about its suitability to proceed to full rate production can be made years before the same is true of OPCs produced by other yards that will not be built to the same detail plans.

“Report to Congress on Coast Guard Cutter Procurement” –CRS, Updated October 19, 2021″ –CRS

The Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf enters the San Francisco Bay en route to their Alameda, California homeport following a three-month multi-mission patrol, Oct. 3, 2020. Bertholf is one of four Legend-class national security cutters homeported in Alameda. (Photo by Pablo Fernicola)

The Congressional Research Service has again updated their “Report to Congress on Coast Guard Cutter Procurement”. (This link will always take you to the most recent edition of the report.) My last post on this evolving document was in reference to a 15 September, 2021 update. The questions raised in that report remain largely unanswered. I have reproduced the one page summary in full below. The summary does not appear to have changed, except to reflect the commissioning of the 45th FRC. But first I will highlight what I believe to be the changes since the last update. The significant changes reflect the Senate’s actions reported on pages 27 and 28.

Senate

The Senate Appropriations Committee, in the explanatory statement it released on October 18, 2021, for the FY2022 DHS Appropriations Act (S. XXXX), recommends the funding levels shown in the SAC column of Table 2. (PDF page 144 of 160) The explanatory statement states:

Offshore Patrol Cutter [OPC].—The Committee provides the requested amount of $597,000,000 for the construction of the fourth OPC and LLTM for the fifth OPC. While the Committee supports OPC procurements, the Committee remains concerned about costs for the program and continues the requirement for the Coast Guard to brief the Committee within one week prior to taking any procurement actions impacting estimated costs for the OPC program.

Fast Response Cutter [FRC] Program.—In accordance with the Coast Guard’s recapitalization plan, the Committee has completed funding for the replacement of legacy 110-foot Island Class patrol boats with FRCs that will operate similarly in the coastal zone. The Coast Guard is encouraged to notify the Committee if additional FRCs are necessary to support the Department of Defense in Patrol Forces Southwest Asia. (PDF page 69 of 160)

The explanatory statement also states:

Fleet Mix Analysis.—The Committee recognizes ongoing acquisition programs for various cutter classes that are responsible for many of, but not all, Coast Guard missions. While programs have correctly been prioritized around recapitalizing the oldest vessels in the fleet, several cutter classes are rapidly approaching the end of their service lives, while others have long surpassed their service lives. In order to best understand future capital investment needs, the Coast Guard shall provide to the Committee within 180 days of the date of enactment of this act, a comprehensive analysis that provides a fleet mix sufficient to carry out the assigned missions of the Coast Guard and other emerging mission requirements. The Coast Guard shall brief the Committee within 60 days of the date of enactment of this act on its plans to carry out this requirement.

Full-Funding Policy.—The Committee again directs an exception to the administration’s current acquisition policy that requires the Coast Guard to attain the total acquisition cost for a vessel, including long lead time materials [LLTM], production costs, and postproduction costs, before a production contract can be awarded. This policy has the potential to make shipbuilding less efficient, to force delayed obligation of production funds, and to require post-production funds far in advance of when they will be used. The Department should position itself to acquire vessels in the most efficient manner within the guidelines of strict governance measures.

Domestic Content.—To the maximum extent practicable, the Coast Guard shall utilize components that are manufactured in the United States when contracting for new vessels. Such components include: auxiliary equipment, such as pumps for shipboard services; propulsion equipment, including engines, reduction gears, and propellers; shipboard cranes; and spreaders for shipboard cranes. (PDF page 68 of 160)


Summary

The Coast Guard’s program of record (POR), which dates to 2004, calls for procuring 8 National Security Cutters (NSCs), 25 Offshore Patrol Cutters (OPCs), and 58 Fast Response Cutters (FRCs) as replacements for 90 aging Coast Guard high-endurance cutters, medium-endurance cutters, and patrol craft. The Coast Guard’s proposed FY2022 budget requests a total of $695.0 million in procurement funding for the NSC, OPC, and FRC programs, including $597 million for the OPC program.

NSCs are the Coast Guard’s largest and most capable general-purpose cutters; they are replacing the Coast Guard’s 12 Hamilton-class high-endurance cutters. NSCs have an estimated average procurement cost of about $670 million per ship. Although the Coast Guard’s POR calls for procuring 8 NSCs to replace the 12 Hamilton-class cutters, Congress through FY2021 has fully funded 11 NSCs, including the 10th and 11th in FY2018. In FY2020, Congress provided $100.5 million for procurement of long lead time materials (LLTM) for a 12th NSC, so as to preserve the option of procuring a 12th NSC while the Coast Guard evaluates its future needs. The Coast Guard’s proposed FY2022 budget requests $78.0million in procurement funding for activities within the NSC program; this request does not include further funding for a 12th NSC. The Coast
Guard’s proposed FY2022 budget also proposes rescinding $65.0 million of the $100.5 million in FY2020 funding for LLTM for a 12th NSC, “allowing the Coast Guard to focus investments on building, homeporting, and crewing Polar Security Cutters and Offshore Patrol Cutters.” The remaining $35.5 million appropriated in FY2020 for LLTM would be used to pay NSC program costs other than procuring LLTM for a 12th NSC. Nine NSCs have entered service; the ninth was commissioned into service on March 19, 2021.

OPCs are to be less expensive and in some respects less capable than NSCs; they are intended to replace the Coast Guard’s 29 aged medium-endurance cutters. Coast Guard officials describe the OPC and PSC programs as the service’s highest acquisition priorities. OPCs have an estimated average procurement cost of about $411 million per ship. The first OPC was funded in FY2018. The Coast Guard’s proposed FY2022 budget requests $597.0 million in procurement funding for the fourth OPC, LLTM for the fifth, and other program costs. On October 11, 2019, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), of which the Coast Guard is a part, announced that DHS had granted extraordinary contractual relief to Eastern Shipbuilding Group (ESG) of
Panama City, FL, the builder of the first four OPCs, under P.L. 85-804 as amended (50 U.S.C. 1431-1435), a law that authorizes certain federal agencies to provide certain types of extraordinary relief to contractors who are encountering difficulties in the performance of federal contracts or subcontracts relating to national defense. The Coast Guard is holding a full and open competition for a new contract to build OPCs 5 through 15. On January 29, 2021, the Coast Guard released a Request for Proposals (RFP) for this Stage 2 contract, as it is called. Responses to the RFP were due by May 28, 2021. The Coast Guard plans to award the Stage 2 contract in the second quarter of FY2022.

FRCs are considerably smaller and less expensive than OPCs; they are intended to replace the Coast Guard’s 49 aging Island-class patrol boats. FRCs have an estimated average procurement cost of about $65 million per boat. A total of 64 have been funded through FY2021, including four in FY2021. Six of the 64 are to be used by the Coast Guard in the Persian Gulf and are not counted against the 58-ship POR quantity for the program, which relates to domestic operations. As of October 19, 2021, 45 of the 64 have been commissioned into service. The Coast Guard’s proposed FY2022 budget requests $20.0 million in procurement funding for the FRC program; this request does not include funding for any additional FRCs

“U.S. Coast Guard Presents Some Aging Infrastructure Concerns and Fixes” –USNI

Coast Guard Base Seattle

The US Naval Institute Blog has a post looking at Coast Guard efforts to repair or replace its aging infrastructure. It is in the form of questions and answers.

I asked the U.S. Coast Guard’s Public Affairs Department in September 2021 on to shed some light as to what aging and unsatisfactory infrastructure issues they have. Lieutenant (junior grade) Sondra-Kay Kneen, Coast Guard media relations, replied with answers taken from various U.S. Coast Guard personnel and sources.

“In Forbes: An Irked Senator Roger Wicker Goes “On Record” Over The Coast Guard” –Next Navy

Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton leads the way for cutters Robert Goldman and Charles Moulthrope as they depart Puerto Rico April 1. National security cutter Hamilton is escorting the two fast response cutters (FRCs) across the Atlantic to Rota, Spain. From there, the FRCs will continue to their homeport of Manama, Bahrain. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Sydney Phoenix.

Next Navy comments on why despite great support in Congress, the Coast Guard is still not getting full funding.

There are other reasons, but it is hard for our friends to advocate for full funding when essentially, we don’t know what full funding is.

The current “Program of Record” dates from 2004. The last Fleet Mix Analysis, which essentially only served to show, “Yes, we really do need the Program of Record and a lot more,” was done in 2011.

Much has changed.

  • We are using the Webber class WPCs in ways not imagined in 2011.
  • We still don’t have the land based UAS that were included in the Program of Record.
  • Improved sensors and platforms, including unmanned air, surface, and subsurface are now available.
  • The Coast Guard’s aviation fleet, both fixed wing and rotary are not what was envisioned in the Program of Record.
  • The Navy’s own Maritime Domain Awareness capabilities have changed. Presumably they will share with the Coast Guard.
  • Illegal Unregulated Unreported fishing has emerged as a national security threat.
  • The Chinese have been using their Coast Guard to intimidate our friends and allies.
  • Combatant Commanders are constantly seeking Coast Guard assistance in Capacity Building in their AORs.

In spite of these substantial changes, we have not changed our Program of Record in 17 years.

By contrast the US Navy publishes a new Fleet Plan almost annually.

Congress has repeatedly directed the Coast Guard to complete a new Fleet Mix Analysis, but they have yet to see anything beyond the one ten year old study. I don’t know who is to blame for this. Is it the Coast Guard, the Department, or the Administration(s)?

The Congress is apparently not satisfied with the frequency of Navy updates.

I think they are going to have to demand the Coast Guard present a regular report bypassing the Department.

There is no way we should go more than four years between rigorous analysis of our needs. It is essential for risk analysis by all concerned parties, the Coast Guard, the Department, the Administration, and the Congress.

Proceeding without analysis is just whistling in the dark.

“Coast Guard Polar Security Cutter (Polar Icebreaker) Program: Background and Issues for Congress” –CRS, September 15, 2021

Photo of a model of Halter Marine’s Polar Security Cutter seen at Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space Exhibition have surfaced. Photo credit Chris Cavas.

The Congressional Research Service has once again updated their look at the Polar Security Cutter (heavy icebreaker) program. (See the latest version here.) My last look at this evolving document was in regard to the August 31, 2021 revision.

I will reproduce the one page summary below but first I will point out what appears to be new. From page 29-32:


FY2022 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 4350)

House

Section 5301 of H.R. 4350 as reported by the House Armed Services Committee (H.Rept. 117-118 of September 10, 2021) states:

SEC. 5301. GREAT LAKES WINTER SHIPPING.

(a) SHORT TITLE.—This section may be cited as the ‘‘Great Lakes Winter Shipping Act
of 2021’’.

(b) GREAT LAKES ICEBREAKING OPERATIONS.—

(1) GAO REPORT.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Comptroller General of the United States shall submit to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives a report on Coast Guard icebreaking in the Great Lakes.

(B) ELEMENTS.—The report required under subparagraph (A) shall—

(i) evaluate—

(I) the economic impact related to vessel delays or cancellations associated with ice
coverage on the Great Lakes;

(II) the impact the standards proposed in paragraph (2) would have on Coast Guard operations in the Great Lakes if such standards were adopted;

(III) the fleet mix of medium ice breakers and icebreaking tugs necessary to meet the standards proposed in paragraph (2); and

(IV) the resources necessary to support the fleet described in subclause (III), including
billets for crew and operating costs; and

(ii) make recommendations to the Commandant for improvements to the Great Lakes icebreaking program, including with respect to facilitating shipping and meeting all Coast Guard mission needs.

(2) PROPOSED STANDARDS FOR ICEBREAKING OPERATIONS.—The proposed standards, the impact of the adoption of which is evaluated in subclauses (II) and (III) of paragraph (1)(B)(i), are the following:

(A) Except as provided in subparagraph (B), that ice-covered waterways in the Great Lakes shall be open to navigation not less than 90 percent of the hours that vessels engaged in commercial service and ferries attempt to transit such ice-covered waterways.

(B) In a year in which the Great Lakes are not open to navigation as described in subparagraph (A) because of ice of a thickness that occurs on average only once every 10 years, ice-covered waterways in the Great Lakes shall be open to navigation at least 70 percent of the hours that vessels engaged in commercial service and ferries attempt to transit such ice-covered waterways.

(3) REPORT BY COMMANDANT.—Not later than 90 days after the date on which the Comptroller General submits the report under paragraph (1), the Commandant shall submit to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives a report that includes the following:

(A) A plan for Coast Guard implementation of any recommendation made by the Comptroller General under paragraph (1)(B)(ii) with which the Commandant concurs.

(B) With respect to any recommendation made under paragraph (1)(B)(ii) with which the Commandant does not concur, an explanation of the reasons why the Commandant does not concur.

(C) A review of, and a proposed implementation plan for, the results of the fleet mix
analysis under paragraph (1)(B)(i)(III).

(D) Any proposed modifications to current Coast Guard Standards for icebreaking operations in the Great Lakes.

(4) PILOT PROGRAM.—During the 5 ice seasons following the date of enactment of this Act, the Coast Guard shall conduct a pilot program to determine the extent to which the current Coast Guard Great Lakes icebreaking cutter fleet can meet the proposed standards described in paragraph (2).

(c) DATA ON ICEBREAKING OPERATIONS IN THE GREAT LAKES.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—The Commandant shall collect, during ice season, archive, and
disseminate data on icebreaking operations and transits on ice-covered waterways in the Great Lakes of vessels engaged in commercial service and ferries.

(2) ELEMENTS.—Data collected, archived, and disseminated under paragraph (1) shall
include the following:

(A) Voyages by vessels engaged in commercial service and ferries to transit ice-covered waterways in the Great Lakes that are delayed or cancelled because of the nonavailability of a suitable icebreaking vessel.

(B) Voyages attempted by vessels engaged in commercial service and ferries to transit ice covered waterways in the Great Lakes that do not reach their intended destination because of the nonavailability of a suitable icebreaking vessel.

(C) The period of time that each vessel engaged in commercial service or ferry was delayed in getting underway or during a transit of ice-covered waterways in the Great Lakes due to the nonavailability of a suitable icebreaking vessel.

(D) The period of time elapsed between each request for icebreaking assistance by a vessel engaged in commercial service or ferry and the arrival of a suitable icebreaking vessel and whether such icebreaking vessel was a Coast Guard or commercial asset.

(E) The percentage of hours that Great Lakes ice-covered waterways were open to
navigation, as defined by this section, while vessels engaged in commercial service and
ferries at tempted to transit such waterways for each ice season after the date of enactment of this section.

(F) Relevant communications of each vessel engaged in commercial service or ferry with the Coast Guard or commercial icebreaking service providers with respect to
subparagraphs(A) through (D).

(G) A description of any mitigating circumstance, such as Coast Guard Great Lakes
icebreaker diversions to higher priority missions, that may have contributed to the amount of time described in subparagraphs (C) and (D) or the percentage of time described in subparagraph (E).

(3) VOLUNTARY REPORTING.—Any reporting by operators of commercial vessels
engaged in commercial service or ferries under this Act shall be voluntary.

(4) PUBLIC AVAILABILITY.—The Commandant shall make the data collected, archived
and disseminated under this subsection available to the public on a publicly accessible
internet website of the Coast Guard.

(5) CONSULTATION WITH INDUSTRY.—With respect to the Great Lakes icebreaking operations of the Coast Guard and the development of the data collected, archived, and disseminated under this subsection, the Commandant shall consult operators of vessel engaged in commercial service and ferries.

(6) DEFINITIONS.—In this subsection:

(A) VESSEL.—The term ‘‘vessel’’ has the meaning given such term in section 3 of title 1, United States Code.

(B) COMMERCIAL SERVICE.—The term ‘‘commercial service’’ has the meaning given
such term in section 2101(4) of title 46, United States Code.

(C) GREAT LAKES.—The term ‘‘Great Lakes’’—

(i) has the meaning given such term in section 118 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1268); and

(ii) includes harbors adjacent to such waters.

(D) ICE-COVERED WATERWAY.—The term ‘ice-covered waterway’’ means any portion of the Great Lakes, as defined by subparagraph (C), in which vessels engaged in commercial service or ferries operate that is 70 percent or greater covered by ice, but does not include any waters adjacent to piers or docks for which commercial icebreaking services are available and adequate for the ice conditions.

(E) OPEN TO NAVIGATION.—The term ‘‘open to navigation’’ means navigable to the extent necessary to meet the reasonable demands of shipping, minimize delays to passenger ferries, extricate vessels and persons from danger, prevent damage due to flooding, and conduct other Coast Guard missions as required.

(F) REASONABLE DEMANDS OF SHIPPING.—The term ‘‘reasonable demands of shipping’’ means the safe movement of vessels engaged in commercial service and ferries transiting ice-covered waterways in the Great Lakes to their intended destination,
regardless of type of cargo.

(d) GREAT LAKES ICEBREAKER ACQUISITION.—Of the amounts authorized to be
appropriated under section 4902(2)(A)(ii) of title 14, United States Code—

(1) for fiscal year 2022, $350,000,000 shall be made available to the Commandant for the acquisition of a Great Lakes icebreaker at least as capable as Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw (WLBB–30); and

(2) for fiscal year 2023, $20,000,000 shall be made available to the Commandant for the design and selection of icebreaking cutters for operation in the Great Lakes, the Northeastern United States, and the Arctic, as appropriate, that are at least as capable as the Coast Guard 140-foot icebreaking tugs.

(e) PROHIBITION ON CONTRACT OR USE OF FUNDS FOR DEVELOPMENT OF COMMON HULL DESIGN.—Section 8105 of the William M. (Mac) Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 (Public Law 116–283) is amended by striking subsection (b) and inserting the following:

‘‘(b) REPORT.—Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this subsection, the Commandant shall submit to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of Representative a report on the operational benefits and limitations of a common hull design for icebreaking cutters for operation in the Great Lakes, the Northeastern United States, and the Arctic, as appropriate, that are at least as capable as the Coast Guard 140-foot icebreaking tugs.’’.

H.Rept. 117-118 states:

Report on Need for Additional Ice Breakers in the Great Lakes Region

The committee directs the Secretary of Defense to submit a report to the congressional defense committees by March 1, 2022 on whether additional ice breaking vessels are  necessary in the Great Lakes region. The report must include an analysis on the necessity for ice breaking vessels in the St. Clair River. (Page 223)


Summary
The Coast Guard Polar Security Cutter (PSC) program is a program to acquire three new PSCs (i.e., heavy polar icebreakers), to be followed years from now by the acquisition of up to three new Arctic Security Cutters (ASCs) (i.e., medium polar icebreakers). The PSC program has received a total of $1,754.6 million (i.e., about $1.8 billion) in procurement funding through FY2021, including $300 million that was provided through the Navy’s shipbuilding account in FY2017 and FY2018. With the funding the program has received through FY2021, the first two PSCs are now fully funded.

The Coast Guard’s proposed FY2022 budget requests $170.0 million in procurement funding for the PSC program, which would be used for, among other things, procuring long leadtime materials (LLTM) for the third PSC.

The Navy and Coast Guard in 2020 estimated the total procurement costs of the PSCs in then year dollars as $1,038 million (i.e., about $1.0 billion) for the first ship, $794 million for the second ship, and $841 million for the third ship, for a combined estimated cost of $2,673 million (i.e., about $2.7 billion). Within those figures, the shipbuilder’s portion of the total procurement cost is $746 million for the first ship, $544 million for the second ship, and $535 million for the third ship, for a combined estimated shipbuilder’s cost of $1,825 million (i.e., about $1.8 billion).

On April 23, 2019, the Coast Guard-Navy Integrated Program Office for the PSC program awarded a $745.9 million fixed-price, incentive-firm contract for the detail design and construction (DD&C) of the first PSC to VT Halter Marine of Pascagoula, MS, a shipyard owned by Singapore Technologies (ST) Engineering. VT Halter was the leader of one of three industry teams that competed for the DD&C contract. The first PSC is scheduled to begin construction in 2021 and be delivered in 2024, though the DD&C contract includes financial incentives for earlier delivery.

The DD&C contract includes options for building the second and third PSCs. If these options are exercised, the total value of the contract would increase to $1,942.8 million (i.e., about $1.9 billion). The figures of $745.9 million and $1,942.8 million cover only the shipbuilder’s costs; they do not include the cost of government-furnished equipment (GFE), which is equipment for the ships that the government purchases and then provides to the shipbuilder for incorporation into the ship, post-delivery costs, costs for Navy-specific equipment, or government program-management costs.

The operational U.S. polar icebreaking fleet currently consists of one heavy polar icebreaker, Polar Star, and one medium polar icebreaker, Healy. In addition to Polar Star, the Coast Guard has a second heavy polar icebreaker, Polar Sea. Polar Sea, however, suffered an engine casualty in June 2010 and has been nonoperational since then. Polar Star and Polar Sea entered service in 1976 and 1978, respectively, and are now well beyond their originally intended 30-year service lives. The Coast Guard plans to extend the service life of Polar Star until the delivery of at least the second PSC. The Coast Guard is using Polar Sea as a source of spare parts for keeping Polar Star operational