Note, the hearing does not actually begin until time 20:30 on the video above.
The House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation conducted a hearing on “Coast Guard Modernization and Recapitalization: Status and Future” on September 26, 2018.
You can see the “Summary of Subject Matter” that was prepared for the Congressmen here.
This is the first hearing for both Representative Brian Mast (R-FL) as subcommittee chair and Admiral Karl L. Schultz as Commandant. What I saw looked promising.
The Commandant’s prepared remarks has some items of interest.
The Commandant announced that he would soon issue a Coast Guard “Strategic Plan 2018-2022”
He referenced the new icebreakers as “Polar Security Cutters.”
This past March, we released a request for proposal (RFP), setting the stage for award of a Detail Design and Construction (DD&C) contract in FY 2019 for the construction of up to three heavy Polar icebreakers. We are as close as we have ever been to recapitalizing our Polar icebreaking fleet; continued investment now is vital to solidify our standing as an Arctic nation and affirms the Coast Guard’s role in providing assured, year-round access to the Polar regions for decades to come.
This seems to be a part of an effort to broaden the appeal of the icebreaker program as discussed in a recent USNI post, “Coast Guard Renames Icebreaker Program ‘Polar Security Cutter.'”. Their “…hull designation will be WMSP. W is the standard prefix for Coast Guard vessels, and MSP stands for Maritime Security-Polar, Brian Olexy, a Coast Guard spokesman, told USNI News.”
Apparently we are working toward a fleet of 64 Webber class WPCs rather than the 58 in the Program of Record. The first two additional to replace six Island class WPBs currently assigned to Patrol Force South West Asia have already been funded.
“…Earlier this summer, we exercised the second option under the Phase II contract to begin production of six more FRCs. The FY 2018 appropriation also included funding for two additional FRCs, beyond our domestic program of record of 58 hulls (emphasis applied–Chuck), to initiate the vital replacement of our six patrol boats supporting long-term U.S. Central Command missions in southwest Asia.”
Q&A. Topics discussed during the question and answer period included:
Civil Engineering/Shore infrastructure. $1.6B backlog.
40:00 possibility of a 12th NSC
42:30 Where is the $34M taken out of the FY2018 budget will be coming from–reprogramming within the Department.
44:30 Closures of the Potomac
54:00 Diversity within the service.
1:14:40 Need for larger Reserve Force
1:18:00 Icebreaker program
1:20:00 Waterways commerce cutters
In addition response to the recent Hurricanes seemed to be very much on the minds of Representatives and was referred to repeatedly.