The Coast Guard leadership has been hitting the Coast Guard’s National Security role pretty hard since the change of administration and the “skinny budget” scare.
Here is the Commandant’s latest pitch to “a roundtable of the Defense Writers Group, a nonprofit association of defense reporters.”
Like other service chiefs he is messaging that a continuing resolution would be a disaster.
“The good news is we are modernizing the fleet, but it’s that annual operating and maintenance account that you have to get very creative,” Zukunft said. “Where we’re seeing the most pain is we defer a lot of our shore maintenance; that backlog continues to grow.”Zukunft said his greatest concern right now is to have budget certainty and not temporary funding measures; the current continuing resolution that funds the government runs through April 28.“Maybe we’ll see a short extension of that, but if we don’t have an appropriation in 2017, I will have to shut down operations,” he said, adding that will affect readiness. “This is not the time to sideline any military service, including the Coast Guard, but that’s what a [continuing resolution] would do.”
To say we are in good shape in terms of modernization is at least optimistic, but perhaps the Commandant has some favorable indications from Congress. They do like things that add jobs. Still even if we start getting icebreakers the OPC is long overdue and I suspect that we may see the WMECs start failing at an ever increasing rate since we don’t expect full replacement of the fleet until about 2034. Building two a year is going to take too long.