The Coast Guard has published its FY2024 Unfunded Priority List. The ten page document includes 26 line items totaling $1.6B. Much of it is infrastructure improvement, but there are also items to expand capabilities.
Four Additional Fast Response Cutters:
The single largest item is four additional Webber class WPCs. I think this will be approved and that this includes funding of facilities for a new base in American Samoa.
$400M “Funds the acquisition of four FRCs to further the Indo-Pacific Strategy of the United States through expanded presence and engagement to promote a free an open Indo-Pacific. Additional FRCs will begin to transform the Coast Guard from an organization which currently provides episodic presence, to be persistent and visible, strengthening coordination with Allied and partner nations to bolster regional security.”
Historically FRCs have been funded at about $65M each, and even that included support costs in addition to construction costs. There has been inflation, but the list gives us some information about that effect in a separate line item.
$34M “Fast Response Cutter (FRC) Economic Price Adjustment (EPA). Funding aids in reducing unfunded EPA growth resultant from the unprecedented rise in material and labor indices associated with contractual costs for production of hulls 1145 -1164 and procurement of spares. This amount provides the $34 million necessary for the projected EPA liability in FY 2024.
That is $34M spread over 20 ships or an increase of less than $2M per ship, so there is probably at least $120M for support costs over and above construction costs.
Aviation Improvements (note the third item indicates C-27Js will be assigned to CGAS Clearwater, FL, presumably replacing the C-130Hs there now):
- $138.5M One Missionized HC-130J Aircraft. rovides funding to purchase one missionized HC-130J aircraft in the Block Upgrade 8.1 configuration, manufactured by Lockheed Martin, and currently missionized by L3 Technologies. This funding supports acquisition costs for one of the unfunded three missionized C-130Js required to achieve the Coast Guard’s current program of record of 22 airframes and initial sparing.
- $113M Four MH-60T Aircraft. Provides funding to outfit and assemble 4 MH-60T aircraft that would facilitate a future Air Station transition from MH-65s to MH-60s in FY 2026. These aircraft would be assembled at the Coast Guard’s Aviation Logistics Center in Elizabeth City, NC.
- $25M Sparing for Fixed-Wing Aircraft Transitions. Provides initial sparing to establish on-site inventory for HC-130J and HC-27J aircraft planned for delivery to Barbers Point, HI, ($10 million) and Clearwater, FL ($15 million). This funding includes spare parts for aircraft, sensor suites, depot maintenance material, and ground support equipment necessary for aircraft operations as well as LLTM required to accelerate the missionization of HC-27J aircraft. (Scalable)
Infrastructure improvements are requested for:
- Polar Security Cutter (PSC) Homeport Seattle (Phase 1-2), $130M
- FRC Homeport Astoria (Phase 2), $30M
- Waterways Commerce Cutter (WCC) Homeports – Sault Ste Marie, MI and Memphis, TN, $48M
- NSC and Ocean-Going Buoy Tender (WLB) Homeport – Honolulu, HI (Phase 2), $15M
- Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC) Homeport – NAVSTA Newport, RI (Phase 2), $100M
- Training Center Cape May -Multipurpose Recruit Training Facility, $130M
- Alaska Housing (Kodiak), $26M
- Sector Facilities – Sector Sault Ste Marie, MI, $35M
- Consolidated Base Facilities – Base Charleston, SC, $22.6
- Coast Guard Yard Upgrade: Ship Handling Facility – Baltimore, MD (Phase 1), $60M
- Sector Facilities – Sector Lower Mississippi River – Memphis, TN, $37M
- Station Waterfront – Station Rockland, ME, $40.7M
- Mission Support Facility (MSF) – Joint Base Andrews, MD (Phase 3), $20M
- Great Lakes Icebreaker – Long Lead Time Material (LLTM), $20M
- Special Purpose Craft (MLB)– Heavy Weather Recapitalization, $24M
- Mariner Credentialing Program, (Navita) Acquisition, $11M
- National Security Cutter (NSC) –Follow-On Acquisition Funding, $50M
- National Security Cutters Operational Support Initiatives, $9.7M
- Operations and Defense Industrial Base, $42M
- Recruiting & Retention, $9m
- Modernized Learning Management System, $3M
What does it all mean:
None of these items are in the current budget request, but Congress has historically added to the Coast Guard request. The Coast Guard has been shy about providing an unfunded priority request in the past. Several years there was no unfunded priority list. This is the first time I have seen mention of the Coast Guard’s list in industry news publications (here and here). The new CG administration is making public a good case for increased funding.
We shouldn’t expect everything on the list to be approved, but I think we will definitely see the additional C-130 and at least three additional FRCs. Some of the other items will probably be approved as well. Those items not funded in FY2024 will likely be included in the FY2025 budget.