Coast Guard Commandants Message on the FY 2012 Budget

Admiral Bob Papp, Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard

Admiral Bob Papp, Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard

Last night, the Coast Guard released a message from the Commandant, Admiral Bob Papp, to the members of the service informing them of what the President had requested for the Coast Guard in the FY 2012 budget. Here are his comments.

Yesterday the President delivered the Coast Guard Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 budget to Congress. There is no doubt that the current fiscal environment compelled us to make difficult decisions, however, even in these challenging times, it is clear that we continue to receive strong support form the President and our department. The FY 2012 budget outlines the Secretary’s and my priorities for the service. It requests 8.7 Billion dollars in discretionary funding, including 1.42 Billion dollars to recapitalize our fleet of cutters, aircraft, boats, and C4ISR equipment. This is the most the President has ever requested for our recapitalization programs. The FY 2012 budget was built with my guiding principles in mind and supports my Commandants Direction announced last week at the State of the Coast Guard address.

Sustain Mission Excellence: The FY 2012 budget fully supports pay and benefits increases for military service members and funds operation and maintenance of new assets and systems delivered to the fleet, including the National Security Cutter (NSC), Fast Response Cutter, Maritime patrol aircraft, Response Boat Medium , and the Rescue 21 System.

I told you last week that one of our toughest challenges is sustaining mission excellence. As we work to improve efficiency through evaluation of doctrine and policies, we must also examine the manner in which we conduct our business. The FY 2o12 budget includes an administrative savings initiative of 92 million dollars. This initiative is consistent with overarching DHS efforts to maximize organizational efficiency, and is unequivocally the right thing to do in this fiscal environment. This will require all levels and segments of our organization to look closely at how we spend our appropriated funding, and to make the best use of the resources we are provided to most efficiently execute our missions.

AS part of our sustaining operations, we must continue the transition to our fleet of new highly-capable assets, including the NSC. As proposed in the FY 2011 Presidents budget and provided for in current legislation, we will proceed with the decommissioning of CGC Hamilton, CGC Chase, and CGC Acushnet this year. We continue to make great progress with the our (sic) NSC acquisition, including the planned delivery of CGC Stratton, the third NSC, in FY 2011, and the recent award of the production contract for the fourth NSC and long lead time materials contract for the fifth NSC. The FY 2012 budget continues this NSC fleet transition by requesting funding to complete the fifth NSC and proposing the decommissioning of one High Endurance Cutter in FY 2012.

Additionally, as proposed in the FY 2011 Presidents budget we will decommission MSST Anchorage in Fiscal Year 2011, enabling partial reinvestment of saving to address critical capacity and readiness gaps in our law enforcement detachment teams (LEDETs). Furthermore, to best sustain polar icebreaking capacity, the Coast Guard plans to decommission CGC Polar Sea in FY 2011, and focus our resources toward returning CGC Polar Star to full operational capability in 2013. With CGC Polar Star in the midst of a major overhaul that will extend its service life seven to ten years, it will provide the nation the more enduring capability until long-term requirements decisions are made and capabilities are acquired. In FY 2012, DHS will lead an effort to study icebreaking requirements to inform future icebreaking needs for the nation.

Recapitalize and Build Capacity:
Recapitalization of our fleet is necessary so that we may effective carry out our missions in the maritime environment. The budget requests 642 Million dollars for vessel replacement, including six Fast Response Cutters and completion of the fifth NSC and 290 million dollars for aircraft replacement and sustainment, including two HC-144s, and one HH-60 aircraft to replace CG-6017 lost in a tragic accident in 2010. Additionally, the budget includes 187 million dollars to recapitalize aged, failing shore infrastructure across the Coast Guard ad provide infrastructure enhancements to support operation of new assets delivered via our major system acquisitions (e.g., Fast Response Cutters, Maritime Patrol Aircraft, etc.)

Enhance Crisis Response and Management:
Our response to Deepwater Horizon was exceptional, but we must continue to enhance our crisis response and management capability. The FY 2012 budget requests 22 million dollars and 192 personnel to improve marine safety and environmental response mission effectiveness. These resources will better enable the Coast Guard to prevent incidents in the maritime domain and enhance our response when disasters do occur.

Prepare for the Future: When I speak with you, I often reference adherence to one of my guiding principles – Respect Our Shipmates as critical to the performance of our missions. The health and welfare of families is the heart of operation readiness. The FY 2012 budget includes 29 million dollars to address critical military housing shortfalls and improve access to affordable, quality childcare.

I urge you to review the FY 2012 budget, Coast Guard Posture Statement and Budget-in-brief at: Thank you for your dedication and serviced in our Coast Guard. Semper Paratus.

Adm Bob Papp, Commandant

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