Coast Guard Gets Expanded Budget for Fiscal 2009

By Navy Seaman William Selby

WASHINGTON – The Coast Guard received a large budget increase for fiscal 2009 as part of the Consolidated Security Disaster Assistance and Continuing Appropriations Act, a senior Coast Guard officer said last week.

“In our operating expenses account and appropriation, we were appropriated $43.6 million to enhance maritime safety, security, and stewardship,” Coast Guard Rear Adm. Keith Taylor, assistant commandant for resources and chief financial officer, said to online journalists during a teleconference Oct. 24.

Taylor said the money will allow the Coast Guard to hire about 500 new maritime inspectors, maritime investigators, and boat crew and boarding team members. The funding also will enhance the Coast Guard’s ability to manage rule-making projects and provide for training and support, he said.

“There has been a dramatic increase in the amount of maritime trade over the last 10 years, as well as the use of our maritime transportation system,” Taylor said. “This growth in this area will allow us to add capacity, to meet the requirements that we have, and begin to address the shortfalls that we have in this area.”

In addition to maritime support, he said, the budget addresses Coast Guard requirements in other areas including inspection, command and control, and intelligence.

To fulfill inspection requirements for the U.S. towing-vessel fleet, Taylor said, the Coast Guard has increased its capacity to provide armed-boat escorts and to carry out security boardings. The service also is enhancing its ability to test contingency plans that address environmental hazards in the port and coastal regions, he added.

“It’s allowing us to … continue to beat all the mission demands we have across all threats and all hazards,” the admiral said. “It’s allowing us to keep critical acquisition projects on track, and being able to continue to deliver new assets to the men and women of the Coast Guard, so they can meet mission demands.”

The Coast Guard received $38.1 million to help the Coast Guard establish comprehensive intelligence and awareness regimens. The funds will provide 100 more positions and enhance cryptologic service groups, which provide intelligence and maritime domain awareness efforts, he said.

The Coast Guard also plans to add more than 200 “watch standers” at command centers nationwide, Taylor said, to improve situational awareness and monitor the new rescue circuits.

Taylor said the increased budget will allow the Coast Guard to keep critical projects on schedule and meet mission demands.

Navy Seaman William Selby serves in the New Media directorate of the Defense Media Activity.

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