SNA: The Coast Guard’s cry for help

SNA: The Coast Guard’s cry for help

“I really need some help here,” Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Robert Papp told the Surface Navy Association on Thursday.

Papp beseeched the naval officers, industry representatives and members in the audience to help him “educate” Congress and the Obama administration about the importance of just fulfilling the Coast Guard’s existing programs for large new cutters. The existing fleet faces “mass obsolescence,” he said, and the ubiquitous coming budget crunch would hit the lifesaving service especially hard.

The overall goal is to finish the Coast Guard’s planned class of eight national security cutters and then build 25 new, smaller Offshore Patrol Cutters, which will take the place of the fleet’s 210– and 270-foot medium-endurance cutters. Papp said the Coast Guard wants to issue a request for information about the OPC in the third or fourth quarter of this year and make its first contract award in fiscal 2016.

That’s if he can keep the current strategy in place.

“A lot of people make a lot of noise about how we ought to terminate NSC and get about building OPCs now,” he said. The service’s onetime sales pitch that it could build two OPCs for the cost of one NSC “has come back to haunt us,” he said.

But it’s critical that the Coast Guard stick to its current plan for eight NSCs and 25 OPCs, because its existing fleet of 40 year-old ships is falling to pieces and the importance of their missions – including patrols in the Arctic and the Eastern Pacific – is only growing.

Its previous dreams of getting even more ships – 15 NSCs and 30 to 35 OPCs – are dead, Papp said. “We’re not gonna get there.”

And yet he still described a struggle inside the government to lock in the eight-and-25 plan. “There are people who don’t like the answers every time they come back,” he said.

Papp said there’s a precedent for the U.S. adding new Coast Guard cutters in times of budget constriction – the government began the six-ship Treasury-class cutters during the Great Depression, he said, because officials then recognized the long-term need for the Coast Guard’s mission. Those ships served until the 1980s.

Likewise, Papp said he hopes the Navy, SNA and anyone else will help get the word out about his perspective that today’s large cutter program is really about the future.

“I’m looking out ahead, and saying ‘What is the cutter we’re going to need for the next 40 years?’” he said. “Well, we’ve gotta get these eight for now.”

Join the Conversation

I do feel for the USCG having been working for them off and on as a contractor. Too many there impotence is nil compared to the Blue Water navy. However for anti-drug and anti-terror mission they have there place. they often make due with old weapons and do a very good job of it. I know the Reserve may still use M-16A1s still. And Like the Navy use M-60 GPMGs which are good still.

I don’t think anything will change this bad news most funds no matter which party is in power will goto the Navy and USAF.

I can’t think of another agency that can match the CG’s ability to pull a rabbit out of the hat during surge operations like Katrina and Deepwater Horizon, but the CG also has a habit of robbing Peter to pay Paul and has been extremely shortsighted in planning for the future. If the fleet of new cutters arrived tomorrow, the CG still does not have the infrastructure (i.e. command and control systems and networks) to support them.

Maybe a contingency of Senators and Congressional members needs to have a mandatory weekend about the Ice breaker Healy as it traverses the the frozen sea to get a Russian tanker to an Alaskan city. The USCG has survived by doing miracles with what it has been allocated. It was always policy to adjust to the ever dwindling budget allotments. The bitter truth is that the USCG needs to be the size and budget of the USMC. You can laugh all you want, when this Country needs the USCG and it is not available, only then will it consider the value of the mission capability lost to the ignorance of the law by our legislators. Maybe we should give a USCG test to the whole Congress and publicize the results? I still remember in the 1980’s we had line throwing guns from WWI. In 1986 we had A1’s made from pieces of Vietnam era depleted M16’s still in their aluminum mummy bags, while the US Marines had A2’s with the upgrade sights, etc. on the firing line in Quantico.

Maybe it’s time that the US Coast Guard moves to it’s own department or move it within the DoD by strengthening the The Posse Comitatus Act to make sure the US Navy knows the clear lines of distinction in the The Posse Comitatus Act and not to cross it.

Just a suggegstion… read:

Let them cry louder.

I think the only way the Coast Guard gets new vessels is for them to merge with DoD.Many years have gone by with out dated vessels to preform there duty. Most time they require repairs. Bottom line the Coast Guard does a fantastic job with substandard vessels, how about Congress support our mission. RET.

I don’t see a lot of difference in today’s Coast Guard and the Coast Guard I enlisted in 1956. We ran Lighthouse Tender Bouy Tenders until the 60’s, Navy castoff DE’s and pretty much anything that would stay afloat. The Cg had very little money and congressional backing then and they have very little now. If the Coast Guard was transferred to DoD they would still be #5 on a five man team and the Air Force, Navy, Army and Marine Corps would get the spoils. Kind of like being a new Ensign in the Wardroom when fried Chicken is served, Xo gets breast, Lt.‘s gets legs and so on down the line and the Ensign gets the south bound end of the North bound chicken.

Mr. Rob– Sorry but your sarcasm is not needed here and won’t help either to preserve “you and your famili(es)” future liberty / freedom you’re enjoying now. The CG Commandant as head of the CG, was presenting the real time needs and discrepancy in the government system and he’s extending so we all be updated and assist in resolving them.…Semper Paratus!

Do more with less is no longer an option.

As a Marine, our watchwords have always been “Improvise, Adapt, Overcome.” I learned long ago that when it came to “Improvise” it was best to ask a Coasty (or a Sea Bee) for the directions. I’ve toured some of the current vessels. Congress should be ashamed! The Panamanian and Nigerian tramps are in better shape! The Coast Guard is on the front line daily, whether people want to admit it or not. — Gunny J

As long as I can remember (since 1957) the Coast Guard had to beg, borrow and steal to keep things running. When new cutters came on line they were welcome but we needed more. It is about time with all that’s going on in the world that the Coast Guard be provided with the best equipment available. The US and the rest of the world gets their money’s worth from the men and women of the Coast Guard…think how much better they could be served with modern equipment.

Hi, they can’t move to the DOD due to enforcing domestic laws. The President can issue an Executive Order to place them under the DOD during times of war. Right now the CG has ships and folks over in the Middle East.

Perhaps the only way the Coast Guard will get new and improved equipment is when the old crap sinks and takes its crew down with it. The 378’s are all older than the people serving on them. The 210’s are just as bad. I saw a 270 ( the Escanaba, WMEC 309 ) with several holes in the hull from rust and old age. The 110’s are worn out and need to go away. We as a nation send our children out on these ships and expect, no, demand they do an outstanding job with equipment held together with little more than spit and bubble gum. Shame on us for allowing this to reach this point!

The cutter Storis was commissioned 2 months before I was born in 1942. I started my working life in 1962. The Storis had already been working for 20 years. I retired in 2003 after 41 years. The Storis was still working after 61 years. The Sto’ retired in 2007, 4 years after I did, after more than 64 years of service! The exception? Maybe, but I believe it shows how the Coast Guard “makes do”. I served aboard the Storis in 1969 and it needed upgrades then. By the way, she’s still afloat in the reserve fleet and there is an effort being made to move her to Juneau as a museum for Alaskan Maritime History. Go to http://​www​.storismuseum​.org to find out more.

I believe this country needs to close up the 800 or so military bases around the world that have been up and running since the Cold War costing the tax payers trillions of dollars alone $. Bring home our troops, that includes South East Asia fronts. STOP handing out the billions of dollars to countries, many of whom dont even like the United States. For anyone to argue there isnt any money in the bank, I’ll beg to differ. We ship pallet loads of cash to many countries as if it were a Wellfare program. Right there is the answer to many of the problems. Bringing our defence home, will enable us to save money, and build a stronger more capable military, not to mention a stronger border. The Commandant is doing a wonderful job with what “they” give him.

These worn out cutters that are falling apart are heading out of harbors in the worst conditions to chase storms and hurricanes in order to save mariners in need. The pathetic part is pretty soon the Coast Guard will not be able to “make it happen”, already cutters are missing patrols due to engine casualties and leaving the operation areas empty. These long range, high endurance cutters are needed to patrol U.S. waters to keep our country and its citizens safe.

The Coast Guard is always the last to get anything. We are always having to do more with less. Meanwhile I live here in Norfolk Virginia and have many Navy friends who tell me they will throw away brand new tools and supplies only to buy new ones so there budget doesn’t get cut. So then the CG has to beg for a few new boats! My husbands boat is over 50 years old! Washington should spend a few days out on the water with the CG because they obviously are clueless as to how important our missions are.

The mindset of the Coast Guard is to run a ship into the ground (or break it in) after it comes out from FRAM or MLR (210s). Before I retired, I served on the Resolute. It was out of MMA status only a few months when I stepped onboard. I spent 14 months on the ship with 10 months underway. Yes, the OPTEMPO was not what I had experienced when I was on the Diligence but looking at the Polar Star/Sea are a good example of what happens when you beat to death your only platforms for those kinds of operations without taking them out of service to fix’em. Bottom line is this, till the current Comdt grows some balls and stands up before congress and tell them point blank that the CG is cutting it’s patrols in half. Not deploying overseas and only conducting short patrols 12 miles off shore because we don’t have the money or platforms to keep up this pace. It might cost him his job but he’s going to retire anyway. Not till you start closing units in congress’s back yards do they get the “picture”. And if that’s how the CG is to get it’s money, then start now though your only 10 years late.

unfortunately, soon the USCG will be forced to say this painful group of words,

” We will be forced to do LESS with LESS “.

Old unofficial motto, ” do More with Less”.

Pretty much everything I have to say here has been said. Congress’s attitude towards the CG has always been to short change the service at every turn, then blame the service when things go badly. UNSAT.

beware of asking the CG to do more with less… you have been asking them to do it this way since the end of WWII and eventually they will respond with “Can’t do more with nothing, sorry”

No more special SAR cases on Congressmen’s luxury yachts either. ( I hated those, and always suggested a GUNEX to the CO once Safety of Life at Sea issues had been dealt with.)

What’s truly sad is that when it comes to true Homeland Security, it boils down to the USCG, CBP, and some components of the National Guard. As we draw down overseas, the responsibility and pressure will grow to defend our shores. It is a shame that NONE of our leadership (Congress or President) recognize that you cannot wait until AFTER something happens to fix it.

The saying when I first became a coxswain was “you have to go out but you don’t have to come back” Now they don’t even have to go out. The Coast Guard goes to sea when the Navy comes in, due to dangerous conditions. I was stationed on two cutters (Durable and Hamilton) that were laid up briefly due to problems, but did eventually get underway with discrepencies. That is the nature of the beast. I was on a LEDET and observed that Navy ships will not leave with discrepencies. They don’t have to. We were their reason for the scheduled patrol. The Coast Guard always scrimped on $ and always had to prioritize to get by​.It shouldn’t be that way.

Give the Coasties the Navy’s LCS! Problem solved (at least the Navy’s).

I would not mind the lcs design being the opc design…

the uscg needs to get up to date. we need small, fast, vessels NOT large vessels. the usn is going in that direction and so is the other services. give them the opc’s and deep six the larger vessels and plans for larger vessels. the uscg enemies are from within. they are so stingy with the promotions of the enlisted, extreme harshness and lack of respect that the enlisted only stay for one enlistment and leave. e-4’s are coxswains running the boats used for partol/resque, one problem and he/she is a e-1 or e-2 again. the senior petty officers are in good shape from stabbing each other in the back, jumping to conclusions, running each other down and just lay in wait to pop some poor guy that can’t even live on the wages. they need to upgrade ranks to equal job responsibility. now they have the responsibility and no authority.

Our Motto is SEMPER PARATUS: “ALWAYS READY” get the job done with what you have, Do more with less, but it seem if they just ” SIMPLY FORGOT US!” Its Time For an UPGRADE!

If we can’t get the support of our ELECTED officials to grant us the resources to do OUR jobs SAFELY and effectively, than maybe it is time to let all the drug cartels poison our youth with their get rich quick narcotic trafficking , and let all illegal migrants enter our port cities and be one with you and your families ‚and let the entire shipping community ones who bring you goods,warmth, and food for your tables peril at sea. I have had enough of doing MORE with LESS and quite frankly so should you as taxpayers having to constantly put band aids oon things that have exceeded their lifespans. Imagine what your perception would be of walking into a hospital with a decent size cut looking to get “just a couple of stitches” and seeing the condition of the docs office of being substandard, antiquated, filthy and all his/her instruments in complete disrepair, would you still let the doc” stitch you up “

All so very true, great insight!

did you notice that they never tell how much is spent maintaining the relics! several new vessels could be purchased for what they spend fixing the big, useless, officer heavy, antiquated, slow vessels. someone suggested that the uscg gets some balls and ask for good modern equipment for our “OUTSTANDING PEOPLE OUT IN FRONT DAILY!!!!

It is a DAMN shame to see the shape the goverment and DoD has left us in. The boarder patrol has better equipment then we do. The coast guard could litterally stop 80% of the drugs and illegals that reach this country by water if we had a updated command and control system, a updated fleet, more personnell, less 16 million dollar deployments to Kuwait and bahrain to sit on our A$$ for six months. The coast guard needs new Cutters and a new way of thinking! this unit has been to GITMO Bahrian Kuwait and not once did we catch a terrorist or stop a drug bust over there. its not our mission. we defend the homeland. we need to bring the coast guard out of the 80’s and into the 21st century. New ships, New uniforms, New weapons, New C&C, Strong enforcement of our legal authority, More patrols around mexico and up the rio grande, more patrols around the carribean islands, more patrols in the artic, less middle east deployments, less wanna be special forces, more use of our PSU n MSST as port patrols n 24/7 disaster response teams. The USCG is always on duty. So Help us Help them. We serve so they may live.

An old saying even in the 70’s when I began my career was ‘The US Coast Guard: TOO FEW, tryin to do TOO MUCH, with TOO LITTLE, for TOO LONG’. Pithy, but it doesn’t make it right, but to some of the leadership over the years, it seems a perversely proud slogan to unitentionally perpetuate, not a tragic analysis that begs correction.


NOTE: Comments are limited to 2500 characters and spaces.

By commenting on this topic you agree to the terms and conditions of our User Agreement

AdChoices | Like us on , follow us on and join us on Google+
© 2015 Military Advantage
A Monster Company.