Coast Guard Major Acquisitions
2253 Rayburn House Office Building
Summary of Subject Matter
Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation
Hearing on “Coast Guard Major Acquisitions”
(Remarks as Prepared)
As this Subcommittee has continually highlighted, the Coast Guard currently operates tens, and in some cases, hundreds of thousands of hours short of its operational targets. This means assets are not there for the Service to secure our ports, protect our environment, and ensure the safety of our waterways. Last month, the Subcommittee held a hearing on Coast Guard missions and heard from the Service’s Vice Admiral in charge of operations who attributed much of the failure to meet mission performance goals to not having a sufficient number of modern assets.
The only way to reverse the decline in the Coast Guard’s mission performance is to make the necessary investments to acquire new and improved assets. Unfortunately, based on the FY 2016 budget request, as well as the FY 2016 through 2020 Capital Investment Plan (CIP), it appears the President refuses to make those investments.
The President’s budget cuts funding needed to acquire critically needed replacement assets by 17 percent. The budget also fails to guarantee the funding needed to begin detailed design for the Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC). Failure to move into detailed design on the OPC by the end of FY 2016, could result in significantly higher costs and substantial acquisition delays. Moving this, and other, acquisitions further to the right will only further degrade Coast Guard mission performance.
Unfortunately, the situation does not improve any time in the near future. According to the Coast Guard’s Capital Investment Plan, over the next five fiscal years, annual funding for acquisitions never exceeds $1.2 billion. That is approximately $1 billion less than the GAO and the former Commandant of the Coast Guard have testified is needed on an annual basis to keep the current acquisition program on schedule and on budget. The Capital Investment Plan is nothing more than a roadmap to additional acquisition delays, increased costs for taxpayers, and ongoing mission performance failures.
I have said for some time now, if the President is going to send us budgets that fail to pay for the assets needed to meet Coast Guard mission requirements, then it is time for him to review those mission requirements. That is why the Howard Coble Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2014 required the Coast Guard to submit a revised Mission Need Statement (MNS) to the Committee. The MNS is the underlying justification for the Service’s acquisition program. It lays out mission requirements and helps identify gaps in capabilities.
The Coast Guard has assured the Subcommittee that we will receive the revised MNS in July. At that time, I intend to hold a hearing to review it and determine whether the Administration intends to continue the charade of expanding Coast Guard mission requirements without providing the Coast Guard the assets it needs to meet those requirements.
In the interim, I look forward to today’s update on the status of the Coast Guard’s current acquisition program and the challenges the Service is facing in fielding these new assets. I thank the witnesses for appearing today and look forward to their testimony.
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