Coast Guard Modernization and Recapitalization: Status and Future
2167 Rayburn House Office Building
This is a hearing of the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation.
Summary of Subject Matter
Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation
(Remarks as Prepared)
Today the Subcommittee will hear testimony on the Coast Guard modernization program, which was started over ten years ago and has persisted through the tenure of three Commandants. Today, we will hear from the 26th Coast Guard Commandant on the status of the decade-old modernization program and his vision for the future of this program and the Service. Modernization is especially important as the Coast Guard faces some unique challenges – increasing cyber threats, growing maritime transportation in the Arctic with limited infrastructure – while also working to complement its assets with emerging technologies to conduct its eleven statutory missions.
In tandem with the modernization program, the Service is undertaking a multi-decade recapitalization of aging assets – the replacement of vessels, aircraft, and shore infrastructure. The Coast Guard is nearing completion of production on the National Security Cutters and Fast Response Cutters, while ramping up efforts on the Offshore Patrol Cutters and starting construction on the first vessel in a new polar icebreaking fleet. Successfully acquiring new and relevant assets is essential to a modern and responsive Coast Guard.
As it modernizes its fleets of assets, the Coast Guard needs to determine its manpower needs. New assets may not have the personnel needs of old assets, while emerging technologies might also allow for more efficient placement and usage of Coast Guard personnel. How the Coast Guard brings all of these parts together is important to the success of the Service efficiently and effectively conducting its missions and supporting its Servicemembers.
As we near the end of another active hurricane season, we see the Coast Guard at the frontlines of the response efforts to our Nation’s emergencies. We are grateful to the Coast Guard Servicemembers who have contributed to the response and recovery efforts. These events remind us that the continued success of the Coast Guard is reliant on an effective and efficient modernization plan that is implemented by trained personnel using capable assets and technologies.
In Florida, we are familiar with the significant role of the Coast Guard in responding to national emergencies and disasters. I’d like to recognize Admiral Schultz’s many active duty tours in Florida, including most recently as the Director of Operations for U.S. Southern Command and the Commander of Coast Guard Sector Miami.
I thank Admiral Schultz for being here today and I look forward to hearing his thoughts on these issues.