Achieving Mission Balance: Positioning the Coast Guard for the Future

2167 Rayburn House Office Building and online via videoconferencing

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0 Wednesday, October 20, 2021 @ 10:00 |
This is a hearing of the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation.

Official Transcript


Vice Admiral Scott A. Buschman, Deputy Commandant for Operations, U.S. Coast Guard | Witness Testimony

Opening remarks, as prepared, of Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee Ranking Member Bob Gibbs (R-OH) Opening Statement:

Thank you, Chair Carbajal, and thank you to our witness for being here today.

The Coast Guard has three strategic priorities – maritime safety, security, and stewardship.  It also has duties and missions laid out in at least two sections of law and performance goals under a separate statute.  I look forward to hearing from Vice Admiral Buschman how all these missions and duties are balanced against one another when making decisions about allocating time and resources.   

The Committee has long been concerned that the functions related to the maritime transportation system carried out by the Coast Guard should not be starved to feed the Service’s maritime security functions.  The Service has recently increased national defense activities.

This heightens those concerns, especially at a time when current port congestion and supply chain disruptions show how important the Coast Guard’s maritime transportation system role is to the U.S. economy.

An example of the Coast Guard’s important maritime transportation work is the credentialling of mariners.  Subcommittee Members have recently been contacted by U.S. maritime unions concerned about credentialling delays.   I expect the Vice Admiral will have answers about those delays, and let us know what is needed to get that program back on track.

I also look forward to hearing how the Coast Guard intends to complete its very long delayed manpower planning analyses and subsequent manpower requirements.  The structural portions of the Coast Guard’s modernization have been in place since 2010, more than a decade, but only 13% of the manpower planning analyses that were to build out the modernization workforce have been completed.  Only 2% of the manpower requirements that derive from those analyses have been implemented.   How much longer before the Coast Guard’s workforce catches up with its structure?

Finally, in 2016, GAO made three recommendations on tracking mission performance, which the Department of Homeland Security concurred with.  To date, none have been implemented.

According to GAO, the Coast Guard needs to

    • better document risk assessments that support its annual asset allocation decisions;
    • develop a process to prioritize manpower requirements analyses to units that are most critical for achieving mission needs; and
    • better incorporate field unit input. 

I’d like to know when these recommendations will be implemented.

Thank you, Chair Carbajal for holding this hearing today.  I yield back.

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