Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2024

The United States Coast Guard is one of the six branches of our armed services, the Service responsible for enforcing the Nation’s laws on waters under U.S. jurisdiction and on the high seas.  The Coast Guard’s many missions include operating as a specialized service of the Navy in times of war or when directed by the President, search and rescue, illegal drug interdiction and stopping human trafficking, oil spill prevention and response, maritime safety and security, maintaining aids to navigation, icebreaking activities and support of increasing levels of maritime transportation in the Arctic, and enforcement of U.S. fisheries and marine pollution laws.

On March 13, 2024, leaders of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee introduced H.R. 7659, the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2024, bipartisan legislation to strengthen, support, and authorize funding for the Coast Guard to carry out the various missions noted above.  The Committee approved the bill during a March 20, 2024 markup.

Introduced by Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO), Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Ranking Member Rick Larsen (D-WA), Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee Chairman Daniel Webster (R-FL), and Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee Ranking Member Salud Carbajal (D-CA), H.R. 7659 enables the Service to continue to recapitalize its historically underfunded cutter fleet, shoreside facilities, and IT capabilities.  H.R. 7659 highlights include:

  • authorizes appropriations for fiscal years 2025 and 2026
  • authorizes additional air and sea assets for the Coast Guard, including two Offshore Patrol Cutters (OPCs), a Polar Security Cutter (PSC), missionized HC-130J aircraft, and MH-60T Jayhawk aircraftprovides additional support to enable the Coast Guard to address recruiting and manpower challenges
  • authorizes investments in the Service’s crumbling shoreside infrastructure, including its sole enlisted accession source, Training Center Cape May New Jersey, and sole Officer accession source at its Academy in New London, Connecticut
  • makes changes to maritime safety laws and amends requirements for merchant mariner credentials to facilitate an increase in the pool of qualified U.S. merchant mariners

In addition, H.R. 7659 includes the bipartisan Coast Guard Protection and Accountability Act of 2024, legislation that was introduced on March 3, 2024, to strengthen protections for members of the Coast Guard from sexual assault and harassment and to ensure accountability and transparency in the Coast Guard following the Committee’s investigation of the Service’s Operation Fouled Anchor (OFA).  Subcommittee Chairman Webster and Subcommittee Ranking Member Carbajal led the initial introduction of the Coast Guard Protection and Accountability Act.

H.R. 7659 builds upon and updates the bipartisan Coast Guard authorization bill the Committee and Subcommittee leaders introduced in 2023.  That bill was approved by the Committee on April 26, 2023.

More Information about legislation to authorize the United States Coast Guard: