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Opinion: The Forgotten Fleet of The U.S. Coast Guard

The Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf departs from Dutch Harbor May 9, 2011, to continue its first Alaska patrol in the Bering Sea. US Coast Guard Photo

The Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf departs from Dutch Harbor May 9, 2011, to continue its first Alaska patrol in the Bering Sea. US Coast Guard Photo

Over the past few years there has been much debate in Congress and in the Department of Defense over the requirement to maintain a Navy fleet that will be able to respond to the increasing demands of the combatant commanders.
In a recent op-ed piece in The Wall Street Journal the Secretary of Navy Ray Mabus said, “Size matters. It’s as true for America’s Navy as anywhere. It is the size of our fleet that uniquely enables the United States Navy and Marine Corps to maintain presence around the globe, around the clock. That presence has kept the peace and promoted prosperity via trade across open sea lanes for nearly seven decades.”

However, one arm of our national security structure that is often over looked and is well underfunded is the U.S. Coast Guard. No other service does more with less than the Coast Guard.

While DoD has seen some relief from sequestration, the Coast Guard has not benefited from any additional funding. In some cases DoD has the advantage to use Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funds for overseas operations and maintenance. Yet even though the Coast Guard has forces forward deployed, they have not benefited from this special account.

For a service that has some of the most demanding missions to support our national security, the current departmental funding falls well short of the requirement. Some of these missions include maritime homeland security, maritime law enforcement, search and rescue, marine environmental protection, and enforcing U.S laws in the world’s largest exclusive economic zone—3.4 million square miles. And the Coast Guard undertakes its duties with an annual budget of about $10 billion and an active duty roster smaller than the employees of the New York City Police Department.

As commander of Combined Task Force 151 in 2009 I witnessed first-hand the excellence the Coast Guard law enforcement detachments (LEDETs) provide to the Navy for forward-deployed operations. Most naval officers receive very little training in the procedures required to take armed pirates into custody on the high seas. I was fortunate enough to have a highly trained team and we were able to send a large contingent of pirates to trial in Kenya. Additionally, during the height of pirate activity in the Gulf of Aden in the spring of 2009 the USCGC Boutwell high-endurance cutter deployed to the region and successfully disrupted several pirate attacks.

Even though the Coast Guard has taken on more requirements in the post Sept. 11, 2001 era the consequences of sequestration have started to directly affect some of the basic mission requirements. Like the Navy, the Coast Guard’s fleet, will see a major reduction in the next few years and, if the trend is allowed to continue, this could jeopardize our national security. If the Coast Guard does not see an increase in its shipbuilding account, the fleet of high and medium endurance cutters will suffer a major decrease in the next ten years.

One notable shortfall that is facing the Coast Guard is replacement of its fleet of high endurance cutters. In service since the 1960s, the 12 Hamilton-class cutters served the nation well in some of the most demanding environments, from patrols in the Bering Sea to rescue operations in the harsh winters of the North Atlantic. Today the Coast Guard’s major endurance cutter fleet is being replaced by eight Legendclass national security cutters (NSCs). A larger and more capable platform than the Hamilton-class, the NSC is a welcome addition to the Coast Guard fleet, but as Mabus said, in the maritime world “size matters” and the Coast Guard can hardly be called upon to carry out all the required mission requirements with a 33 percent reduction in the size of its high endurance cutter fleet.

The post-Sept. 11 era has seen a remarkable increase in the Coast Guard’s national security requirements. There has been a major emphasis on the Arctic region and currently neither the Navy nor the Coast Guard has the platforms capable to support the nation’s interest in that region. With the expansion of shipping, drilling and commerce, the Arctic region has become a high interest area for our national security. Additionally, as DoD’s new strategy shifts focus to the Asia-Pacific region, the Coast Guard will be unable to carry out all the requirements from the Pacific commanders with a reduced fleet of high endurance cutters. The USCGC Waesche participated in the 2014 Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) war game, the largest multi-national maritime exercise in the world. Capt. John McKinley, the cutter Waesche’s CO, said that, “participation in RIMPAC [was] an incredible opportunity for us to really exercise the capabilities of the national security cutter with our DOD and international partners. The lessons we learn here will strengthen our ability to work with our partners to respond to the real world threats faced by all nations with interests in the Pacific.” Since most of the navies in the Asia-Pacific region stress the same mission set as our Coast Guard, the importance of bilateral operations in the region cannot be over emphasized.

The Legend-class national security cutter USCGC Waesche (WMSL-751), Indonesian Navy landing platform dock ship KRI Banda Aceh (BAC 593) and the amphibious dock landing ship USS Germantown (LSD 42) steam through the Java Sea in 2012. US Navy Photo

The Legend-class national security cutter USCGC Waesche (WMSL-751), Indonesian Navy landing platform dock ship KRI Banda Aceh (BAC 593) and the amphibious dock landing ship USS Germantown (LSD 42) steam through the Java Sea in 2012. US Navy Photo

The other major issue that has received very little attention in support of the Coast Guard’s mission is the decommissioning of the Navy’s Perry-class frigates. For many years these highly capable vessels served as the staging platforms in support of Coast Guard counterdrug law enforcement detachments and on-scene presence operations in the Caribbean region. In 2014 alone, with direct support from Coast Guard law enforcement detachments, the USS Gary successfully interdicted over 11,700 kilograms of cocaine shipments bound for U.S. streets. The absence of those platforms will leave a major gap in U.S. engagement activities in the region to counter illicit trafficking operations and training with our allies. Additionally, the decommissioning of those platforms will dramatically increase the burden on the national security cutters.

The Legend-class national security cutter has enhanced capabilities to detect and protect our national interest in the far reaches of our national shores. It provides the Coast Guard with a state-of-the-art platform to confront some of the current major maritime national security challenges, but they can’t be in two places at the same time. The major concern is that the Coast Guard will not have the right sized fleet to meet all future requirements. Those cutters will be in far greater demand in the future for the protection of our interests in the Arctic and monitoring the increasing flow of trade from the Asia-Pacific region, not to mention the less-policed Caribbean drug routes. Congress and the Department of Homeland Security need to take a hard look at the constraint to stop the program at only eight ships and continue to build these platforms to ensure the maritime requirements of our national security are met for years to come. It cannot be overstressed — size matters and our national security fleet needs to be the right size.

  • PolicyWonk

    The Legend-class national security cutter has enhanced capabilities to
    detect and protect our national interest in the far reaches of our
    national shores.
    ====================================
    That they do – and the USCG should be funded as if it were a full partner in the DoD, along with the Navy, Army, Marines, and Air Force. They are also far more visible to the taxpayers, as the USCG is present in all major waterways and ports.

    The USCG also came up with a real winner with the now proven design of the Legend-class NSC, which has the endurance, room for growth, sea-keeping abilities, and value that is clearly missing in what the US Navy formally called the “Littoral Combat Ship”, but through the magic of marketing, has now re-designated as “FF” (“Fast Frigate”).

    Neither the name change or minor modifications planned will do much to improve what was the LCS, which according to Adm Grennert himself, was never designed to venture into the littorals to engage in combat. The Navy should’ve simply bought an up-armed/armored version of the NSC (as was offered to the Navy by HII), which would’ve shared many parts, features, and capabilities that would’ve been easy to integrate on the occasions where both service branches were serving together.

    • redgriffin

      I think we should stop deriding the LCS it may not be the best ship design but it is the one we got so we have to deal with it. Remember the naysayers said the same things about the Perry Class that you are now saying about the LCS.

      • NavySubNuke

        It would be a lot easier to go with that if LCS was the one we had —- instead of the navy making the stupid decision to keep two bad designs in production.

        • PolicyWonk

          Two bad designs in production that we still have the option of KILLING (before a naval adversary does it for us!).

          • NavySubNuke

            Maybe the next SECNAV will – but not the current one who cares more about petty politics and ship counts than he does about capabilities, presence, or readiness.

        • Curtis Conway

          The National Security Cutter is the “Bird in the Hand”. The US Navy is still trying to figure out what the LCS is supposed to be, and the solutions they have provided (LCS/FF) ain’t it. The LCS/FF will never outrun an Anti-Ship Cruise Missile, and then our sailor sons and daughters will be fish food. To successfully engage and destroy a supersonic ASCM one must have something bigger than a 25lb blast fragmentation warhead.

          • NavySubNuke

            but but but railguns and lasers and cloaking devices —- oh my!
            Snark aside – I agree with you.

      • Curtis Conway

        The Perry class met US Navy regulations for survivability, watertight integrity and compartmentalization. It is an abomination that 3D ground and air warfare platform design criteria and tactics have been applied to the 2D world full of things trying to eat you, where it is easier to target fast moving things, and one it told THAT [speed] is your ace in the hole. Sad state of affairs. IF the LCS is our new FF, then it should prove itself in the Bearing Sea and the Arctic. The US Navy is being provided an expensive, fast ship with limited capabilities that cannot go everywhere and do everything (special purpose ship for limited applications?). When the Perry Class had the Mk13 forward, it COULD do that. I personally watched one bob in the Arctic waters off of Iceland. I would like to see the LCS do that! The Hamilton Class Coast Guard Cutters could do that, for they were designed to do that, and were there with us as well. The Legend Class is designed to do the same (go everywhere and should be equipped to do everything). PolicyWonk’s observation is right on target, and I paid for it, and I’m pi…., and I’m not the only one.

        • redgriffin

          Well as I said to wonk You are stuck with the hulls now you have to learn to live with it. Unless you can figure a way for the builders to refund the money.

          • Curtis Conway

            And THAT ($$$$$$$$$) is what this is all about! It doesn’t have anything to do with capability. Just money and hype/hyperbole.

          • redgriffin

            Please see my response to Ctrot.

          • Curtis Conway

            I reviewed all the comments. I have been writing my congressman and senators since 2012, and I can tell you they KNOW EXACTLY who I am and what I think. All of these arguments have been provided in detail with the arguments laid out plainly, concisely, and succinctly, but you see . . . they (and others) had to get re-elected, and I suspect it was also rationalized as a jobs program to help the economy from totally tanking, along with the positive numbers provided by the Texas economy.

            I’m tired of paying for it, and hearing the DoD leadership spout the flawed arguments they have before congress. You should listen to them sometimes. You would think we were a bunch of children to be lead by the nose. Fidelity to Duty, and Ethical Attitude when dealing with truth, and Integrity in Action, is what is required, and it is sorely missing in the CoC today!

          • redgriffin

            Goo d they you off all of theses people can complain because you have gotten involved.

          • Ctrot

            They’re still being built, that should stop. Now. Stop digging the hole we’ve put ourselves in. Saying “oh well that’s the hull we have” helps nothing.

          • redgriffin

            So talk to your congressional representatives don’t yell at me.

          • Ctrot

            You’re the one here and now proclaiming “it’s the hull we have” not my congressman.

          • redgriffin

            And I’m telling the truth because your Congressman and others authorized the $$$

          • Ctrot

            Yes they did. And now some of us are trying to change that while others (you) are saying “oh well”.

      • Secundius

        @ redgriiin.

        Back in March 2010, on a 47-days Cruise. LCS-1, USS. Freedom made 4-Drug Bust’s of the Columbian Coast outrunning the Cocaine ladened Go-Fast’s they were pursing…

        • JJSchwartz

          [That would be Colombian] Good argument for the LCS to be turned over to the USCG … if they’d have them.

          • Curtis Conway

            the Coast Guard studied it and it cost too much. However, USN LCS with LEDETs on board is another issue.

        • Steven H

          The Coast Guard can already outrun drug laden “Go Fast” with HELOs and small boats. They don’t need a ship the size of their largest cutters to do it at many, many times the cost. The assets the Coast Guard uses also perform many other task where the LCS/FF can’t.

      • PolicyWonk

        Sir,

        The US Navy has admitted that the “Littoral Combat ship” doesn’t meet, and even in its “improved” variant, will still not meet, the US Navy’s lowest survivability standard (Level-1), despite that being a primary justification for the massive per-sea-frame cost increase listed by the LCS Program Office.

        Yet not ONE peep about an investigation for defrauding the taxpayers.

        Legally, the LCS had to be granted a waiver, because it is illegal for a ship to be christened into the USN if it cannot meet the minimum survivability standard. Note also, that even our common fleet oilers are built to the Level 2 survivability standard – which was the same standard the OHP’s were built to.

        The OHP’s at least were well armed, built to take punishment, and had considerable room for growth. LCS/SSC/FF, in contrast, has NONE of these virtues, even in its “FF” configuration. There is yet to be even ONE favorable report from *any* US auditing agency regarding LCS, which BTW includes the navy’s own Inspector General’s Office.

        • redgriffin

          You can yell all you want at me I just say we are now stuck with them. Even a idiot can tell you that you can’t use one hull for everything. I think that the USN could have gotten much better ships if it had invested in some Mine Warfare warship and some OPV’s so that we can have a balanced Anti Terrorist Units. I really don’t care who knew it was a bad design the fact is that NOW WE HAVE THEM! It is up to the NAval Staff to figure out how they will be used.

          • PolicyWonk

            We DO NOT yet have even the initial lot of 24 LCS sea-frames, let alone even the first “FF” version. They might’ve made the “decision” to compound their stupidity by purchasing more of what they know is woefully inadequate – but that is entirely different from HAVING them in our possession.

            Cheers.

          • redgriffin

            Well now is the time to get your voice out. What I’m say is shut up on these forum if you are not going to do anything until you act you just blow hot air.

          • PolicyWonk

            I write my elected representatives, and vote – with my wallet, and at the ballot box.

            IMO, if you fail to do so you lose the right to complain – and fail in your obligation to perform your civic duties.

            Cheers.

          • Steven H

            You should not assume that this is the only place that people are making noise about this issue. One of the problems with todays society is that we assume that everything is this, or that. If you say this, you are against that; if you comment here, you’re not writing your congressmen. I say make as much noise, in as many places as possible. It’s not just our bought and sold elected officials that we need to get information to; it’s the American public that needs to hear it as well.

          • Curtis Conway

            “Even a idiot can tell you that you can’t use one hull for everything.”

            Might want to be careful with comments like that. The FFG-7 Class DID do everything, in all oceans, at less operational cost, and was pretty good at AAW until the US Navy decided not to upgrade the Mk13 launchers and the FFG-7 Combat System. The only idiotic move we have here, that is supported by hard facts and analysis, is the current US Navy path for increasing force numbers with un-survivable LCS/SSC/FFs, at a cost that can buy far superior survivability and firepower for about the same money. However, two Aegis FFGs for the cost of one DDG-51 really makes a lot of sense for about a decade or more. Perhaps our two opposing Aegis yards can swap out every other year.

          • redgriffin

            You should have a better opinion of yourself I never called you an idiot.

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  • Curtis Conway

    As the Arctic heats up (pun intended) USCG presence requirements will necessarily increase. Increases in platforms, aircraft and basing are a necessary consequence, and must start now. The seas are more dangerous today not less. The bad guys in Central/South America are smuggling drugs in submarines now. Pirate activity has been on the increase since the turn of the century. The replacement of the High Endurance Cutters should have always been one-for-one, and the numbers perhaps should grow beyond that number.

    • PolicyWonk

      Well, the plan was to acquire 52 LCS/SSC/FF’s – which cannot do much more than show the flag, or sweep mines, and/or pray that no naval adversary takes a shot at them.

      OTOH, given the appalling cost of LCS, which now costs as much as our allies high-end frigates, our best solution is already on the slipways, in the form (as you well know) of an up-armed/armored NSC. Instead of 3 ship classes (Legend, Freedom, and Independence), we could be building Legends – and dole the work out according to who build them most efficiently (HII, BIW, etc.).

      As opposed to 52 nearly useless LCS/SSC/FF’s, given China’s diplomatic belligerence, it would not be overdoing it to purchase maybe 100 of the aforementioned up-armed/armored NSC’s, which would be ideal (in conjunction with a few destroyer tenders) for forward basing in Japan, Guam, and the Phillipeans, to prowl the waters of the S. China sea, amongst other places of interest. The navalized version of the NSC would be handy for paddling around the Pacific with the CVL’s we’ve been discussing, or otherwise protecting our MLP’s if we decided to station a few in the neighborhood to perform “maritime safety and lifesaving patrols”.

      The current/existing LCS’s might prove useful for mine-clearing work, if they ever get that “mission package” working correctly. On the happy side, even an LCS can be a minesweeper at least *once*.

      For any of this to happen, it would require that congress restore the economic balance of the country with the few items they can still fix, as were listed in the CBO report on the Causes Of The Great Recession, which would go a long way to restoring the nation to economic health and a nearly balanced budget.

      • Curtis Conway

        And he didn’t even mention the Arctic. Our special purpose LCS/FFs most likely should not go there. The United States Navy has Regulations for this very reason, so special purpose ships, which everyone INSISTED this was not, is all we have. Even the upgrade for the new FF configuration is anemic and lacking.

        We would have, and still would be, better off just buying Bazan Class Frigates from Spain. At least it has a real radar and can kill aircraft further out than single digit miles with a 25lb blast fragmentation warhead of a Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM).

        Living “On a River in Egypt” never ends well, and the US Navy has camped out there, and the US Taxpayer is paying for their lack of vision and violating US Navy Regulations (via their little waiver) that have been hard learned via shedding of blood in numerous Wars at Sea. Speak Truth to Offense.

        • PolicyWonk

          Your point w/r/t the arctic is well taken, and we’ve discussed that aspect of the LCS/SSC/FF many failings before.

          I find it astonishing that the Navy’s own inspector general reports (that LCS, as designed, wouldn’t be likely to survive the missions commanders were likely to send it on) didn’t phase the LCS program office, or the DoD, or the Congress, etc., when they re-chose LCS for the SSC/FF role.

          Seriously – you can’t make this stuff up!

          • Curtis Conway

            The ‘Industrial Military Complex’ tail wagging the DoD dog. Us taxpayers just get to watch the unrighteous activity and pay for it.

            The only way out of this is for the US Navy to ‘chase good money after bad’. For the LCS/FF to be truly ‘survivable’ as they claim, the seaframe (and that is exactly what it is, not a survivable US Navy Regulation compliant hull) will have to be upgraded with real combat capability. That, at a minimum, will be the 9-module SPY-6(v), or other suitable non-rotating 3D radar, and at least Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) to move the AAW defense in depth out to begin at 20nm, not its current single digit number. Then this “thing” can Escort.

            I hope the AMDR test team is performing their tests on two antenna arrays (37 module DDG array and the 9-module array). Ideally they would test all three configurations at the same time (9, 37, 69 module arrays). Then the product is validated all the way up to BMD ship in one test program. I suppose one 69 module array antenna could perform the test and validate the other configurations, but I don’t know that much about the system.

          • PolicyWonk

            Survivability would also be enhanced IF they bothered to design/construct the sea-frames to the Level-2 standard. If LCS were designed to that standard at the outset, and also designed to carry weapons (unlike the current variants), in addition to mission packages, then maybe this discussion wouldn’t be happening.

            But you can’t fix the sea-frame once its built. In that sense its like the foundation of a building: build it right, and adding to it is straightforward. Build it wrong – you’re hosed.

  • sragsd0416

    Thank you Rear Adm. Terry McKnight for bringing this issue up. It will need to be brought up repeatedly until such time as the necessary action is taken to remedy this. The USCG manning level is also low as there are actually less personnel serving in the Guard than NYPD. Yet there are of responsibility includes exceptionally large areas in the Pacific (Guam and surrounding Islands including Marshall and Kwajalein) Hawaii (including Midway) as well as the Arctic, Atlantic (Puerto Rico and surrounding areas) and major bays and the Great Lakes (I am certain I have missed some areas). The USCG also has security responsibilities thrust on them in the Persian Gulf operating alongside their Bahraini counterparts. The Admiral mentions some of the missions but those less glorious are also necessities to a seafaring nation such as Navigation Aid Maintenance, Ice Breaking, humanitarian assistance, vessel safety compliance, search and rescue and a host of others. Though I am not certain the FFG-7 class is the best fit it would be a big step forward for them given the ship’s Helicopter capability as well as proven record. We as Americans take what the Guard does with little notice. This area is a serious national security issue as well and really needs addressed. Sounds like the Admiral has a plan. There is no better feeling than seeing a HC130 passing low over head wagging her wings or that white hull emblazoned with the red and blue racing stripes letting you know that you will not die that day on a sea so vast. Semper Paratus

  • redgriffin

    Sequestration is the biggest danger to the US today. Rather then solve problems the Congress and the White House have decided to, do what we do so well in this political climate, punt it to the next administration. The Fact that the USCG is financially in trouble should surprise no one Since the Coast Guard is really a paramilitary force the best way to solve it may be to take part of the Defense Budget and funnel it into the Coast Guard for up keep and modernization of it’s assets as it seems that DHS is unable to support any type od security force.

    • Jeff Gregg

      “Paramilitary”…really. The United States Coast Guard was created by Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of the Treasury as second MILITARY force for a young country to defend our coasts from smugglers, pirates, and forces of other nations that thought we were ripe for picking. The same men who wrote the Constitution wrote the authority for the Revenue Cutter Service and made it the only military force able to operate within the United States without an act of Congress. Consider this, the Coast Guard has the authority to “board” / go on to any vessel from any country found navigating U.S. waters. If the Navy tried that, the vessel’s country would declare an invasion and possibly war! However, due to the professionalism and reputation of the Coast Guard since 1790, we are welcomed aboard with phrases like, “How can help” or “Whatever you need, Coast Guard”. With almost 20 years of service in my beloved Guard, I only wish we received as much respect and support at home. We are the second oldest U.S. military branch; just as a reminder, the Continental Navy was disbanded after the American Revolution and not reformed as the U.S. Navy until after the Revenue Cutter Service was already operating.

      For unity of mission, during times of declared war, legally, by Congress; the Coast Guard does operate under Naval control. Together with our Navy brothers and sisters, we were a united force during the War of 1812, the Spanish-American War, the Civil War, World War I and II. As the Coast Guard, we supported American forces in Korea and initiated the river patrols during the Vietnam War. Since the first conflicts in the Persian Gulf, the Coast Guard has been there on land and sea, protecting ports used by incoming U.S. and Allied forces as well as instructing and then working with the Navy to enforce the embargo.

      Call us “Puddle Pirates”, “Uncle Sam’s Confused Group”, and even “Baywatch I’m Blue”, but please never “paramilitary”.

      • redgriffin

        NO the Coast Guard is mandated by the US Constitution as a revenue collection service this is one of only 2 Government agencies mandate thusly the other was the Post Office.

        • H2O_911

          Well, actually, under title 14 USC 1, the Coast Guard, “as established January 28, 1915, shall be a military service and a branch of the armed forces of the United States at all times. The Coast Guard shall be a service in the Department of Homeland Security, except when operating as a service in the Navy.”

          I did not realize that the Constitution actually mentions the Coast Guard. I’ll have to find that.

          • Jeff Gregg

            The Coast Guard is not in the Constitution and I apologize for any confusion. The charter and laws that formed the Revenue Cutter Service in 1790 were written by men who has also been part of the body that signed the Constitution and it was this group that created the second military branch that would be renamed the Coast Guard in 1915.

        • Ike

          The problem here is that people who do not know the full history of the Coast Guard and do not know the laws an regulations that underpin it’s responsibities and authorities, will not understand why suggestions to transfer the CG or transfer it’s duties are so absurd. All of these have been been tried over more than 200 years and the only success has been leaving it alone. The USCG is configured as it should be, although putting it in DHS was a big mistake. Don’t get me started on that! Actually in the boating safety area the USCG has shifted (not transfered) most of the LE to the states. We simply don”t have the assets to cover it. The Boating Safety Detachments went away in the early 80’s never to be seen again.

  • Peter

    I haven’t seen this come up regarding the Legend-class National Security Cutters.

    It’s interesting that they call them “National Security” cutters (NSCs) when they are optimized for surface warfare and thus lack the subsurface, anti-ship, and anti-air missiles and torpedoes to defend the Homeland against many threats. Recall the Hamilton-class High Endurance Cutters used to have torpedo tubes and Harpoon missiles before their refit removed them and left them with 76mm and 20mm Phalanx CIWS. Some say it’s because the USCG wanted to save on training and armament costs whereas other reasons were that these weapons were rarely used in patrols, drug enforcement, and search and rescue. As such, the NSCs lack the ASW, AAW, and ASuW weapons of a good, well-rounded surface warship (the Chinese Coast Guard ships of comparable size have torpedoes and missiles). The NSCs may be good ships, but they’re quite big just for about the same armament as the upcoming Offshore Patrol Medium Endurance Cutter. It’s amazing that the NSCs are forward-deployed to overseas conflict areas as if they were (armed as) a general all-purpose warship capable of dealing with air, surface, and subsurface threats in which they cannot. Granted, these aren’t US Navy ships, but it seems that sometimes they are treated as such.

    So “forgotten fleet” is part of the USCG story…how about “forgotten armament” (torpedoes and (Harpoon) missiles) of the USCG as the second part when it comes to the High Endurance Cutters?

    • Jeff Ferrell

      It sounds like you’re missing the FFG-7 class USN ship. All the weapons you mentioned were standard issue on the FFG-7 class. I think it was a BIG mistake when the USN decided to dispense of the OHP class FFG-7. I spent the majority of my career on the FFG-7 class ship. They may have been minimally manned but we as a crew were ALWAYS up to the task at hand. I also spent 5 years in the USCG aboard 378′ High Endurance Cutters, so I’ve got a first hand perspective of what was discussed in this article. In my opinion, I think the Coast Guard/Navy should make a ship with both the FFG -7 and WHEC capabilities. The FFG -7 ships that haven’t been sold, scrapped, or sunken as reefs are currently pierside in Philly Navy Yard rusting away. They would make a good platform to start with. All the Coast Guard capabilities could be added to these FFG-7 skeletons.

      • Peter

        Please see my reply to Greg above. I’m wondering if the High Endurance Cutters and NSCs have bow sonars. Thanks.

        • Ryan R Young

          Bow sonars came off High Endurance cutters years ago, and were never fitted to the NSCs.

          • Peter

            That’s odd how the NSC’s have no bow sonars, especially now with semi and fully submersible narco subs. How in the world is the USCG supposed to detect these narco subs if they submerge?

            “National Security Cutter”…I would assume sub-surface threats to be a “National Security” issue.

            I somewhat suspected that the NSCs didn’t have bow sonar because no specs ever said that they did, and even if they did, the NSCs don’t have any ASW weapons.

      • BrRobertNapolitanoSchwehr

        Yes tell somebody in HQ in this budget environment you will be listened too former 378 sailor retired.

    • Greg Olsen

      The NSC is a response to 9/11 as much as anything else. It is “National Security” in the sense that it is an NBC capable cutter, capable of responding to a radiological event or bioterrorism. It is optimized for drug interdiction and SAR, but also counter-terror missions.

      A benefit (or weakness depending on your point of view) of the NSC is the greater automation, thus lowering the crew compliment. The downside is that they are not able to do as much underway maintenance, which requires more work in port after patrol.

      A cutter is a coastal patrol vessel, not an escort vessel, hence the weapons and defensive countermeasures deployed on the platform.

      • Peter

        >>A cutter is a coastal patrol vessel, not an escort vessel, hence the
        weapons and defensive countermeasures deployed on the platform.

        I kind of agree and kind of disagree. In many places along the US shoreline, the USCG is the ONLY active (militaristic naval) defense there is as the nearest naval port is hundreds of miles away. Sure, with SOSUS, the Navy could detect enemy subs approaching, but that doesn’t mean the Navy always has assets and ships around to do something. Especially with the closure of bases, there are some large port cities that totally lack any form of military whatsoever outside of the Coast Guard. Hence a cutter without torpedoes or missiles could not really do anything subsurface or afar…it’s just a gunboat. And the nearest military help could be miles to hours away.

        There was a rumor I read online many years ago that the Hamiltons with their sonar detected US Navy subs lurking in the city bays and ports on patrol and thus reported them, to the US Navy’s chagrin because these subs were supposed to be on silent (active) duty. So the rumor goes that the US subs now secure everything under the water in friendly ports, not the USCG. Does the NSCs have bow sonars? Will the upcoming Offshore Patrol Cutters have bow sonars? It doesn’t make sense not to have any underwater defense when even drug cartels are using semi-submersibles.

      • Kirk Sandall

        I’m not sure what you’re basing your assertion (“a cutter is a coastal patrol vessel”) on but from the CG’s inception in 1790, cutters were used for all sorts of missions, not least of which were escort and skirmishes. The primary enemy they fought then were pirates, especially the Barbary pirates and they escorted merchant vessels on their way to and from the US. They were also instrumental in battles during the War of 1812 and the Civil War.

        As for recent uses, it depends on the cutter. The smaller ones are coastal patrol vessels, sure, but the MECs and HECs were not intended solely for that purpose. Post-FRAM, the HECs have the 76mm capable of firing 85-120 rpm and the NSCs have the Bofors 57mm capable of firing 220 rpm, both of which may be used for short-range anti-missile defense, anti-aircraft, anti-surface, and ground support. And their ranges are 14,000nm and 12,000nm respectively. That doesn’t sound like coastal patrol ranges to me.

    • Kirk Sandall

      Harpoons??? I spent nearly 3 years on the Boutwell and if they had Harpoons then they did an excellent job of not only concealing the missiles but the launchers, as well. They had torpedo tubes, the 5″/38 caliber naval gun, and two 20mm AA guns. Of course, that was pre-FRAM.
      In addition to the Phalanx, the NSCs have the Bofors 57mm Mk 110 which can fire 220 rpm and, according to its manufacturer, can be used against “surface, airborne, and shore-based targets.”

      • Steven H

        Five 378s were fitted with Harpoon SSM launchers durring FRAM but were later removed.

    • Ryan R Young

      HARPOON was only ever on one cutter, and not for long, during the “Yost Guard” period, when the military mission was being emphasized.

      Torps and sonar came off AFTER FRAM. Without Prairie Air and effective silencing, a 378, which had late 50’s technology, was a sitting duck in any real ASW environment.

      • Steven H

        Actually, five 378s were fitted with Harppons.

  • What’s even sadder that the 270’s and 210’s will still have to keep going. This should have been one massive wake up call.

    Don’t get me wrong, the NSC, if armed right could be the next frigate the US navy is looking for.

    • Ryan R Young

      The 210’s will be gone soon, when the Offshore Patrol Cutter starts coming on line.

      • What about the 270’s. How much life can the USCG get out of them before they are turned over to countries like the Philippines.

        • Ryan R Young

          They are newer to begin with, and they are just emerging from a pretty extensive mid-life overhaul. They ARE going away, to be replaced by OPCs, but they will be around at least another decade.

  • Jacob Lipe

    It is true that the USCG is really underfunded and undersized than it really deserves. The reason probably is that politicians and most Americans don’t recognize the Coast Guard as a military service (its under the DHS not DOD). Its amazing that during and after the sequestration the CG still is modernizing its forces but very slowly by replacing the HMCs with NSCs and upgrading the aircraft, boats, and stations. The Coast Guard deserves so much more than what it receives right now and its a really disappointing that congress doesnt support enough for this lifesaving service (honestly it fu**ing irritates me). It doesnt just leaves the USCG vulnerable but the whole military and national security assets when trying to protect America and its Allies. Im a senior in high school I am surprised I know more about the Coast Guard and the military than my own teachers, I am enlisting in the CG soon. Back to this, its time for the White House and Congress to act before its too late when some threat arises and we’re not able to have the forces to do something about it. Thank you Adm. McKnight of telling us about this issue and also thank you for your service!!

    • bpuharic

      Good luck to you sir, and thank you.

    • Kirk Sandall

      It’s not a surprise. I spent 6½ years in the CG in the 1980s. I voted for Reagan solely because of his declaration of a “war on drugs”, thinking the CG would be getting a much needed boost in funding since the CG was (and still is) the vanguard of drug interdiction. Naturally, of course, that didn’t happen because the vast majority of Congressmen and constituents are land locked and don’t readily see the benefits from the CG’s service.

      Fast forward to July 4, 2002 (the first post-9/11 Independence Day) and after the coverage of the fireworks display, the local newscasters said, “and we’d like to thank all our servicemen and women in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and National Guard.” I yelled at the TV, “EXCUSE ME? The Coast Guard is the fifth Armed Force, not the National Guard!” My wife had to calm me down. lol

      The good news is that the CO of my last duty station told me that the CG’s Chief Warrant Officers Association had begun mailing out press statements to all the various media outlets in an effort to educate them regarding the history and role of the CG. What I found really interesting about that was that the following year, after the fireworks on July 4th, the local newscasters listed the correct members of the Armed Forces.

      I’ll tell you something else that’s probably helped raise awareness of the CG: Coast Guard Alaska on the Weather Channel, which is produced by Al Roker’s production company. And they’ll be changing the show to Coast Guard Pacific Northwest.

      • Ryan R Young

        The War On Drugs bought the first 15 110ft WPBs. And helped appropriations all through the 1980’s, with 30 more 110s, the 87s, mid-life overhauls on 210s and 270’s, sensors for C-130s, etc.

  • drjon4u2

    The Coast Guard should be folded into the Department Of The Navy and its designation changed to protector of The Inland Seas. It was wrong to change the Coast Guard from The Department Of Defense in the first place. In future conflicts there may well be a need for a Navy force to take and secure inland waterways, and there certainly now is a need to patrol our coasts and to provide some security from all illegal activity on the coasts of our country. The potential cost savings of incorporation of the Coast Guard into the Navy are enormous. The benefits huge! Much of what the Coast Guard does can easily be taken over by Wildlife and Fisheries Law Enforcement on the State level, which would leave the Coast Guard as an armed force to do what it is supposed to do, which is to protect the coast. I can also apply this argument to the US Air Force, which should also be folded into the Army and Navy, as there is NO need to have an additional separated force, whose duties could easily be performed by the Army and Navy.

    • JohnnyRotten41

      The Coast Guard has never been part of the DoD in its entire history. It was Treasury, then Transportation, now DHS. It is separate from the Navy for the very good reasons listed in the article. So, no, it should not ever be folded into the DoN. Wildlife and fisheries LE on the State level?! You clearly don’t understand the multi-mission capabilities the Coast Guard executes which FAR outstrip the abilities of state agencies. I’m only saying this for informational purposes, as I retired from the USCG with over 23 years of service, six of those at sea on three major cutters. Crack open a book.

      • drjon4u2

        Sorry, I was thinking about in 1917 when it was placed into the Navy and then in 42 placed under control of the Navy. I have perhaps not explained myself completely. The mission of the small boat Coast Guard is what I believe should be taken over by State agencies; boat safety and intoxicated vacationers should be a State issue. I have nothing against the Coast Guard’s larger boat and ship capacity. Both are necessary and vital to our country’s defense from intrusion, of all kinds. However, the Constitution provides for and demands a Navy and therefore the larger ships of the Coast Guard, in their role as protectors of the coast, need to be properly armed with more than deck guns, because there is an upcoming threat from both The Chinese and The Russians, who are showing an increasing proclivity to penetrate the seaways. The money that would be saved from incorporation would easily be folded into Navy procurement (even with its politically screwed up ships. The public perception of the Coast Guard ( for all of the great duty and service it has provided) is simply not the same as for the US Navy. Having a duplicate service that is not DOD makes for lots of “stars” who aren’t on ships, but are in administration. If you believe that there is, for one example, a justification of an entire Coast Guard base serving Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana, please with all of your service, explain!

        • JohnnyRotten41

          This is getting wordy, so I’ll keep it concise: The state agencies you mention are still there to enforce state laws. They do not have the training nor the capability to prosecute SAR missions on a body of water the size of Lake Pontchartrain, to use your example. Lake Tahoe is another example, and the Great Lakes. You think Michigan can figure out how to take care of the Great Lakes? Tell me how many square miles all those lakes are. You don’t have to look far to figure out why the Coast Guard needs to be separate from the Navy, and why its duties can’t be absorbed by state agencies, but you DO have to look.

          • drjon4u2

            Michigan is a State with an international boundary with another sovereign country. I do not argue against a Coast Guard presence there. I do not think that the inland waters of States, are the responsibility of Federal Law Enforcement. Perhaps were we to have a Federal surplus and owed no money to China, we could use the largess to defend the inner Mississippi or Lake Tahoe, but we are terribly in debt with no easy way out. SAR missions could easily be performed in a larger inland lake, such as Lake Pontchartrain, by the NAVY located only a few miles away, AND, I do believe that the Coast Guard, if integrated into the NAVY could have a Brown Water force, forced to be funded under the Constitution, that would be at the ready and available for SAR. To me this is a matter of having the most responsible armed force and one capable of many missions and one that is thought of by the public to be at the same level as the Navy or the Army. Why would anyone desire additional and duplicate Federal law enforcement in the form of The Coast Guard, when there are a multitude of those Federal forces already in place from TSA, Postal, FBI, BATFE, Treasury, Secret Service, Forestry, and too many more to name?

        • fuggetaboudit

          Has it occurred to you that many of the littoral states are just flat broke? Where is this money supposed to come from- it takes money and lots of it, for what you suggest.

          • drjon4u2

            Raise your boating license fees or decrease your services. Littoral States are no more special than are other States of the Union. The only littoral State that is flat broke is California. But to write, The Coast Guard certainly has enough larger boats and ships, were the will in place, to defend South California, from foreign intrusion.

        • Greg Olsen

          A large portion of public safety missions are handled by the Coast Guard Auxiliary, the uniformed civilian volunteer side of the Coast Guard. Law enforcement is still vested with the “gold side”, but boating safety (courtesy vessel examinations, public education, etc.) is handled by the Auxiliary. They also handle SAR patrols, both surface and air, marine environmental protection missions, radio watch standing, even working in the galley on cutters. It is a volunteer force multiplier given the small size and large number of responsibilities of the Coast Guard.

          As to coastal protection, ASW is the purview of the Navy and should remain so. The Coast Guard’s mission is primarily humanitarian.

          • drjon4u2

            “The Coast Guard’s mission is primarily humanitarian”….And there rests the problem. The primary reason for the existence of the Coast Guard after the time of the Revenue Cutters is to protect the coastal homeland from dangers entering from the sea.

            The Coast Guard Auxiliary is appreciated by all boater, including myself when I had a pleasure craft, however, this really is a State responsibility and law enforcement within a State is certainly not the responsibility of a Federal Force, it is rather another State responsibility, that has been handed over to Federal control, because it was offered and , as one sells soul to the devil, seemed to be a bargain at the time.

            The additional issue of ASW warfare is complicated by the fact that our Navy surface fleet is at its limit and is being stretched and in the case of a national emergency there are no provisions for Coast Guard ships to quickly be retrofitted for additional use, even were they capable of cross platform performance.

    • James Bowen

      I agree about the Coast Guard. As far as the Air Force is concerned, it was a mistake to separate it from the Army in the first place. However, it was done, and they have of course established a strong service identity. I think the best way to address this now would be to combine the Army and Air Force Departments into one department such that they are effectively one service but still retain their distinct service identities, much like the Navy and the Marine Corps.

      The Navy and the Air Force, interestingly enough, have little overlap in their mission areas and responsibilities, with the big exception of strategic deterrence. Much of what the Air Force does in terms of warfighting is in support of the Army. The Air Force has traditionally not been very interested in the maritime domain, and with some exceptions has often not performed very well in that domain (i.e. Midway, The Battle of the Atlantic, etc.). My guess is that is because their training, doctrine, and tactics when it comes to the battle environment are ground-oriented, not maritime oriented.

      • Jeff Ferrell

        Mr. Bowen,
        Just a heads up! The Coast Guard use to be a member of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Now I believe they are a member of the Department of Homeland Security. Just a heads up, that is all.
        Have a great day!

        • James Bowen

          During wartime, the U.S. Coast Guard is transferred to the Navy Department. That is what I was referring to. I am saying that should be a permanent arrangement, not just the case when war is declared.

      • drjon4u2

        There will be those occasions when the Navy will have to support ground operations that an Army Air Force will not geographically be able to help with.

    • Tom

      The Coast Guard was never in the Department of Defense. Due to Posse Comataus law, and the Coast Guard’s dual role as a military and federal law enforcement service it has to remain outside of the DoD. It was originally under the Treasury Dept , then Transportation and now Homeland Security. The only time it transferred under the Navy was during WWII. Also the Coast Guard is not just a coastal defense force, because of it’s maritime law enforcement capability it operates globally independently and with the Navy. This is important because the Navy is not authorized by law to conduct law enforcement on it’s own. Also the Coast Guard can operate internationally where the U.S. Navy is not welcomed. For all of the reasons I pointed out drjon42u, your suggestions would not be possible.

      • drjon4u2

        Would not it be possible to create a Brown Water Navy Aux that does have law enforcement capabilities? Certainly a Federal Police Armed Force is not something new or unusual. And, such a force could easily be created to do the inland work that, while quasi- military in its attachment, would allow its law enforcement performance under Posse Comataus. Considering its history, The Coast Guard, having begun as a Treasury Tax Arm, as a revenue cutter service that was far far different in its original form, has become a true armed defense force and it begs reason to think that no other change would be impossible to form or contrary to law. We are in a time of extreme debt with no sign of the situation getting better anytime soon. The Coast Guard goes begging and since the Constitution provides for a Navy, its chances of being developed properly would be considerably enhanced by a move to DOD. The duplicate ‘stars’ in the Navy will also have to be culled by the economic reality, but certainly a duplicate sea service really adds a huge degree of administration that cannot be afforded, nor should it be tolerated, because the imagination to make change certainly exists. And to end : On 6 April 1917, with a formal declaration of war, the Coast Guard was
        transferred to the operational control of the Navy. All cutters were to
        report to the nearest Naval District commander and stand by for further
        orders. All normal operations were suspended with the exception of
        rescues pending orders from the Navy. Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels
        directed that although the Coast Guard was then a part of the Navy,
        that most of the administrative details handled by Coast Guard
        Headquarters would not be changed.

        • Tom

          Your suggestion to create a brown water aux navy sounds expensive, with what funding? If that could be funded than there’s no reason not to fund the Coast Guard’s needs. I don’t see the point when the Coast Guard already exist with it’s legal status to enforce law, and provide the Navy with the LE missions that it needs in forward deployed areas and warzones, and also perform it’s military functions. We don’t need a new “naval” arm. Congress needs to do the right thing provide the Coast Guard the funding it needs to carry out our missions. Moving under DoD is not possible, unless Posse Comatatus is repealed, than you open a whole new can of worms with any branch of the military able to enforce law on civilians. And one of the forgotten but most important capabilities of the Coast Guard is to operate and show the flag in parts of the world where a U.S. Navy vessel is not welcome.

          • drjon4u2

            The Brown Water Navy already exists, as the Coast Guard Aux. The savings are administrative. The needs of the Coast Guard will continue to be supplied, and there will be greater efficiency through cross platform utilization. Imagination does not have to be stretched to allow for an armed Navy Aux , because Posse Comatatus does not have to be repealed, only amended, if that is even necessary, especially if the Navy Aux can clearly be defined as a police and safety force. In what places is the US Navy not welcome and the Coast Guard received with open arms? And, I would suggest that whatever mission in those places that said nation does not desire a US Navy presence, then said nation can do without our assistance.

          • Tom

            The Coast Guard Auxiliary is a volunteer unpaid arm of the Coast Guard made up mostly of older retirees, very few who have ever served in the military or as law enforcement. Many are senior citizens. The Coast Guard Auxiliary has no law enforcement or military role, for good reason. They’re primary mission is boating safety and public education. The boats they operate are members individually/ privately owned vessels. It’s not an option to be used in the way you’re suggesting. And the reason for the Coast Guard operating in areas where the U.S. Navy would be considered an unwelcome provocation isn’t to assist but to protect U.S. interests.

          • drjon4u2

            Then change the proposed Aux to include the myriad citizens who desire to do law enforcement with an association to the Navy and still utilize the “old folk” to help with the work. The new Brown Water Navy could easily be used with changes in individual State law. This is NOT an insurmountable problem.

            If we are afraid to use the United States Navy to protect American interests, we are, indeed in a very sorry state, for that IS what the U.S. NAVY is supposed to be used for.

            I do not understand how people can hold to a system that is broken and too expensive without being able to envision a replacement system that will be less expensive and work better with a greater degree of efficiency.

            I suppose that must relate to being comfortable with what is, as opposed to what might be. However, what is cannot be sustained.

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  • James Bowen

    The Coast Guard is severely neglected, even more so than the Navy (which is saying a lot). This certainly is not a cure, but I do think one thing that would help would be to permanently transfer the Coast Guard to the Navy Department (right now that only happens in time of war). DHS has been severely hampered in effectiveness due to politics. For example, they have had their hands tied when it comes to enforcing immigration laws. I really don’t envy anyone who works for DHS at this time. It would be best to transfer the Coast Guard out of this toxic environment.

  • Jim Valle

    The ongoing problem for the Coast Guard is that it lacks the powerful lobbying structures that the other services utilize when they go to Congress for funding. Add to that the fact that there are some Congressmen who are actually hostile to the Coast Guard, viewing it as a “regulatory” agency that helps the rest of the government hobble the free market economy. There was a time when high Reagan Administration officials actually told the commandant of the coast guard that his service was “a carbuncle on the body of government ” or words to that effect and slashed its budget dramatically.
    The Guard has never really recovered from this mindless bloodletting. To help fill the gap the numbers of high endurance cutters it would have been smart to give some of the FFG’s a thorough overhaul and turn them over to the Guard. It would have bought some time while the Legend Class was being filled out.

  • imispgh

    It is extremely unfortunate that so many of our senior military
    leaders lack the same level of political courage as the courage they
    display in the line of duty. The Admiral is misleading the American
    taxpayer so he can help rewrite the actual history regarding what
    occurred here. That endeavor is to protect himself, the leadership he is
    aligned to as well as the defense contractors. Remember the best con
    is one where truth is mixed in with the con.

    Yes the Coast Guard fleet is in horrible shape. The problem is that there
    was a program called Deepwater that was supposed to be fixing that. And
    that program started just after 9/11. The Coast Guard rightfully noted
    similar doom and gloom statistics back then to justify Deepwater. Only
    the difference then was that lack of funding was the real root cause.
    In the past 13 years the root cause of the current situation, which is
    far worse than before, is incompetent leadership in the USCG and the
    defense contractors. Deepwater was fully funded, post 9/11, for the
    first 10 years. That $17B 20 year program has become a more than $30B
    30 year program with only a fraction of what was supposed to be supplied
    by the money we the taxpayers spent. Now the Admiral and others throw
    the same doom and gloom out to shift blame to you the taxpayer via a
    well crafted guilt trip. Search on the Deepwater Program, ICGS, the
    WPB-123s the the RAND study commissioned by the USCG post 9/11. You can
    see article after article and report after report on it.

    The most important tidbit of data the Admiral leaves out is that the
    defense contractors were an unconditional program wide performance
    guaranty that was meant to ensure the USCG and you the taxpayer would
    get what we paid for. The USCG and congress buried that guaranty. That
    guaranty would literally pay for most of the gaps we have now.

    I am hopeful that the Admiral will find the political courage to respond
    to this post. If your reasoning is accurate there should be no reason
    to avoid the discussion. At the very least his call for the guaranty to be exercised would be helpful.

    • imispgh

      And for the record. My name is Michael DeKort. Feel free to search on me. It should explain why I am confronting the Admiral.

      • bpuharic

        Good job on that, by the way.

        • imispgh

          Thank you

      • disqus_r79yFsqpKp

        Yes, from what I remember reading, there were design issues with the electronics systems on the National Security Cutter. Project on Government Oversight was trying to figure out how much the Coast Guard was paying on fixing these design issues such as in regards to secure communication systems. POGO seemed concern that the Coast Guard was covering for the contractor’s mistakes.

        The New York Times also reported about this, but the Coast Guard downplayed the concerns of the NY Times as well as POGO as being premature. However, there was no information in regards to how much was paid by the Coast Guard to fix these discrepancies. Could have the costs been buried into one Engineering Change as an accounting scheme ?

        You were ignored when you brought up that there would be design issues with the secure communications. Was the concern that the Coast Guard covered for the contractor’s mistakes by paying to fix these communication system discrepancies at the expense of the taxpayer ?

        • imispgh

          Yes. Especially since it was covered by a mission performance guaranty. There were several other issues as well.

          • disqus_r79yFsqpKp

            Yes, there is a mission performance guarantee but also contract requirements. It sounds like the concern was that the Coast Guard was covering for the contractor’s failure to comply with the technical requirements as well as the mission performance guarantee.

    • imispgh

      When this article was sent to me I only received the article text and a
      description it was from an Admiral. I assumed a Coast Guard Admiral.
      Now I see that is not the case. My apologies to RADM McKnight. I tried
      to fix the text above but do not see it has changed yet. Should it not
      change please understand I thought I was responding to the comments from
      a USCG Admiral. On that basis my comments stand..

      • disqus_r79yFsqpKp

        From what I’ve read the $17 billion dollar price tag is now $30 billion for the same Deepwater system.

        There
        are economic adjustments that were made to account for this $13 billion
        increase, perhaps some of them include correcting the contractor’s
        discrepancies like on the secure communication systems ?

        Also,
        from what I’ve read of the military dot com discussion boards and online
        such as OSC and MSPB, there is another Deepwater whistleblower named
        Thomas Day. I believe I’ve heard that Thomas Day reported about
        millions of dollars of illegal reimbursements.

        • imispgh

          That is not accurate. The cost of money, inflation etc were in the $17B
          20 year project. Some is legitimate scope chnage. Most is not. Thomas
          Day is whistleblowing on another CG issue not Deepwater.

          • disqus_r79yFsqpKp

            Okay, I see your point about the “cost of money” whereas the proposal of $17 billion accounted for inflation for a 20 year program. The Coast Guard seems to be working hard to apply lessons learned for the Ocean Patrol Craft.

            Yes, there was growth of scope, requirements creep, mission creep, or whatever you want to call it.

            But I see your point with the increase from $17 billion to $30 billion yet with the same amount of cutters and aircraft.

            Perhaps there were a few engineering changes in there to pay Lockheed and Northrop to correct design deficiencies such as with the secure communications systems ?

            Were they not the costs that the Project on Government Oversight were trying to discover from the Deepwater Program Manager ? Did not Project on Government Oversight voice concern that the Coast Guard was going to cover for the contractors by paying to correct these discrepancies through an engineering change ?

            Were they not the design deficiencies that you warned about back when you initially set out as a whistleblower, warning that the same design issues plaguing the patrol boat would plague the other ships like the National Security Cutter ?

          • imispgh

            The CG covered for ICGS by ignoring the guaranty, paying for things they should not have and now asking congress and the taxpayer to cover them.
            Yes there were some legitimate changes that warranted extra cost. But not the majority. And yes issues I raised became design changes on other ships. That change was good. But the CG nor the taxpayer should have had to pay for them. The guaranty should have covered that. As well as for the ships not built, the 123s, and much of the current C4ISR
            “changes” which are really redesigns based on incompetence and cowardly unethical leadership.

          • disqus_r79yFsqpKp

            Unethical in that the contractor was liable for funding those changes, however the Coast Guard end up funding them ? If yes, then why did the Coast Guard do that ?

            Is that is what is being asserted here ? Also, it seems you are asserting that the Coast Guard leadership and its legal advisers were very courageous.

            That is the leadership and its legal advisers displayed a great amount of unethical and corrupt behavior without fearing any repercussions or accountability ? I am bring this up since you mention that it was clear that the contractor was liable but they were never held accountable. That means the leadership and its legal advisers figured out how to avoid holding the contractor liable and accountable ?

          • imispgh

            No I am saying the USCG leadership we not courageous. Far from it. They
            aided the contractors in sacrificing the fleet for their own personal agendas. When we found that guaranty it was easy to see both of them wanted it buried.

          • disqus_r79yFsqpKp

            What do you mean by own personal agendas ? Also how exactly did the Coast Guard lawyers advise the Coast Guard leadership ? After all, should they not have warned them based on what you are saying ?

          • imispgh

            Whose board is Admiral Loy on? Look at the Commandant and Chief of
            Staff pipeline. Plus the CG leadership was trying to avoid being caught
            lax in their oversight. The CG legal team works for the Commandant not
            the other way around

          • disqus_r79yFsqpKp

            So the CG legal team may have violated the American Bar Associations rules by knowingly advising the Coast Guard leadership on how to engage in illegal activities such as with administrating the Coast Guard Deepwater contract ?

            Did you file a complaint with the DHS Inspector General ? If yes, then what did they discover AND report ?

            Not too sure about this Admiral Loy and the “Commandant pipeline”. That sounds like it is nefarious or something. Like Loy is working behind the scenes to make sure that future Commandants are sympathetic to his wishes. I had to do some more research to find out, and yes I did read that Loy is on the board of Lockheed Martin.

            Also, when conducting a search, I found out that the Coast Guard Academy’s leadership center is named after Loy. And that Admiral Allen is the chair for that leadership center. I suspect you would ask me to research more.

            I am very surprised that I would be reading all of this given this is the Coast Guard. It just seems like I would not expect this. So I guess if I would not expect this, then many others would not. Perhaps that is why you have had a hard time getting your message out, since it involves the Coast Guard, not some other agency ?

          • imispgh

            I filed a complaint with the IG.

            The CG legal team under
            direction from DHS and the Commandant sabotaged our FCA by trying to
            claw back a critical doc we found in discovery and by making our CG
            witness unavailable during trial.
            I expected to fight the contractors. But not CG leadership. The people I was trying to help.

          • disqus_r79yFsqpKp

            So the CG legal team violated the American Bar Association rules.

            Also, can the CG legal team be forced to testify before Congress in order to answer for what they have done such as sabotage the FCA ?

            Maybe you were fighting the CG leadership, since really the CG leadership was fighting more for and protecting the contractors than for the CG ? That is what you seem to be implying.

          • disqus_r79yFsqpKp

            Thomas F. Day blew the whistle in June 2010 about illegal costs for a Coast Guard aircraft acquisition program. This acquisition program was part of the new and reformed Deepwater program. You can read more about this on MSPBs website.

          • imispgh

            I know Mr. Day. He is doing great things. My point was only that he did not blow the whistle on Deepwater specific issues.

          • disqus_r79yFsqpKp

            What good things specifically is Mr Thomas F. Day doing ?

            He blew the whistle on a major Coast Guard aircraft acquisition program which use to be part of Deepwater.

            I am not sure what you mean by “Deepwater specific things”.

            Mr Thomas F. Day did blow the whistle in June 2010 as a Coast Guard civil servant employee within the major acquisition office.

          • imispgh

            Again my only point was that Day’s involvement was after the Deepwater contract ended. A technical point only.

    • Ryan R Young

      The Deepwater contractors could not, did not, deliver anything like the performance, either in the platforms or the logistics they were on the hook for, that they promised. The Deepwater concept (System of Systems, aka The Contractor Knows Best) was forced on the Coast Guard by the prevailing political winds of the time, including an un-willingness to staff the Coast Guard up for a $17B program.
      The guarantee provisions were an attempt to avert the “Moral Hazard” of letting the contractors chose the platform mix, sensors, maintenance philosophy, manning, etc, in a way that advantaged THEM. I think the results speak for themselves.
      Leadership failures there may have been, but the flaws in the concept seem, in retrospect, glaring.

      • imispgh

        Thank you for the comment

    • Steven H

      You are either misinformed about some key information, or you are guilty of doing what you accuse the Admiral of: misleading the public.

      The Deepwater program began a number of years before 9/11. It was modified after 9/11. It was never fully funded, and Coast Guard leadership had no reason to expect the 110′ to 123′ program to be such a disaster since the same company had successfully lengthened the 170′ PCs for the Navy to 179′. The issues with the NSC were caused by the Coast Guard being forced to come up with a way to keep these cutters at sea longer than originally expected, combined with the normal level of glitches in a first in class ship. The hulls were designed for certain expected days at sea, and the Coast Guard increased that expected number during the program. Additionally, the problems were grossly exaggerated (except the 123′ conversion) and are nothing more than political hyperbole.

      The fact remains that Deepwater, and the current modernization programs, are all inadequate to meet The needs of this nation. They need to decide whether they are going to give the Coast Guard the assets it needs, or give the assets to the Navy and deploy Coast Guard personnel aboard them. Right now we’re doing neither.

  • Morris Bandy

    Speaking of Perry Class frigates, if the USCG is so strapped for funding why not acquire several of the decommissioned FFGs and use them as National Security Cutters?

    • Why hasn’t the USCG hasn’t taken the Perry class Frigates and turn it into a cutter

    • Steven H

      The idea is to get ships that don’t cost a fortune to maintain. If they wanted to keep shelling out money to keep aging assets around, they would keep their own aging assets.

  • Doroteo J A Chavez

    I was member of the U S Coast Guard in the late sixties and love what I did, port security and search and seizure missions, and in my opinion, we did as much or more than the U S Border Patrol, in keepings drugs from coming in along with looking for illegal immigrants and weapons…Was going to Viet Nam but selected to go to Operation Deep Freeze

  • Ryan R Young

    Admiral McKnight is flat out wrong about the Coast Guard not receiving any OCO funds.

  • seavet

    The Coast Guard has under armed their vessels since the WWII vessels (327, 255, etc.). It reflects the lack of clarity and bipolar continually changing philosophy of sequential Commandants (we are and armed force, no were are the life savers, no were are an “agency). It is, it in my view, the fact that a 429 foot vessel is armed with what amounts to a rapid fire 3” gun is just ridiculous. This vessel is really not prepared to defend itself against multiple small vessels armed with such instruments as the LAWs rockets. Others have pointed to no sonar, no torpedoes, etc is another issue. As an old Squadron 1 guy, we learned how to interdict and provide coastal protection in Vietnam quite well. The Coast Guard is by definition the service that Guards the Coast, and that is what they should be doing.

  • Dan

    As a thirty+ year active duty veteran of the Coast Guard I have seen our mission set grow while or budget remained static or even shrunk. It is the men and women of the Coast Guard who have kept the service going at this heightened pace without missing a step. Aging cutters, doing more with less, and still striving to do the 101% of what is required of us cannot be sustained forever. Unfortunatly, the running gag, Simple Forgotus (take on Semper Paratus) has got from a joke to an expectation. Adm. Allen told congress many years ago that the artic would be an emerging area of concern, he was right. But for the last 30, yes 30 years we have been trying to get funding for 2 new brakers, and as usual we were set of the back burner then the gas was turned off. In the artic, other countries (RU) outnumber our breakers 10 or more to one. Unfortunatly, it will take tha failure of a cutter in its mission, catastrophicaly, for anyone on the hill to take notice. A lead story of the tragic loss of a cutter, public outcry for capitol hill to do something is not the way to address this.

  • Bill Haimes

    The bottom line is that you cannot cover 12 blocks of ocean with 8 blocks of cutters. the NSCs are great ships but too few in number. Coast Guard gets the short end of the stick in Homeland Security. The mission has increased since 9/11 but manning has gone down. The ocean is still the same size as it was 20 years ago. USCG systems are more capable and efficient that ever but that does not make up for a 33% decrease in units. I hope they build more of the MEC replacements to maintain some parity in numbers. I am a squid but I know we Need the Coast Guard.

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