The following is the Nov. 30, 2017 Congressional Research Service report, Coast Guard Cutter Procurement: Background and Issues for Congress.
From the Report:
The Coast Guard’s acquisition program of record (POR) calls for procuring 8 National Security
Cutters (NSCs), 25 Offshore Patrol Cutters (OPCs), and 58 Fast Response Cutters (FRCs) as
replacements for 90 aging Coast Guard cutters and patrol craft. The Coast Guard’s proposed
FY2018 budget requests a total of $794 million in acquisition funding for the NSC, OPC, and
NSCs are the Coast Guard’s largest and most capable general-purpose cutters. They have an
estimated average procurement cost of about $695 million per ship. The first six are now in
service (the sixth was commissioned into service on April 1, 2017). The seventh, eighth, and
ninth are under construction; the seventh and eighth are scheduled for delivery in 2018 and 2019,
respectively. As part of its action on the Coast Guard’s FY2017 budget, Congress provided $95
million for procurement of long lead time materials (LLTM) for a 10th NSC. The Coast Guard’s
proposed FY2018 budget requests $54 million in acquisition funding for the NSC program; this
request does not include additional funding for a 10th NSC.
OPCs are to be smaller, less expensive, and in some respects less capable than NSCs. They have
an estimated average procurement cost of about $421 million per ship. The first OPC is to be
funded in FY2018 and delivered in 2021. On September 15, 2016, the Coast Guard announced
that it was awarding a contract with options for building up to nine ships in the class to Eastern
Shipbuilding Group of Panama City, FL. The Coast Guard’s proposed FY2018 budget requests
$500 million in acquisition funding for the OCP program for the construction of the first OPC,
procurement of LLTM for the second OPC, and certain other program costs.
FRCs are considerably smaller and less expensive than OPCs. They have an estimated average
procurement cost of about $65 million per boat. A total of 44 have been funded through FY2017.
The 24 th was commissioned into service on October 31, 2017. The Coast Guard’s proposed
FY2018 budget requests $240 million in acquisition funding for the procurement of four more
The NSC, OPC, and FRC programs pose several issues for Congress, including the following:
- whether to fully or partially fund the acquisition of a 10th NSC in FY2018;
- whether to fund the acquisition of four FRCs in FY2018, as requested, or some
other number, such as six, which is the maximum number that has been acquired
in some prior fiscal years;
- whether to use annual or multiyear contracting for procuring FRCs;
- whether to use annual or multiyear contracting for procuring OPCs;
- the procurement rate for the OPC program;
- planned procurement quantities for NSCs, OPCS, and FRCs;
- the cost, design, and acquisition strategy for the OPC; and
- initial testing of the NSC.
Congress’s decisions on these programs could substantially affect Coast Guard capabilities and
funding requirements, and the U.S. shipbuilding industrial base