March 01, 2021

Committee Leaders Highlight Need for Updated U.S. Coast Guard Fleet Mix Analysis

Washington, DC – The bipartisan leadership of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee stressed to the U.S. Coast Guard the importance of an updated analysis of its fleet capabilities.  Congress required the Service to provide an updated analysis, given the most recent version is outdated and no longer reflects current threats, missions, or recent experiences involving construction of new cutters.

Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-MO), Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Chair Salud Carbajal (D-CA), and Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Ranking Member Bob Gibbs (R-OH) outlined their concerns and provided a number of questions in a letter to U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Karl Schultz.  They urged the Commandant to address those questions in a Fleet Mix Analysis report mandated by Congress.

The Members listed a number of global developments important to national defense and security since the last Fleet Mix Analysis.  “Such new missions have placed additional demands on the Coast Guard, its people, its platforms, and its budgets, none of which are reflected in the 2011 Fleet Mix Analysis,” the Members wrote.

They also noted that previous Fleet Mix Analyses and updates concluded years ago that the Coast Guard’s cutters were not sufficient to meet mission needs: “As the Coast Guard reports its resultant Fleet Mix requirement numbers, we would like to understand what percentage of missions will be met and, importantly, what it would take to meet 100 percent of the Service’s anticipated offshore missions.”

Under the bipartisan Elijah E. Cummings Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2020, which became law on January 1, 2021, the Coast Guard is required to provide a Report on Fast Response Cutters, Offshore Patrol Cutters, and National Security Cutters; the Members requested the Coast Guard consider the issues they raised in its pending report.  They also requested that the Coast Guard address additional questions in its Report, including questions related to interoperability with the U.S. Navy and other commitments to support the Department of Defense; capabilities in the Arctic, given the increased presence of Russian and Chinese vessels; and the status of the offshore patrol cutter (OPC) program progress, which the Committee continues to closely monitor.

Click here to read the full letter.