Study Says U.S. Coast Guard Requires Double Its Current Appropriations

A Rand Institute study states that, based on its current acquisition schedule, the Deepwater Program assets are inadequate to meet the USCG?s traditional missions and its emerging responsibilities. The study suggests increasing funding by $8 billion to $16.2 billion and accelerating the modernization program by five to ten years.

John Birkler, the lead author of the report, says ?The Coast Guard needs the capability of twice the number of cutters and a third more aircraft than Deepwater foresees. Experts say the Coast Guard has been underfunded and understaffed for years and cannot meet the security demands of the country fighting a war on terror.?

The USCG, now part of the Department of Homeland Security, is in charge of maritime security. Its traditional mission of halting drug smuggling, illegal aliens, illegal fishing, and marine pollution has been eclipsed by its new duties of protecting 95,000 miles of U.S. coastal waters.

The Rand Study also suggest that lawmakers explore new technologies and tactics, such as using offshore oil rigs as bases or unmanned aerial vehicles, to possibly improve security performance and to keep costs low.