The 2017 Coast Guard Budget was done by Obama in February 2016. One can almost say, his budget was designed to help the drug dealers instead of keeping our coastline safe. His budget only called for purchasing and fitting of $704.1 million for vessels; $201.3 million for aircraft; and $51.1 million for shore projects. They were required to slim down the budget yet still maintain a high degree of efficiency and response. The budget request was $6.99 billion to operate and maintain Coast Guard assets and sustain essential front-line operations.
Trump somehow has forgotten the importance and significance of the Coast Guard in his 2018 budget according to Rep. Duncan Hunter. His Fox News op-ed posted on March 7, 2017 is titled “Slashing the Coast Guard’s budget is an appalling mistake that puts our nation at risk”.
“…there is another service of equal importance to U.S. national security that consistently fails to receive the same treatment and respect, not just from commanders in chief but the entire federal government, including Congress.
The Coast Guard, operating on an already shoestring budget of $9 billion, is being targeted by OMB for a cut of $1.3 billion in the next fiscal year. A dramatic cut of such magnitude is appalling and should alarm Americans given the Coast Guard’s complex and expansive mission in protection of America’s shores and waterways.
One of two scenarios is plausible. Either OMB is responsible for this negligence or the President and his leadership team are content with reducing the Coast Guard to bare bones. In all likelihood, the proposed cut is likely the exclusive doing of OMB due to its incongruity with the President’s stated goals to rebuild the military—something he has stated with resounding consistency.”
Their service is probably one of the least understood and hardest working of homeland enforcement across the country. Those who live inland would have little understanding of how vast their responsibilities really are unless they have reason to need them. The official shoreline estimate from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is 95,471 miles as calculated seventy years ago, though really we have no idea just how big the coastline is that the Coast Guard is required to patrol.
All of this is handled according to 2015 government figures by 40,075 active personnel and 7,417 reserve personnel. These personnel were responsible for removing and destroying 144.8 metric tons of cocaine in 2015 which was estimated to only be eleven percent or so of what was believed to have come through. At the same time according to estimates, U.S. Coast Guard men and women responded to more than 2,500 incidents in 2015 that resulted in more than “200 lives saved, over 3,800 lives assisted and over $5,365,000 in property saved.”
To put it into perspective at the same date in 2015, the largest branch was the Army with almost 500,000; the Navy had just over 320,000; the Marines had just under 200,000 active duty personnel. Every military force was reduced in the 2017 Budget despite their needs and their aging transportation and equipment.
Coast Guard does not normally carry medical doctors nor any unnecessary personnel. They go out when storms are at their worst, jump into frigid water to save people, or can be found when night is at its darkest scanning for drug runners. They assist stranded boaters, search vessels, patrol for illegal activities wherever required and coordinate with other agencies or countries in order to fulfill assignments. Their patrol routes often include checking buoys, answering distress calls, sweeping marshlands or rocky shorelines, in big hub city harbors monitoring activities, and using ice breaking equipment. Their routes can range from our own waterways to outside of our legal limits or even to overseas ports.
Their job requires split-second timing, dedication, intensive training, and is often highly dangerous. Yet, for some reason they seem to have been relegated to a minor role in border patrol and national security. Theirs is a war zone every time they leave the office where not only human but environmental hazards take a toll. Yet they have less than the number of crew, ships, helicopters, and equipment necessary to keep themselves and those they serve safe.
Hopefully, those that read and agree will quickly contact Trump’s email to remind him before the budget is finished about the service this nearly forgotten group performs and the need for these brave crews to finally get the attention, the funds, and the respect they deserve. Contact congressmen and state representatives to remind them as well just what an important job the Coast Guard does for them.