Coast Guard 2018 Budget Proposal Funds First Offshore Patrol Cutter
By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor
ARLINGTON, Va. — The lead ship of the Coast Guard’s new Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC) is funded in the Homeland Security Department’s 2018 budget request. The ship is to be delivered in 2021 and pave the way for the retirement of the service’s medium-endurance cutters.
The Coast Guard would be allocated $10.7 billion for fiscal 2018, $428 million less than that of fiscal 2016’s enacted total of $11.1 billion, which also was about the same for 2017’s continuing resolution.
The 2018 budget proposes $500 million for the first OPC, plus $240 million for the purchase of four more Sentinel-class Fast Response Cutters.
The Coast Guard is requesting $19 million for detailed design and construction of a new polar icebreaker, but the Navy’s budget proposes zero funding for this effort. The chief of naval operations, Adm. John Richardson, acknowledged the zero funding to the Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee on May 24, but noted that the Navy continues to provide program support.
The Coast Guard proposed $1.1 million to analyze options to replace its obsolete fleet of inland river tenders and western river tenders, all of which were built between 1944 and 1990.
The service is allocating $52 million to continue to ready the service’s 14 C-27J aircraft and missionize them for service as HC-27J maritime patrol aircraft.
In 2018, the Coast Guard plans to decommission one of its four remaining Secretary-class 378-foot high-endurance cutters, which are being replace by the Legend-class national security cutters. The service also will decommission four 110-foot Island-class patrol boats and one HC-130H Hercules maritime patrol aircraft.
The Coast Guard also has allocated $98.6 million for operations and maintenance of new ships, aircraft and shore facilities and $26.2 million for cyber security and mission-essential systems.