The Coast Guard will need to strike the right balance in maintaining its current set of capabilities versus investing to meet future requirements as it navigates a reduced fiscal environment, a top ranking service officer said yesterday.
Vice Adm. John Currier, a Coast Guard deputy commandant, said the service will continue investing in new ships, aircraft and systems for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, but must also keep its current fleet of platforms operational as it deals with budget woes.
“What’s the right balance between spending on today’s priorities and investing in those things that we know we’ll need 40 or 50 years out to confront the model of tomorrow’s challenges and meet tomorrow’s opportunities?” he said at a speaking engagement hosted by the Navy League.
The Coast Guard has begun procuring its fleet of cutters, having recently commissioned the first of its new Sentinel-class Fast Response Cutters, the Bernard C. Webber. The Coast Guard has 12 Sentinel-class FRC’s under contract and can extend the number to 34 under the agreement with Bollinger Shipyards that is potentially worth up to $1.5 billion.
The Coast Guard has so far taken delivery of three of the much larger National Security Cutters and plans to buy eight to the ships from maker Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII).