Chairman John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV applauded Senate passage of the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2012. The legislation authorizes the U.S. Coast Guard's funding levels for fiscal years 2013 and 2014, extends the Coast Guard's major acquisitions authorities, and provides the Coast Guard the essential tools it needs to successfully carry out its eleven statutory missions.
"We have come to expect the brave men and women of the Coast Guard to respond admirably and lead more and more large scale maritime crises such as the earthquake in Haiti, the BP oil spill, and Hurricane Katrina," said Rockefeller. "The Coast Guard deploys and operates every day throughout our nation to protect our maritime interests, save lives, and guard our coasts, but with ever-strained resources. In West Virginia alone, the Coast Guard is responsible for securing the Port of Huntington, our nation's largest Inland Waterways Port, as well as the Ohio and Kanawha Rivers. I'm particularly proud that the Coast Guard runs its Operations Systems Center in Martinsburg that supports the information technology systems for the entire Service. This bipartisan bill ensures the Coast Guard will have the necessary authority and funds to carry out its three overarching roles of maritime security, safety, and stewardship."
The Senate-amended version of the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2012, H.R. 2838, is now awaiting action in the House of Representatives. Key components of the bill will:
Authorize funding and personnel levels for the U.S. Coast Guard for fiscal years 2013 and 2014 and make a number of needed refinements to the statutory authorities of the Coast Guard.
Enhance the Coast Guard's major acquisitions authorities, extending current authority through 2015 for expedited hiring of major acquisitions experts to work on the Coast Guard's critical fleet recapitalization; authorize advance procurement authority for the purchase of new ship construction materials, parts, and components that have a long "lead time" for their manufacture or production; and enable the Coast Guard to enter into a multi-year contract for the procurement of additional National Security Cutters--the flagship of the Coast Guard's recapitalized surface fleet.
Refine the Coast Guard authorities relating to its ice operations mission, the most important of which would be to make the Coast Guard the sole provider of polar icebreaking services to agencies of the federal government. The bill will require the Coast Guard to maintain its current heavy polar icebreakers as part of its fleet.