Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Chairman Duncan Hunter (R-CA), held the panel's first hearing of the 113th Congress today on the U.S. Coast Guard's allocation of its personnel and resources among its multiple missions, as well as on how the Service measures mission performance.
The hearing focused on the Coast Guard's ability to perform all of its 11 statutory missions, which are divided into "Non-Homeland Security" and "Homeland Security" missions, ranging from search and rescue, ice breaking, and marine environmental protection, to port security and drug interdiction.
Referring to the importance of the Coast Guard's various missions, Hunter stated, "That is why the Subcommittee wants to ensure the Service retains its core competencies and acquires the assets needed for its response missions and day-to-day prevention work."
Hunter highlighted the DHS Inspector General's recent annual review of Coast Guard mission performance objectives for fiscal year 2011. "The report indicated that the Coast Guard's total number of mission resource hours -- the number of flight hours for aircraft and underway hours for boats and cutters-- had fallen by 12 percent over the last five fiscal years," Hunter said. "The Inspector General largely attributed the reduction in patrol hours to the fact that the Coast Guard's fleets of aircraft and vessels are no longer reliable, having surpassed their service lives and become increasingly prone to failures.
"Representing southern California, I am particularly concerned about the Service's ability to secure our borders against illegal drugs and migrants, and maintain its defense readiness. As the new Chairman of the Subcommittee, I look forward to working closely with the Coast Guard and my colleagues to get new assets operating as quickly as possible and to find other ways to improve readiness and enhance mission performance in a cost-effective manner."