With a new name-plate freshly nailed to his Senate office, so to speak, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY.) is proposing shifting authority over the United States Coast Guard from the Department of Homeland Security to the Defense Department, according to an overview of a proposed bill that aims to cut $500 billion from federal spending.
Cutting the defense budget was once an “eccentric” idea, but Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates efficiencies initiatives have put that notion to rest, the bill overview argues.
“National defense is the primary constitutional function of the federal government. However, that does not mean that the Department of Defense should receive a blank check without serious oversight,” the proposal reads.
Among the policy proposals, the proposed bill would shift the Coast Guard to from DHS to DoD, to “promote uniformity, administrative savings and reduce duplicative functions.”
Before DHS was created in 2003, the Coast Guard was under the authority of the Department of Transportation. However, even under the official auspices of DHS, the Coast Guard works under the Navy after a declaration of war or a presidential order, according to Defense News.
And, since the start of the Iraq War, the Coast Guard has done extensive work for DoD. Because of that, “common sense would suggest a move,” to the Pentagon, the proposal states.
Paul’s proposal also includes transferring the primary functions of the Department of Energy to DoD, including nuclear weapon procurement and the disposal of nuclear waste.