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Coast Guard Worried Approved Budget Will Slow Upgrade Program

Coast Guard photo: PA2 Bobby Nash

Coast Guard officials are concerned that a three-year budget appropriation approved Oct. 3  by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee may interfere with an ongoing 15-year capital upgrade program.

Coast Guard Commandant Robert Papp told a House subcommittee Oct. 4 that the Government Accountability Office reached conclusions about the branch’s required capital expenditures using year-old data. The GAO said the Coast Guard needs $1.9 billion per year, while the committee approved $1.5 billion in a re-authorization bill Oct. 3.

Papp said in his testimony that $2.5 billion would be more appropriate to support the Coast Guard’s planned operations.

“Is $1.4 billion enough to do it, well no I don’t think so,” Papp said. “But at the end of the day, I’m given a topline of what I have to fit within.”

Papp also said the Coast Guard followed the GAO’s recommendations to reform the acquisition process and that it has delivered cost savings.

The Coast Guard awarded in September a $482 million contract to Huntington Ingalls for construction of a National Security Cutter. The last award for a NSC was in November 2010 when Huntington Ingalls won a contract for $480 million.

“This demonstrates that the NSC program has turned the learning curve and has tremendous positive momentum — momentum that must be sustained,” Papp said.

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