The Administration’s proposal would also reduce the number of vessels, air facilities and aircraft available to the Coast Guard to carry out its missions. The fleet of large oceangoing cutters would be reduced by 1/3 before replacements for those vessels have been completed. In addition, five recently upgraded helicopters would be mothballed, reducing the Coast Guard’s anti-drug operations in Florida and the Caribbean and hamstringing its nationwide capability to respond to any at-sea terrorist events.
Most egregiously, the Obama budget would cut more than 1,100 Coast Guard military positions, yet it would grow an already bloated Transportation Security Administration (TSA) bureaucracy of over 60,000 by another 4,500 positions. This out of control, top heavy agency already has more than 3,000 administrative staff in its Washington, DC headquarters with average salaries over $100,000, and another 8,700 administrators and managers across the country.
We should significantly cut this excessively large administrative bureaucracy before slashing our men and women of the Coast Guard and their capability to secure this nation’s ports and waterways.
The federal government has a responsibility to be a good steward of the taxpayers’ dollars, but we cannot compromise our capacity to secure our nation. The Administration’s budget proposal represents the wrong priorities. It is simply irresponsible and unacceptable.