GOP rep: Coast Guard should be under Pentagon, not DHS

GOP rep: Coast Guard should be under Pentagon, not DHS
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Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) is asking President Trump to move Coast Guard oversight from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to the Defense Department, citing a lack of funds under the DHS.

“Over time, the Coast Guard’s mission importance has not been properly recognized or advocated for — as demonstrated by years of underfunded budget requests, and perhaps most clearly, by this year’s grossly inadequate proposed Office of Management and Budget funding guidance,” Hunter wrote Trump in a letter Thursday.

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The White House’s first spending outline, released earlier Thursday, does not include budget details on Coast Guard funding. But reports emerged last week that Trump was seeking a 14 percent cut in the organization’s budget, from $9.1 billion to $7.8 billion.

White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney has since told reporters the numbers were “not accurate,” but did not offer more information.

In his letter, Hunter says the Coast Guard is primarily funded under the DHS with nondefense discretionary dollars, which he said “serves to the disadvantage of the Coast Guard and denies the service proper alignment with its [DOD] counterparts.”

“First and foremost, the Coast Guard is a military force. It deserves to be housed in a department that recognizes the importance of its mission, and has the capabilities to properly advocate for greatly needed resources. I urge your Administration to seriously consider moving the Coast Guard to the Department of Defense, and I stand ready to work with you to provide the necessary authorities.”

Hunter, the chairman of the House Transportation subcommittee on the Coast Guard, asked Trump last month to buy more icebreakers for the Coast Guard to counter Russian moves in the Arctic.