Continued Support of New Assets 

With 11 statutory missions ranging from aids to navigation, ice operations and marine environmental protection, to drug interdiction and defense readiness, the U.S. Coast Guard leverages all its available resources to execute its Congressionally mandated responsibilities. 

By Capt. James K. Inglasbe, P.E., USCG  

   


 The Coast Guard is in the midst of a major recapitalization of its air assets, including procuring 22 new, fully missionized HC-130J aircraft (above leaving Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C.). Six HC-130Js are currently operational, with two more expected to be fully mission capable in early 2016. New aviation assets will require investments in supporting shore infrastructure. U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO BY DAVE SILVA

The Coast Guard is in the midst of a major recapitalization of its air assets, including procuring 22 new, fully missionized HC-130J aircraft (above leaving Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C.). Six HC-130Js are currently operational, with two more expected to be fully mission capable in early 2016. New aviation assets will require investments in supporting shore infrastructure. U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO BY DAVE SILVA


 

The U.S. Coast Guard serves a unique and diverse role—a branch of the Armed Forces, a member of the intelligence community, a humanitarian service, and a maritime law enforcement and federal regulatory agency.

While the Coast Guard’s legacy is strong, our future challenges perhaps have never been greater. We face necessary fiscal constraints while executing a broadening mission set in a complex and dynamic envi­ronment—one that is hindered by aging platforms and crumbling infrastructure.

As we move forward, the Coast Guard’s FY2016 Budget reflects the Commandant’s three priorities: Invest in the 21st Century Coast Guard; Sustain Mission Excellence; and Maximize Service to the Nation.

 

ASSET RECAPITALIZATION

The Coast Guard remains focused on executing a multi-year $30 billion acquisi­tion program. At the core of this, the larg­est acquisition program in the service’s 224-year history, is the recapitalization of its surface fleet. Three new classes of assets, the Legend-class National Security Cutter (NSC), the Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC), and the Sentinel-class Fast Response Cutter (FRC), are at various stages of acquisition.

To date, four NSCs have been commis­sioned and are currently operational. Two additional NSCs are under construction. The seventh has begun fabrication and production of the eighth and final NSC was awarded on March 31, 2015.

Three preliminary contract design contracts have been awarded for the OPC. One vendor will be selected to complete Phase II, which will include detailed design and options for construction of up to nine OPCs. A total of 32 FRCs have been ordered as well, with six currently in service. The FY2016 Budget will provide $533.9 million for surface asset recapitalization and sustainment initiatives.

The delivery of new surface assets will require investments in shore infrastruc­ture. The Coast Guard’s Major Acquisition Systems Infrastructure Program provides for the necessary homeport improvements, shore power upgrades and shore-side support buildings.

The Coast Guard also is in the midst of recapitalizing its air assets. The FY2016 Budget provides $200 million for five sepa­rate programs covering up to eight differ­ent asset platforms that are concurrently underway. The Long Range Surveillance Aircraft Program will provide 22 new, fully missionized HC-130J aircraft to replace the existing fleet of older HC-130Hs. Six HC-130Js are currently operational, with two more expected to be fully mission capable in early 2016.

The Medium Range Surveillance Aircraft Program includes the acquisition of the HC-144A Ocean Sentry and the receipt of the C-27J aircraft from the Air Force. All 18 of the planned HC-144s have been delivered and are operational out of Coast Guard Air Stations Mobile, Ala.; Cape Cod, Mass.; Miami, Fla.; and Corpus Christi, Texas. Two of the planned 14 C-27Js have been reactivated, cleared for flight, and are in the Coast Guard’s possession.

The Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Program is working to augment the aviation fleet with both land-based and cutter-based systems. A land-based UAS is needed to enhance the Coast Guard’s ocean surveil­lance capabilities while the cutter-based UAS will provide the NSC with persistent airborne surveillance capability.

The final two programs in the air asset recapitalization portfolio include upgrades of the H-60 Jayhawk medium-range recov­ery helicopter and the H-65 Dolphin short-range recovery helicopter. The H-60 conversion and sustainment program was completed in February 2014 with the delivery of the final of 42 H-60 Jayhawk helicopters. Thus far, 88 of the 102 planned H-65 Dolphin helicopters have completed the upgrade process, which includes new engines, avionics and other capabilities.

Infrastructure support of new and upgraded aviation assets also is supported through the Major Acquisition Systems Infrastructure Program. Current plans include projects to improve and upgrade existing facilities, build a new depot maintenance hangar for medium-range surveillance aircraft, and construct a visual simulator building.

 


In addition to providing the initial response to make interim repairs and re-establish operational capability, Coast Guard Civil Engineers were tasked with developing and award­ing 12 recapitalization projects ranging from $3.4 million to $56 million in an 18-month timeframe—less than half the normal lead time.


  

SHORE FACILITIES INVESTMENT

The Coast Guard continues to prioritize the allotted maintenance and new construc­tion accounts to maintain its $18 billion shore plant. The FY2016 Budget provides $101.4 million to recapitalize shore infra­structure that support assets and person­nel. This includes projects for new surface and air assets under the Major Acquisition Systems Infrastructure Program.

Planned shore-based Acquisition, Construction, and Improvement (AC&I) projects include pier improvements in Little Creek, Va., to facilitate a 210-ft medium endurance cutter homeport shift; renova­tion and restoration of the outdated and failing electrical system at Air Station Barbers Point, Hawaii; the first phase of the replacement of dry-dock facilities at the Coast Guard Yard in Baltimore that have surpassed their service life; erosion control work at Station Siuslaw River, Ore.; and permanent facilities at Station Vallejo, Calif. AC&I funding is equivalent to Department of Defense MILCON funding.

Approximately $190 million in depot-level shore maintenance was allotted to the Coast Guard in FY2015. Depot-level facility maintenance projects are executed by the Shore Infrastructure Logistics Center through six regional Civil Engineering Units. The units carry out all planning, design, contracting and construction management functions.

  

Coast Guard Station Sandy Hook, N.J.Coast Guard Station Sandy Hook, N.J., shown following the destruction of Superstorm Sandy. USCG PHOTO


   

BUILDING RESILIENCY

The destruction wrought by Superstorm Sandy in fall 2012 prompted Congress to authorize approximately $274 million of emergency aid to the Coast Guard. In addition to providing the initial response to make interim repairs and re-establish operational capability, Coast Guard Civil Engineers were tasked with developing and award­ing 12 recapitalization projects ranging from $3.4 million to $56 million in an 18-month timeframe—less than half the normal lead time. The projects all were awarded on time and are in various stages of design and construction. In anticipation of continued sea-level rise, engineers had the foresight to utilize the 500-year flood plain as the design basis for all resilient buildings, which would later be supported by the January 2015 Revised Guidelines for Implementing Executive Order 11988, Floodplain Management. These standards required projects to be built outside the flood plain or to elevation above the flood plain, ensuring sufficient structural capacity to withstand wave action and scouring of foundations.

The work that will receive the largest investment is at Coast Guard Station Sandy Hook, N.J. The storm demolished the station’s entire waterfront. Every structure was severely impacted. Two cutters had to be relocated to nearby Bayonne, N.J. The Sandy Hook project will include construction of a new multi-mission building and a rebuild of the waterfront, boat maintenance facility and small arms firing range.

  

REMAINING ALWAYS READY

The Coast Guard will face budget­ary pressures for the foreseeable future. Sound stewardship of existing resources and prioritization of strategic investments that enhance mission effectiveness, reduce lifecycle costs and build resiliency will be vital to long-term operational excellence.

Consistent with our Commandant’s stated priorities, our extraordinary team of active duty, reserve, civilian and auxil­iary men and women will continue to “Maximize Service to the Nation” as we face the challenges of the 21st century.    

 


 

Capt. James K. Ingalsbe, P.E., USCG, is Chief, Office of Civil Engineering, U.S. Coast Guard; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

“The views herein are those of the author and are not to be construed as official or reflecting the views of the Commandant or of the U. S. Coast Guard