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U.S. Coast Guard Making Drastic Cuts, Citing Recruiting Woes

U.S. Coast Guard Making Drastic Cuts, Citing Recruiting Woes

Coast Guard is undermanned by 3,500 enlisted personnel, or almost 10% of its workforce, mandating significant cuts to force capabilities

We have previously reported on recent military recruiting problems, which have affected all branches of the armed forces:

These reports show, despite Department of Defense excuses, that the Biden Administration’s woke, transgender makeover of the military is having negative consequences for military recruiting.

Apparently, the U.S. Navy, Army, Air Force, and Marines are not the only national security forces having problems.

From Forbes comes an alarming article concerning the Coast Guard, which has major national security missions to accomplish, including interdicting drug smuggling and illegal immigrants of all stripes on the high seas, maritime search and rescue, and other important missions.

Just for a minor flavor of the incredible risks Coast Guard personnel face when conducting search and rescue, check out this very short introductory video:

The fact that you almost never hear about the work the Coast Guard does every day means they are doing it right.

But now we find out that the Coast Guard faces huge manpower, seagoing ship, and basing reductions from the combined power of recruiting woes and funding cuts, with manpower shortages the major contributing factor.

From Forbes: Personnel Shortage At U.S. Coast Guard Sinks 10 Cutters, 29 Stations:

Recruitment and retention challenges have led the U.S. Coast Guard into a system-wide service retreat. A 3500-person shortfall—a nearly 10% shortage in the enlisted ranks—is forcing the Coast Guard to take ten cutters out of service, transfer five tugs to seasonal activation, and shutter 29 boat stations.

The moves, couched as a bland “AY 24 Force Alignment Initiative”, present an unprecedented loss of maritime capability at a time when the United States is facing an array of complex challenges at sea. But the Coast Guard simply “cannot maintain the same level of operations” going forward.

In the AY24 plan introduction, Coast Guard Commandant Linda Fagan and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard (MCPOCG) Heath Jones note that “[c]onducting our missions is often inherently dangerous, and doing so without enough crew puts our members and the American public at increased risk.”

So, what kind of cuts are we talking about? Forbes explains:

The cuts to the Coast Guard cutter fleet are deep and unexpected.

Three east-coast based Reliance-class cutters, the USCGC Confidence (WMEC-619), the USCGC Dauntless(WMEC-624) and the USCGC Dependable (WMEC-626), will each enter layup in mid 2024, becoming little more than in-reserve “parts-barns” for active, in-service cutters. Add in the March retirement of the Decisive (ex-WMEC-629) with the long-planned retirement of the USCGC Steadfast (WMEC-623) later this year, and the loss of Coast Guard cutter capability becomes quite significant.

If the cuts are allowed to go through, the Coast Guard will, the space of two years, have cut their fleet of mid-sized oceanic workhorses by almost 19 percent. And, once the capability is lost, help is not coming anytime soon. Modern replacements, the Offshore Patrol Cutters, are years behind schedule. The first Heritage-class OPC, the future USCGC Argus (OPC-1), is, at best, two years from seeing an operational deployment, and the Stage II Heritage-class cutters may face additional challenges.

Put in naval terms, the Coast Guard cuts are incredibly drastic.

This will have almost immediate effects in the area of drug and illegal immigrant maritime interdiction. Although the southern border gets all the press, many illegals come to the U.S. by sea, as Forbes relates:

The soon-to-depart cutters were not troubled, pier-bound slouches. They made a real difference, and their absence will be felt throughout the United States. USCGC Confidence, returning from a 62-day, 9,000-mile deployment this Fall, halted the flow of some $85 million dollars of illicit substances into the United States and rescued 42-migrants aboard an unsafe, makeshift vessel. In August, USCGC Dauntless completed a 42-day patrol, highlighted by the rescue of an overloaded 60-ft vessel with 274 people aboard.

While old, the ships handled a ferocious operational tempo. In the first 182 days of 2023, slated-to-retire USCGC Dependable was on deployment for 92 of them. While embarked, the ship recovered 1100 pounds of illicit contraband and interdicted/processed some 800 migrants.

Forbes tries to sugar coat the cuts:

The cuts, however painful, make sense. The Reliance-class cutters, all approaching six decades of service, are some of the oldest ships in the Coast Guard’s already venerable fleet. As cutter repair costs and operational casualties grow, the Coast Guard cannot afford to keep the old, solid-state vessels operational, at sea and relevant in the increasingly contested, high-tech maritime….

Action was overdue. Despite a brave face, the Coast Guard has struggled for years to keep remote bases operational and big cutters at sea….

Admiral Fagan’s tough action to cut Coast Guard services is a healthy break from the past. Traditionally, Coast Guard personnel shortfalls were masked, spread across the fleet, leaving the short-handed cutter fleet to muddle through a blistering operational tempo and demanding mission requirements.

Coast Guard commentators are not buying it:



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Oi always wanted to koi the Coast Guard

I don’t think they are advertising to the right people

Conservative towns, rual

Nobody wants to go to sea with a bunch of trannies and proggie morons?

Who knew?

    alaskabob in reply to Paul. | November 8, 2023 at 12:30 am

    Take the hint from SNL… christen (!!???) one cutter :”The Raging Queen”. Another “Cutter Discipline”. Change the red paint to hot pink….

      diver64 in reply to alaskabob. | November 8, 2023 at 4:21 pm

      The Raging Queen is actually a pretty good name. Much better than that gay pedophile Harvey Milk having a ship named after him but Im afraid it would be mistaken for one of Her Majesty’s ships. I don’t consider Charley a proper King to be taken seriously

Subotai Bahadur | November 7, 2023 at 8:20 pm

“This will have almost immediate effects in the area of drug and illegal immigrant maritime interdiction.”

Those effects are probably not incidental, but rather intentional

Subotai Bahadur

What a coincidence, let’s illegals and drug running come over the water

Hire the cartel

Might as well

Why do we need to protect our coasts anymore, when man, a land animal can get in much easier just by walking?

    Much of the Coast Guard’s work is rescue — there will be many more drowned and stranded at sea (and not only illegal aliens) with this reduction of force. Pleasure boating is due to become much less pleasurable when there is no local CG station to answer the calls of engine failure, bottom ripped open on reef, etc.

      henrybowman in reply to Bisley. | November 9, 2023 at 3:15 am

      When I break down on the highway, I call a tow truck, not the Department of Transportation. It’s a viable (and preferable) business model, even when you substitute water for asphalt.

I hear this same sentiment time and time again

    diver64 in reply to catscradle. | November 8, 2023 at 4:24 pm

    As a veteran I never thought I’d say this but I’d take a serious look at both the conflict and CIC before signing up. Daughter and SIL are active duty and I have real misgivings about the competency of not only this administration but the military leadership. It’s worse than people think from what I’ve heard