The following blog was posted by Cmdr. Glynn Smith on behalf of Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Bob Papp.
As Hurricane Irene strikes the eastern seaboard this weekend, your Coast Guard is already responding to help those in need. We remain always ready, and we’ll be there until the job is done.
The U.S. Coast Guard was established by the founding fathers in 1790 with a fleet of 10 cutters to provide the essential services of protecting people, enforcing sovereignty and promoting economic prosperity. Today, the Coast Guard is responsible for protecting those on the sea, protecting Americans from threats delivered by sea and protecting the sea itself.
Coast Guardsmen perform these missions every day. We rely on a fleet of capable ships, aircraft and boats to succeed in the unforgiving maritime environment.
Acquisition of new cutters, aircraft and boats has been challenging at times, but over the past six years we’ve learned by experience and built a corps of the best acquisition professionals who are delivering success in our plans to replace the current aging fleet.
Where are we today? We have delivered two new 418-foot National Security Cutters, which now patrol the high seas, a third will be delivered next month, a fourth is being built and a contract for the fifth is imminent. We also have two 154-foot Fast Response Cutters nearing completion with six more under construction, as well as delivered 12 aircraft and placed orders for three more.
We have constructed new and upgraded existing shore facilities that support the fleet and overhauled our 30 to 40 year old fleet of 35 ships and 169 aircraft to sustain current operations.
This same fleet is responding now to Hurricane Irene as the Coast Guard positions itself to save lives and protect property. In addition to cutters and aircraft stationed along the eastern seaboard, 35 aircraft from around the country, including helicopters and fixed wing reconnaissance plans, are poised to respond to life saving, pollution and disaster response duties.
I am very proud of our Coast Guard men and women who protect our Nation every day. I’m also proud of the Coast Guard’s acquisition professionals for their vital work in replacing the Coast Guard’s fleet of cutters, aircraft and boats.
Admiral Bob Papp
Commandant, United States Coast Guard