Congressman Steven Palazzo, (MS-4) today questioned Commandant of the Coast Guard, Admiral Robert J. Papp, on his ability to meet mission demands under changing budget realities. In 2013, budgets faced disproportionate and damaging cuts due to sequestration. In January 2014, Congress passed and the president signed into law a two-year budget bill that alleviated further cuts and allocated funds for the seventh and eighth National Security Cutters (NSC). All previous NSC's have been built at Huntington Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Mississippi.
In response to Palazzo's questions, Admiral Papp stated: "No service chief would ever come here and say 'I've got all the money I want.' And I don't have all the money I would like… At a certain point, I am told what my top line is and then I have to juggle and balance and make some compromises from time to time to make sure that we are taking care of current day operations. But also planning for the future so that those future Coast Guardsmen will have the right tools to work with twenty, thirty, forty years from now. So it has been a balancing act. But we did not think we were going to get to eight national security cutters, and we are on the verge of getting that right now. And we are very close to doing a down-select for three candidates to design the off-shore patrol cutter. I am very optimistic about that program."
Palazzo concluded his remarks: "We need to get our financial affairs in order and we have to do that by addressing the number one driver of our deficit and of our debt, and that's out-of-control mandatory spending, so that we can continue to fund the US Coast Guard. Because not only the men and women in the Coast Guard deserve it but Americans expect it."
The budget was the first passed in several years and ends a period of budget uncertainty under continuing resolutions.
For Palazzo's full exchange with Admiral Papp, click here<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPo6FN1O0dM> or on the photo below.
"We did not think we were going to get to eight national security cutters, and we are on the verge of getting that right now."