• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Laying the Keel for National Security Cutter: The Framework for Maritime Security

    Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Robert Papp recently oversaw the keel laying ceremony of the newest National Security Cutter (NSC), the Hamilton.

    Fittingly, this vessel is one of the fleet of NSCs to replace the outgoing Hamilton-class cutters, which have been in service since the 1960s. Yet while the outgoing geriatric fleet is in obvious need of replacement, the Obama Administration wishes to cut the NSCs from the Coast Guard’s required level of eight to just six vessels, seemingly for no reason other than cutting costs.

    The NSC is the only option going forward for the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard originally intended to replace the outgoing Hamilton class with 16 NSCs. It then agreed to halve that fleet to eight, but no one—not the commandant, not Congress—has indicated that a further reduction is acceptable from a security perspective.

    Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano tried to explain away this foolish reduction by saying the decision was made “in light of what the Navy is doing.” That justification is both confusing and irresponsible.

    Contrary to what the Administration’s actions would indicate, the seas are not calming. Even as the President wishes to cut the NSC fleet, he has made a commitment to the Asia-Pacific region as an emerging area of U.S. security interests. Among the many talents of the NSC are its blue water capability and its ability to cooperate with both the U.S. Navy and allied maritime forces, making it well suited to the Pacific.

    The Coast Guard also intends to operate the NCS in the Arctic region, where various national and business interests have increased over the years due to receding ice caps and the potential for vast natural resources.

    Admiral Papp, at a previous NSC ceremony, proclaimed, “Directly behind me, you see the future.” The NSC is unprecedented in virtually every way: range, power, speed, versatility of missions, etc. The commandant understands how critical this vessel is to his sea service and to national security as a whole.

    Congress should reverse the Administration’s penny-wise, pound-foolish decision and properly fund the entire required fleet of the NSC.

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    Comments are closed.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×