Focus on defense budgets leaves Coast Guard high and dry

Focus on defense budgets leaves Coast Guard high and dry
By Jeffrey E. Phillips, opinion contributor — 11/04/18, The Hill

Congratulations to Congress for passing the fiscal year 2019 defense budget. We won’t begrudge the accolades that resounded in Capitol Hill offices on the occasion of lawmakers simply having done their job. Yet the job isn’t fully done. The U.S. Coast Guard, essential to homeland security, remains unfunded for next year.

The Coast Guard and its reserve are managed and funded from two sections of federal law: Title 10, which governs the Department of Defense (DOD),  under whose control Coast Guard units may operate in war; and Title 14, which governs the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The 2019 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill would be the primary source of Coast Guard funding.

The Coast Guard is operating under a continuing resolution, its 34th CR since the start of FY 2010. As is the case with the other armed services, CRs erode readiness at a time when security threats are high — and increasing.

As America’s maritime first responder, our Coast Guard must be “ready, relevant and responsive,” as its guiding principles state. Integral to its readiness, the Coast Guard Reserve must respond to all hazards within 48 hours.

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