An Overview of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Missions
2253 Rayburn House Office Building
Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream
Official Hearing Transcript
Chairman Duncan Hunter (R-CA)
April 15, 2015
The Subcommittee is meeting this afternoon to review how the Coast Guard allocates its assets and personnel to carry out each of its eleven statutory missions, as well as the challenges the Service faces in performing its missions and measuring its performance.
Under section 2 of title 14, the Coast Guard is responsible for a wide range of missions, from search and rescue, ice breaking, and marine environmental protection, to port security and drug interdiction. In fiscal year 2014, the Service responded to over 17,500 search and rescue cases, saving over 3,400 lives; conducted over 21,000 safety, security, and environmental inspections of U.S and foreign flagged vessels; and interdicted over 3,587 undocumented migrants and 140 metric tons of illegal drugs.
These are impressive numbers, but they do not tell us exactly how well the Coast Guard is performing. One of the best ways to gauge the Coast Guard’s capability to carry out its missions is to review mission performance data. In 2014, the Service used 23 different performance measures to track its success in meeting its mission goals. The Service stated that it met or exceeded 15 of 23, or 65 percent, of its performance measures.
In December 2014, the DHS Inspector General released its annual review of Coast Guard mission performance objectives for fiscal year 2013. The report indicated that the Coast Guard’s total number of mission resource hours — the number of flight hours for aircraft and underway hours for boats and cutters — had fallen by 17 percent since 2011.
The Coast Guard has attributed the reduction in patrol hours and other issues effecting readiness to the fact that its fleets of aircraft and vessels are no longer reliable, having surpassed their service lives and become increasingly prone to failures.
Representing southern California, I am particularly concerned about the Service’s ability to secure our borders against illegal drugs and migrants, and maintain its defense readiness. I look forward to working closely with the Coast Guard and my colleagues to get new assets operating as quickly as possible and to find other ways to improve readiness and enhance mission performance in a cost-effective manner.
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