In Forbes: Coast Guard Yard Funding–Staying Alive

by Craig Hooper on September 8, 2021

Well, we’ve come a long way from where we started four months ago–back when I pointed out that the Coast Guard Yard was left entirely out of the Shipyard Act, a massive, $25 billion dollar effort to fund all the emergent needs at the Navy’s four public shipyards. Now, it looks like my pestering may well be paying off, helping the oft-ignored Coast Guard Yard get millions in much-needed development funding.

My initial essay about the SHIPYARD Act had the unfortunate side effect of irking Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) (an un-fun experience!), but it spurred the Senator to add in $350 million for Baltimore’s Coast Guard Yard to the SHIPYARD Act, and then to plug in the $350 million to a range of other pro-Coast Guard legislation (story here). Then, Republicans in the Senate sadly over-reached on infrastructure, taking an an easy-to-pass-if-presented-separately potential amendment to boost Coast Guard funding and glomming it into an inflated, impossible to pass/poison-pill package with a whole bunch of extra (but also needed) defense stuff.

And now, (as detailed in my latest story, here) Representative Elaine Luria (VA-2) has, over at HASC, tacked on a $175 million dollar amendment in support of the Coast Guard Yard, focusing on getting the efficient little shipyard ready to maintain National Security Cutters, Offshore Patrol Cutters, icebreakers and potentially vessels up to about the size of the Virginia Class submarine. I think it’ll pass.

It better, anyway.

And, with Mike Gallagher’s big, but potentially troubled $370 million effort to get a Great Lakes icebreaker running cover in the NDAA (more on this later), I think Luria may close the deal. It’d be nice if the Coast Guard could better articulate the rest of the shipyard’s unmet needs (and, for that matter, articulate the rest of the Coast Guard’s estimated $3 billion in unmet needs across the enterprise), because I think the Coast Guard could, if it asked and Congress kept from trying to tie Coast Guard funding to poison pills or other lost causes, get all their unmet needs–not just the handful of things on the Unfunded Priorities List–funded.

They just need to try!

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