So far, we’ve covered what the Navy, Army, Air Force, and Marines would probably like for Christmas, but we haven’t forgotten the United States Coast Guard! This service undertakes a ton of missions, but doesn’t always have the tools they need for the job. After all, the Coast Guard is responsible for securing coastline six times as long as the U.S.-Mexico border. So, let’s see about getting the Coast Guard some goodies this Christmas.
7. At least three more Legend-class cutters…
The Coast Guard had 12 Hamilton-class high-endurance cutters. Right now, the plan is to replace them with nine Legend-class cutters, but as good as the Legend-class is, it can’t be in two places at once. So, we think the Coast Guard needs to get at least three more.
6. Bring back the Guardian
The HU-25 Guardian was a superb asset for the Coast Guard. Essentially, it’s a Dassault Falcon 20 business jet with the same APG-66 radar used by the F-16A Fighting Falcon and infrared sensors. It was very capable at hunting down drug smugglers and provided a sharp eye in the sky. It even saw “action,” mapping the oil wells Saddam Hussein ordered set ablaze during Desert Storm. So, bringing back this jet is a must.
5. V-22 Ospreys
The V-22 has been a game-changer for the Marines. We think the V-22 could handle a lot of the missions that Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawks and MH-65 Dolphin helicopters do, while also handling cargo missions typical of the HC-27 and HC-144. Additionally, they could operate on Coast Guard cutters.
4. Freedom-class littoral combat ships
The Coast Guard plans to build 25 Heritage-class Offshore Patrol Cutters to replace 27 Reliance-class and Bear-class cutters. but what doesn’t get mentioned much is a 2010 deployment by the littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1) to the Southern Command area of operations. In just 47 days, that ship made four drug busts and made two port visits. So, it’s proven that this ship is useful to the Coast Guard — and all the RD work is done.
3. A version of the HH-60W for SAR
Today, the Coast Guard has 44 MH-60T Jayhawks. With the HH-60W being purchased for the Air Force, now is a good time to boost numbers for the Coast Guard, too. Not only would this provide additional SAR assets, but it might help the Air Force knock down the price-per-unit a little.
2. New icebreakers
The Coast Guard’s icebreaker fleet is down to three active vessels for the polar regions. One, the Polar-class icebreaker USCGC Polar Sea (WAGB 11), has been out of service since 2010 and is little more than a parts donor for her sister ship. New icebreakers are badly needed.
1. More personnel all around
The active-duty Coast Guard has just under 41,000 personnel to cover 12,383 miles of coastline. The New York Police Department has 51,399 employees to cover just under 305 square miles of New York City. Do you see the disparity? The Coast Guard should be at least twice its size in terms of personnel.
So, what do you think the Coast Guard needs to have a Merry Christmas?