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Senate Proposal Would Bring Coast Guard Under DoD’s Authority

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Photo: U.S. Coast Guard photo by PAC Tom Sperduto

With a new name-plate freshly nailed to his Senate office, so to speak, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY.) is proposing  shifting authority over the United States Coast Guard from the Department of Homeland Security to the Defense Department, according to an overview of a proposed bill that aims to cut $500 billion from federal spending.

Cutting the defense budget was once an “eccentric” idea, but Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates efficiencies initiatives have put that notion to rest, the bill overview argues.

“National defense is the primary constitutional function of the federal government. However, that does not mean that the Department of Defense should receive a blank check without serious oversight,” the proposal reads.

Among the policy proposals, the proposed bill would shift the Coast Guard to from DHS to DoD, to “promote uniformity, administrative savings and reduce duplicative functions.”

Before DHS was created in 2003, the Coast Guard was under the authority of the Department of Transportation. However, even under the official auspices of DHS, the Coast Guard works under the Navy after a declaration of war or a presidential order, according to Defense News.

And, since the start of the Iraq War, the Coast Guard has done extensive work for DoD. Because of that, “common sense would suggest a move,” to the Pentagon, the proposal states.

Paul’s proposal also includes transferring the primary functions of the Department of Energy to DoD, including nuclear weapon procurement and the disposal of nuclear waste.

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  1. I thought the USCG was under the Revenue service then DOT originally so that its boarding crews could board, inspect, determine compliance with maritime law, and retain if necessary a foreign flagged vessel without it being an act of war. Otherwise the U.S. Navy could do the same job with bigger and better equipment. Under the DHS a historical, once proud group of unselfish service personnel has been on latrine duty far too long.

  2. Hey coast guard, what’s the problem? This is a great opportunity to finally be recognize as a military service. There is a lot of good to this proposal. A stable budget, better equipment and a chance to acquire a more military attitude versus half military half civilian. Finally, there could be more formal leadership training opportunities for it’s enlisted E-4 to E-6 ranks because it seems the cg is far behind its sister services in that category. From my experience as an enlisted member the cg seems more suitable for the officer ranks. There seems to be a lot of training opportunities for them in support of their career paths. The enlisted are the ones who suffer from the lack of opportunities. The excuses I’ve always heard were from budget issues. The only formal leadership training for the enlisted is the Chief’s academy. I truly hope this would be a reality to finally get the cg in shape to be a force that is more ready to defend our great nation. Semper Paratus!

  3. As a current member, the money would be nice and we could use the Navy’s help when it comes to ship building and oversight as the CG sucks at it -Deepwater Project (2004-07). I don’t think the CG can perform law enforcement duties while under the DoD. The Posse Comitatus Act might cause some trouble for domestic law enforcement but Congress and a Presidential Directive could circumvent the Act.
    CG Retired is correct about enlisted training offers. Almost all calls for additional education and career enhancement opportunities are officer only. Better pay, better benefits, and better advancement in the easiest military branch [besides the Air Force] in the US. Not a bad deal for watching enlisted work i.e. watching 4 enlisted do field is pretty good too.

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