GAO: Some Coast Guard Duties Suffer
The Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure conducted a hearing which discussed the Coast Guard's move to the Department of Homeland Security. JayEtta Z. Hecker, Director, Physical Infrastructure, U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) testified that USCG levels of effort in some mission areas, such as fisheries enforcement and drug interdiction, have dropped sharply since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
Subcomittee chairman Frank Lobiondo said, “Traditional missions such as search & Rescue, Drug & Migrant Interdiction, Pollution Prevention, Boater Safety & Fisheries Law Enforcement Must Be Preserved” – Chairman LoBiondo
Delays in the planned modernization of cutters and other equipment, responsibility for new security-related tasks as directed under the Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA), and mandatory responses to unexpected events, such as terrorist attacks or extended terror alerts, will have an impact on the Coast Guard's ability to meet its new security-related responsibilities while rebuilding its capacity in other missions.
Coast Guard Commandant, Admiral Collins, testified that the Coast Guard is the lead federal agency for maritime homeland security that performs numerous other missions, often in cooperation with other federal, state, and local agencies and other partners.