Last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee (SAC) approved FY2017 appropriations for the Coast Guard, which are included in the FY2017 Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill.  The SAC approved the FY2017 Homeland Security Appropriations bill 30-0.

The SAC approved $8.7 billion in discretionary appropriations (to be appropriated by Congress) for the Coast Guard, $129 million more than the budget request. The bill also identifies $1.7 billion in Coast Guard mandatory spending for retired pay. The SAC bill includes in the base Coast Guard budget $162 million for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO).

Operating expenses totaling $7.1 billion are funded in the bill, $153 million higher than the request. The bill fully funds a 1.6 percent military pay raise, requested by the president.  Coast Guard OCO operations costs ($162 million) that were requested in the Navy budget are provided directly to the Coast Guard budget.

The bill would increase the FY2017 request for acquisition, construction, and improvements by $120 million to $1.257 billion.  The SAC would fund $95 million for long-lead time materials for the 10th National Security Cutter (NSC) and an additional $30 million for Structural Enhancement Dry-dock Availability for work on two NSCs.  An additional $85 million will allow for the purchase of two more (total six) Fast Response Cutter (FRC) hulls.  With $1 billion included in the SAC-approved FY2017 Department of Defense Appropriations bill, $133 million is cut from the president’s Coast Guard request for Polar Icebreaker Recapitalization Project, leaving about $18 million for management and support costs.  Another $15 million in the bill would provide In-Service vessel sustainment.  The bill would also add $22 million to the request for shore-side and waterfront planning for future operations in Kodiak.

The SAC would double the Coast Guard research, development, test, and evaluation (RDT&E) request to $36.8 million.  The bill would add $18 million to test the use of ultra-long endurance Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) in source and transit zones.