CG is over committed. Probably ought to be broken up into smaller parts. Used to be multiple organizations merged into one. Old Steamboat inspection service ,separate organization, format would much better. Specialist that know what they are doing. Other responsibilities could be split off too.
They are already starting to make serious cuts:
That might cause problems with each organization competing with each other to get funding from congress.
The ATON duties could go back under the DOT. That would free up more coasties to do the SAR, port security, and law enforcement side of things.
ATONs under the DOT could be a civil service position similar to the ACOE.
The Coast Guard has been overtasked since I was in it in the late 70’s. That is not an new issue. The services having a difficult time recruiting is just a sign at how good the job market is. But no doubt Adm. Fagan is properly doing her job one making the case for more money for the Coast Guard.
As another retired coastie and former Navy man my opinion is that they need to quit trying to be the Navy. We already have a Navy, and we are not at war, YET! Sending the new security cutters to sail through the Taiwan Straits and patrol the South China sea is not what being a US Coast Guard is about. It is a very typical Govt entity that just has to get bigger and bigger. Bloated bureaucracy. Seems that enforcing fishing regs has been stretched a little far from home. They do a lot of patrols off Mexico and South America as well.
I realize that as time progresses so do missions and responsibilities, but the Lighthouse service, life saving service, & SAR have morphed into something else, yet the mandated Arctic and Antarctic ice breaking responsibility has been badly neglected and underfunded.
Contract out most ATON servicing to the private sector like other countries do. A lot of ATONs are no longer needed in the radar and GPS plotter era.
The USCG has totally failed at licensing. Licensing needs to be simplified under a new agency.
Agree with all, way back late 60’s CG was sort of specialized. Marine inspectors did little else and knew their way around vessels. License work all local none outsourced or central center. Examiner experienced.
Distant patrols no place for a “Coast Guard”. Leave it to the Navy with a Coast Guard law enforcement detachment on board. Make civilian arrest the US Armed services are not allowed to do. LED probably 6 CG maximum.
There are trade offs though. When I was a BM our station had over 600 assistance calls per year. Lots of work makes for competence, outsourced ordinary assistance calls you don’t see the CG boat crew skills you used to. The commercial services assist with skeleton crews often a single operator. Get a serious case ill equipped.
All this makes sense except with top brass wanting to expand their scope.