Coast Guard struggles to meet demands as sequestration looms

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The Coast Guard, already squeezed by dwindling resources, will be deeply affected by sequestration.

Commandant Adm. Robert J. Papp said it goes against the Coast Guard’s culture to admit it can’t do more with less, but he is encouraging his units to do just that, the Navy Times reported.

“We can’t keep giving this image that we can do more with less,” he said.

Papp was speaking specifically about the effects of sequestration, the government-wide spending cuts set to go into effect on Friday if Congress does not take action. He also addressed the difficulty of operating under a continuing resolution that has the service operating at 2012 funding levels while trying to rebuild an aging cutter fleet.

Fewer resources for patrols means more drugs reaching the United States and more illegal fishing in the country’s waters, the paper reported Papp as saying.

The Coast Guard could lose more than 7,000 active-duty and civilian jobs if the government-wide spending cuts known as sequestration happen, according to a report released by Rep. Norm Dick, D-Wash., on Oct. 9.

“Everybody wants to serve, they want to get the job done, and while that’s a great blessing it’s also a curse because you can go beyond your means, you can wear out boats quicker, you can wear out people quicker,” Papp told reporters after completing his State of the Coast Guard address Wednesday morning at Fort McNair in Washington. “And it’s tough for us sometimes to sit back and say, ‘You know, I just can’t get that job done.’ ”

Search-and-rescue and port security missions will remain a top priority.

Another priority for Papp is keeping the entire Coast Guard work force, including active-duty, reserve and civilian.

“We don’t want to lose people because we worked very hard over the past decade to build our force back up,” he said to reporters after the speech.

Click here for the full report.

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