USCG has no fat to cut

Discussion in 'Academy/Military News' started by LineInTheSand, Oct 25, 2013.

  1. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    The service is hurting, it has been hurting and it will continue to hurt. When folks like Adm. Allen and now Adm. Papp aren't willing to stick their necks out, and say politically unpopular, but very true, things.... the service and its people will suffer.

    David Helvarg wrote a book about the Coast Guard a few years ago. He's penned a few articles too. I see him as one of the very vocal proponents of the Coast Guard.

    You should find this article disturbning, but if it isn't, step on a 210' listen to the water against the hull and start to think "how much longer can this thing float?"

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david...l-needs-rescuing_b_4146760.html?utm_hp_ref=tw
     
  2. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Good article LITS. Thanks for posting. We need to find ways to provide more resources to our Coast Guard. Any service that directly saves thousands of Americans a year needs our support.
     
  3. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    The downside? I don't think any help is coming. It will take a massive loss of life due to a complete failure of the Coast Guard. And when that happens, the Coast Guard will get the blame (and some of the blame for senior leaders in the service is earned).
     
  4. thepalmers4

    thepalmers4 Member

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    Aviation Week wrote about this in the July 8, 2013, edition. The article begins with, "For the US Coast Guard, it is the beginning of the end..."

    http://www.aviationweek.com/Article.aspx?id=/article-xml/AW_07_08_2013_p28-593043.xml

    The article talks about a proposed 1/3 cut to the CGs 5-year capital equipment modernization plan, which was already set to fund only about 2/3 of their missions. Is there anyone who truly believes that the strategic, economic mission of the CG has been reduced? This is crazy and truly makes me wonder about the motives of those in charge.
     
  5. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Part of the problem is, the Coast Guard does a horrible job of showing how bad it's doing. I think it sees it as being "Semper Paratus", but it's slowly (but at an increasing rate), working itself into the ground, and it's lack of planning, and inability to make a case that the American people get behind, are largely to blame.

    10 years from now, when 210's start sinking or can't float anymore, it's going to be too late to do something.
     
  6. Packer

    Packer Member

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    Unfortunately, it appears that disastrous things like 210's sinking may be what it takes to improve the situation. Sad.
     
  7. thepalmers4

    thepalmers4 Member

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    So the Coast Guard is in this pickle because the senior staff are poor fund raisers? Really? How about an administration that simply has different priorities? The current administration seems more interested in social politics than in managing strategic priorities. It's hard to watch the Chinese continue to arm, the Russian rearm, the Iranians nuke up, and us unwilling to even defend our ports.

    Sounds like the 210s need duct tape and prayers. Wait, make that just duct tape because prayer is not something we should promote and encourage.
     
  8. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    it's a mix. Yes, the current administration has other priorities. But senior leaders are also free to stick their necks out on the line for the service. In 2009 or 2010 I believe, Adm. Allen was interviewed by... either the Washington Post or NYT.... and DHS was not happy. The next day Adm. Allen's "State of the Coast Guard" address was toned down to appease DHS. Yes, this was the DHS under the current administration.

    I'm not dismissing the role of the Obama administration, but I am saying there are many Coasties in uniform that would appreciate more risk-taking from their leader.
     
  9. KPEngineer

    KPEngineer Eternal Father ...

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    And there is absolutely no fraud, waste or abuse going on within the bureacracy of the USCG? I have a hard time believing that any Department/Agencie/Service is truly underfunded. I am willing to wager that poor internal spending priorities and mismanagment are a much larger culprit.
     
  10. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    USCG has 1/4 the size of the Marine Corps and 1/16 the budget.

    I won't disagree there is mismanagement and internal spending priority disagreements. But I think, if we look at the buying power of the dollar decreasing over the past two years, while the Coast Guard's budget has also decreased, one of two things is happening, either the Obama administration is figuring out where the waste is (and for a administration that has increase the U.S. debt, on it's own, in 6 years from $9.6 trillion to $17 trillion, I'm betting that's not the case) or the Obama administration is moving the money elsewhere.

    There is likely waste, fraud and abuse, as well as poorly planned modernization programs (which have also been limited or reduced by Obama). But that isn't the "larger culprit." It is a factor, I agree. But I would also maintain, it is a lessor factor than any DOD based service.

    The underlying message you would make, about waste in government is certainly true. But attributing it to being the "larger culprit" in the land of federal stagflation... yeah, I'm not buying it.
     
  11. KPEngineer

    KPEngineer Eternal Father ...

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    First off, I'm not comparing the USCG to the other services. I am painting all of government with one broad brush. HHS is obviously just as broken as DOD, try logging on if you have any question in that regard.

    The government bureaucracy is its own world, not bound by laws of logic. When you have a systemic and institutional mindset that a 6% increase is a cut because I didn't get 8% then you have institutional waste. When everyone runs around buying new chairs and the latest gadgets at the end of the year just to make sure they run their accounts to $0 then you have institutional abuse. When you have senior leaders who schedule their annual "offsite" conference on the same weekend and in the same location as the bowl game their alma mater is playing in then you have waste and abuse. These might be individually small amounts, but when you consider that this is the institutional culture and the breadth of bureaucracy, it adds up to a pretty hefty chunk of change and properly managed could cure a lot of the ills of "underfunding". Heck yes this institutional mindset is the larger culprit

    The vast majority who are in the middle of it accept it as the norm, because most of them have never spent any of their adult life outside of the bureaucracy and so are detached from reality.
     
  12. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    One thing I would add is that the bureaucracy tend to define what we should do than use it justify their funding request. Regardless how government workers feel, they are bound to execute legal orders or resign in protest (whistle blowing doesn't apply as I said legal orders). I don't disagree with LITS on what Coast Guard should do and what they need, but the decision belongs to the President, not opinions of the rank and file. Do I think our country is heading down a wrong path? Yes. Do I have some ideas? Yes. But I am not the President. In our system of government, the President makes decision on many things. Like it or not we are stuck with the current system.
     
  13. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    When I say senior leaders, I'm specifically calling out Adm. Papp and before him, Adm. Allen. When you testify before Congress, you have a duty to paint an accurate picture. Allen didn't and Papp hasn't.
     
  14. KPEngineer

    KPEngineer Eternal Father ...

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    I consider everyone with scrambled eggs on their covers to be a senior leader. Its not like you have to make Flag to get any real authority/responsiblity/culpibility. I don't know about Allen and Papp specificially but I agree in concept. The whitewashing starts at a very low level and in truth I wouldn't be surprised if the VADMs and ADMs don't really know the true story. EVERYONE has a responsibility to EVERYONE to be honest and accurate in the picture you paint no matter how "small" the issue.
     
  15. KPEngineer

    KPEngineer Eternal Father ...

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    Yes, in theory. This of course does not include the massive amount of padding that gets put in to that funding request which turns into "sweep up money" at the end of the year and gets spent on leather chairs and ipads and "conferences".
     
  16. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    Adm Allen and Papp want to keep their jobs - either (1) self preservation or
    (2) thinking that they could do more good by staying on and getting fired or resignation will be useless.

    Reminds of Gen Shinseki testifying before Congress that we needed several hundred thousand soldiers for post combat in Iraq. According to Wiki, his retirement was rumored to be forced but not true as it was announced a year ahead. Would Gen Shinseki have gotten another term as the Army CoS or even became CJCS if he supported the administration?
     
  17. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    I read "Capitalism and Freedom" on the Metro ride in to work this morning, and this fits nicely in with the subject.

    I think you're looking at it differently than I am, however. I agree, the federal government (and government in general) rarely has to follow market trends, engages in zero creative descruction and is piss-poor at allocating resources and understand what is NEEDED v. what is WANTED. How many crappy unionized federal employees exist who make it two one year and become almost indestructable. In fact, anyone who has worked in the federal government can probably name a few. Why not? They were hired for a position that is set, and they generally don't contribute to the profitability of the organization (because budgets are set and funding allocated by Congress).

    So, yes, ANY agency has an institutional midset that is a huge culprit, WHEN COMPARED to the private sector, if public and private institutions were competing for funding, but under their existing structure.

    But that's now what we're looking at here. When EVERYONE has an institutional midset, that factor is moot. So it becomes something else. A HUGE culprit is where the money is going in a sea of inefficient agencies. The major culprit, in this instance, for the Coast Guard, is the Obama admininistration. But the service chiefs, past and present, have not made it hard on him.
     
  18. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Adm. Allen said he wasn't going to be silent... and then he was. Maybe he had his eyes on a higher office (but DHS didn't happen for him). Allen and Papp FAIL their service when they are concerned about (1) because (2) is an easy out, a good excuse, and simply not true. The Coast Guard would continue to function no matter who is wearing the 4-stars, unless they fail to put service before self and make the difficult statements that ARE true, but never said, for fear of upsetting a few people at DHS and the White House.

    The PR fiasco that would result from the President sacking a serivce chief for warning the American people that his service is nearing a breaking point.... well there are some politically minded, always-in-campaign-mode, individuals who would realize it. But it would be interesting and the fired Commandant would be an instant hero to the service.
     
  19. KPEngineer

    KPEngineer Eternal Father ...

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    As all three and four star positions are nominated by the President, all three and four star Generals/Admirals are by definition politicians. I am sure they would disagree and there are certainly some who are not overly political per se, but the fact remains that if you have three or four stars on your collar, then you got and keep your job by making a politician happy.
     
  20. KPEngineer

    KPEngineer Eternal Father ...

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    Reading is a luxury I rarely enjoy these days so I can't comment on Mr. Freidman's work.

    I digress a bit but I think though that you are looking at it with a little bit of tunnel vision. I refer to President Eisenhower's farewell address where he warned of the Mlitary-Industrial complex. The man was a prophet, I've been in this area about 15 years and have noticed the trend ... the division between the public and private sector is shrinking.

    Institutional groupthink is only moot when comparing said institution against another, I never did that. It's broken because its broken, not because its more broken than someone else. Keep in mind also that all your FOGOs are products of that same institutional groupthink. Most of them have been Officers in their respective service since graduating from college in their very early 20s so somewhere along they either just accepted it without question or assimilated as the price of advancement. The laws of Thermodynamics are only valid if one does not consider bureaucracies ... perpetual motion machines exist and they are alive and well in DC!

    I guess I forgot to say from the beginning that I do agree with your premise that all of the gundecking and rose-coloring that occurs at the lower levels only hurts the organization. In the end it bubbles up to the top and the problems never get addressed because everyone pretends they don't exist. As a taxpayer I have a hard time feeling sorry for any service/agency/department when I know how much fraud/waste/abuse already goes on and I am frightened at the prospect of how much I don't know that goes on.

    We may differ on the why, but I think we agree on the what.
     

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