Conventional wisdom says that 9/11 changed everything-everything, it seems, except the chronic under-resourcing of the U.S. Coast Guard.
Despite expanded budgets and increased end-strength during the Bush administration, the service was still stretched thin, and its deepwater fleet continued to contract. Yet appropriations measures for Fiscal Year 2011 approved by the House and Senate only begin to address the situation. Each of the bills calls for minor increases to personnel end-strength for offshore oil monitoring, cancels the elimination of 1,100 billets, and decreases the number of ships and aircraft scheduled for decommissioning under the Obama administration's request. The bills, then, while a step in the right direction, fail to fund a Coast Guard that is fully capable of meeting the demands of the 21st century.