The past year provided the Coast Guard with its usual set of operational demands and unique challenges that forced the service to constantly modify its roles and methods. The service also experienced its first loss of life due to hostile action during a law-enforcement operation since prohibition. In addition, after a decade of budget growth that still fell below the service’s needs, the Coast Guard had to begin addressing the reality of significant budget reductions that may continue for several years. Reducing spending in the face of deteriorating infrastructure, aging assets, and ever-expanding operational demands, most particularly the major expansion of the service’s operations on the Southwest maritime border and in the Arctic, present a conundrum that would challenge even King Solomon.
Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Robert J. Papp Jr. captured the service’s status in his 2012 Posture Statement noting: