To outside observers, 2017 looked like “The Year of the Hurricane” for the U.S. Coast Guard. With three megastorms—Harvey, Irma, and Marie—devastating areas of the continental United States, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, the service faced significant demand signal.
But 2017 was much more than hurricanes. From record narcotics interdictions and significant icebreaking to increased emphasis on the new offshore patrol cutter and an aging inland cutter fleet, the Coast Guard was stretched in ways that underscore a need for additional capability and resources.
The Coast Guard’s national demand signal was forefront on 16 November, when Commandant Admiral Paul Zukunft told the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard: