In case it slipped your scan mid-month, Under Secretary of the Navy Modly said in public what has been well known for a while;
The Navy's second most senior civilian today acknowledged the service will not achieve its 355-ship goal in a "reasonable" amount of time and that without a $20 billion to $30 billion increase in annual funding, the Navy could only maintain between 305 and 308 ships.There are a variety of things that can be done to increase the American ability to flex at sea - one of which Chuck is offering up; call the USCG;
The Coast Guard used to be an armed naval force prepared for war. We came out of World War II with an ASW mission, and while our assets got older, the mission continued. In the late 80s we cut the number of ASW assets, but modernized the best of our ships, upgrading their ASW equipment and adding anti-ship cruise missiles.Well inside a generation ago, the Coast Guard had both ASW and Harpoon ASUW capabilities.
Then, we all got a break. The Soviet Union collapsed and the need for ASW escorts pretty much disappeared. The Navy downsized and the Coast Guard removed all ASW equipment and the anti-ship missile.
We had almost 30 years without a major naval threat, but it looks like that is changing.
The US Coast Guard is the US Navy’s closest ally, but it seems there is little coordination between the two in defining Coast Guard roles in a major conflict. We certainly don’t see any evidence in the way the cutters are currently being equipped.
Upgrading the Bertholf class NSCs and the Offshore Patrol Cutters could add up to 36 light frigates to the national fleet. The Navy would need to provide some additional equipment, but that cost would be far less than the cost of adding similar ships to the Navy, and the difference in operating costs between ships with or without the upgrades is very small.
Bring them back.
We don't have to invent new ideas - more often than not - we can bring by proven ideas we left behind in myopic bliss.