GAO: COAST GUARDÆS HEIGHTENED SECURITY MEASURES HAS TAXED RESOURCES
The U.S. General Accounting Office issued a report on Tuesday urging the U.S. Coats Guard to implement a strategy for setting and monitoring levels of effort for all of its missions.
“It will likely take several years to determine how best to balance carrying out non-security missions alongside new security missions,” the report said. The Coast Guard’s non-security activities include drug interdiction and fisheries patrols.
“The Coast Guard has not yet developed a strategy for showing, even in general terms, the levels of effort it plans … in future years,” the GAO report said.
“Understandably,” it added, “the Coast Guard’s attention has been focused on assimilating added security responsibilities.”
The study said the data to plan strategy exists, “but this information is currently in disparate forms and documents.”
“Additional personnel and assets included in the fiscal year 2003 budget request may allow field units to free up some resources for non-security missions, but for several reasons, the flexibility to do so appears limited,” the survey said.
“New authorized personnel strength would not match the current personnel numbers at some locations, and the impact would actually be a reduction in resources allocated to lower-priority missions,” the survey said.
For that and other reasons, “it is important for the Coast Guard to provide decision makers with information about progress in achieving the intended balance among missions,” the GAO survey said, noting particularly that even the Coast Guard’s “processes for sharing information between ports are limited.”
The GAO prepared its report at the request of Sen. John F. Kerry, then chairman of the Senate’s Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere and Fisheries of the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.
The Coast Guard reviewed a draft of the report but took no formal position on the GAO’s recommendations.
For the full report, go to http://www.gao.gov.