PROPOSED FISCAL 2003 COAST GUARD BUDGET DRAWS SUPPORT
The Bush Administration’s proposed 28-percent increase in the U.S. Coast Guard’s fiscal year 2003 budget received strong support during a Congressional oversight hearing Thursday.
President Bush has requested $7.1 billion for fiscal year 2003 for Coast Guard activities, which are subject to appropriation. The administration has requested $1.6 billion (28 percent) more than the amount appropriated for the Coast Guard in fiscal 2002.
“The president’s fiscal year 2003 budget will restore the Coast Guard law enforcement operations, which have been greatly reduced since the agency instituted the largest port security operation since World War II,” said U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-N.J., chairman of the House Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee.
Adm. James M. Loy, commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, said the agency needs more funding to operate in a more demanding and dangerous environment, especially in light of the Sept. 11 attacks.
“Our mission profile is different than planned for a year ago,” Loy said. In addition to thwarting drug smuggling attempts and the illicit movement of people, money and weapons onto the American homeland, the agency now has to safeguard domestic shores from terrorists, he said. “Terrorism, however, is only one of many modern-day threats to homeland security.”
Loy also appealed to members of Congress for more financial support so that the agency may increase it search and rescue efforts, while adding that the agency responds to about 40,000 search and rescue missions each year.