In President Trump’s proposed 2018 budget, the Coast Guard could see over a billion dollars cut from their spending. Though Trump is asking for a $54 billion increase in defense spending, the Coast Guard falls under the Department of Homeland Security, not the Department of Defense, and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is proposing approximately $1.3 billion in cuts for the branch of the United States Armed Forces that is responsible for protecting the nation through maritime law enforcement.
Republican Congressman from California says that cutting over a billion from the Coast Guard would “severely undermine U.S. national security.”
“It’s nonsensical to pursue a policy of rebuilding the Armed Forces while proposing large reductions to the U.S. Coast Guard budget,” Rep. Hunter wrote in a letter to Trump on Thursday.
Hunter added that cutting the Coast Guard’s budget would “serve to the detriment of U.S. national security and create exposures that will most certainly be exploited by transnational criminal networks and other dangerous actors.”
The Coast Guard is responsible for protecting the 9,500 miles of America’s coastline as well as 4.5 million square miles of ocean. Though it falls under the Department of Homeland Security, it is still considered a branch of the military. It’s main goals include enforcing illegal immigration, protecting the borders, and intercepting drug trafficking coming into the United States. After the September 11th terror attacks in 2001, the Coast Guard was given greater powers in order to work with aiding the military in counterterrorism efforts. The branch’s force is made up of about 56,000 guards.
“These proposed cuts, should they proceed, will guarantee negative consequences,” Hunter said. “Undoubtedly, America would be less safe based on the suggested recommendations of career bureaucrats positioned within OMB.”