Hyde-Smith Sees Continued Shipbuilding Needs To Meet Growing Coast Guard Mission Responsibilities
By Patrice Boykin
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) today said she wants to ensure the U.S. Department of Homeland Security allocates sufficient shipbuilding funding to allow the U.S. Coast Guard to fulfill its increasing border security, drug interdiction, and national security missions.
Hyde-Smith serves on the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, which conducted a hearing Tuesday to review the DHS budget request for FY2021. Mississippi shipbuilders have contributed significantly to the recapitalization the Coast Guard fleet.
“Mississippians take great pride in their contributions to the Department of Homeland Security’s missions and our national security interests. We are proud that one of our shipyards is constructing a new Polar Security Cutter to aid in the security of our Arctic theater. I look forward to ensuring we provide the ships and other equipment our men and women in uniform desperately need,” Hyde-Smith said.
Hyde-Smith engaged Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf in a discussion highlighting the integrity of the National Security Cutters built in Pascagoula, ships that excel at drug interdiction and that frequently support Defense Department missions.
“The Coast Guard seizes more drugs than all other federal agencies combined,” Hyde-Smith pointed out. “For example, the Coast Guard Cutter JAMES recently returned from a two-month deployment where it seized over 13,000 pounds of narcotics. In the past four years, the men and women of the Coast Guard have interdicted 2 million pounds of pure cocaine, worth an estimated value of $26 billion.”
Wolf acknowledged Coast Guard cutter capabilities to meet domestic maritime and law enforcement, as well as Defense Department needs.
“I’m proud to say that it’s Coast Guard cutters that are providing that capability and that interdiction capability,” Wolf said. “They certainly have to do their maritime mission here in the states, here in the homeland, their drug interdiction capabilities. They have many missions, but we’re happy to support and serve alongside DoD professionals overseas, as well.”
Following the hearing, Hyde-Smith said she is committed to working with the subcommittee to write a FY2021 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill that addresses the immediate and long-term needs of the Coast Guard for cutters, boats, and aircraft.
“I appreciate the work put into the Homeland Security Department budget request, and will certainly work to see that resources are invested in a manner that makes the best sense for the Coast Guard and taxpayers,” Hyde-Smith said.