The Coast Guard failed to meet 12 of 23 mission goals last year, according to a report card graded by the Department of Homeland Security.
The report card, published by DHS’ inspector general, says that nationwide, the Coast Guard fell short when it comes to key missions like interdicting cocaine traffic or having rescuers reach an accident scene quickly.
The report, which covers the period between Oct. 1, 2011 and Sept. 30, 2012, was first analyzed by the Navy Times.
When it comes to missions critical in Alaska, such as compliance with fishing regulations, average number of oil spills and average number of commercial mariner deaths, the Coast Guard met its goals.
The Coast Guard missed its search and rescue goals, which include a perfect rescue rate. Lt. Cmdr. David Kessler, with the Coast Guard’s office of performance management, told the Navy Times that a perfect rescue rate is always the goal, even if it’s not technically possible. “Some measures with aspirational targets, such as saving 100 percent of people in imminent danger, are not expected to be met,” he told Meghann Myers of the Times.
Most of the missed goals were labeled “homeland security” missions. These include things like drug interdiction, migrant rescues and deterring foreign fishing vessels from American waters.
The report also found the Coast Guard is woefully unprepared for defense missions in case of war. That readiness is dependent upon the service’s high-endurance cutters, patrol boats and port security units, which were considered only 27 percent ready. The Coast Guard’s own goal was 36 percent readiness.
While the Coast Guard does not expect a perfect score when it comes to meeting goals, Kessler said, it tries to show improvement year over year.
Due to budget cuts, the next report card is expected to present a darker picture for the Coast Guard. The Daily Mirror reported earlier this year that nonessential missions, including fisheries enforcement, have been cut due to budget sequestration and the government shutdown.
Another round of sequestration cuts is expected at the start of the year.
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