The fiscal year 2013 budget calls for $3.8 trillion in overall spending, but envisions a deficit cut of $4 trillion over 10 years.
The Coast Guard segment of the budget includes $9.97 billion, a 3.9 percent decrease from 2012 levels.
In a statement, Coast Guard commandant Adm. Robert Papp Jr. said, “This is a change from the past decade of growth, but reflects the reality of the marked shift in the fiscal climate.”
The budget includes $658 million to complete the sixth National Security Cutter, the Coast Guard’s high-tech replacement for its aging high endurance cutters.
Two of those older ships would be decommissioned under the president’s budget, a savings of $16.8 million, while the biggest cut is $56.3 million the Coast Guard expects to save with efficiency improvements.
Alaska Coast Guard operations come out better than most: The budget includes $8 million to begin the process of acquiring a new polar icebreaker and $6.1 million to expand the helicopter hangar at Cold Bay and “recapitalize aviation refueling facilities at Sitkinak.”
It was not immediately clear what activity is planned for Sitkinak, home to a defunct Coast Guard station.
In a statement, Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, said he was pleased with the president’s inclusion of money for the icebreaker program.
“I’ve made this proposal several times in the past three years and it looks like we’re finally but slowly on the path toward new ships,” he said.
A new polar icebreaker is expected to cost in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
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