The Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure held a hearing yesterday on the 2015 budget request for Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Programs. Subcommittee Chair Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., was concerned about the proposed budget for the Coast Guard. Adm. Robert J. Papp Jr., commandant of the Coast Guard, testified that the Coast Guard will strategically allocate resources to optimize mission performance.

This past year the Coast Guard responded to over 17,000 search-and-rescue cases and saved more than 3,200 lives; seized over 88.4 metric tons of cocaine and 36.8 metric tons of marijuana destined for the United States; detained 190 suspected drug smugglers; interdicted more than 2,000 undocumented migrants; conducted 5,079 marine casualty investigations; completed over 8,400 International Ship and Port Facility Code (ISPS) security exams on foreign vessels; and responded to approximately 11,146 reports of pollution incidents, Papp said.

In order to sustain the balance between today's operational requirements and continued investment in recapitalization, the proposed budget preserves critical front-line operations and invests in tomorrow's Coast Guard by continuing recapitalization efforts for new cutters, boats, aircraft, systems and infrastructure, Papp explained.

"Dedicated investment to build boats, cutters, aircraft, and corresponding infrastructure capable of meeting today's threats and those of the future is essential to the Coast Guard's continued role as America's maritime first responder," Papp said. "The current condition and serviceability of the Coast Guard's legacy surface fleet and aircraft and the projected timelines to complete replacement of these assets require continued investment in surface and air recapitalization programs to maintain the capability to operate."

Read the full testimony here.