The Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday approved the 2019 Coast Guard Authorization Act, advancing to the full Appropriations Committee the two-year legislation that authorizes the service’s operations and programs through fiscal 2021, according to a committee press release.
Committee Chairman Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Ranking Member Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) issued statements following approval of the measure.
“The Coast Guard is a vital part of our nation’s military,” Wicker said. “This bill would authorize funding for this critical component of our national security through 2021, bolster its recruiting, retention, and childcare programs, and improve the competitiveness of America’s maritime industry. Additionally, the legislation would guarantee that Coast Guard men and women continue to receive their pay in the event of a government shutdown alongside our other military services.”
“In the state of Washington, we have a proud maritime heritage, so the Coast Guard is an integral part of our community,” Cantwell said. “This legislation moves the ball forward on important priorities for the men and women that work for the Coast Guard.”
The release also provided highlights of the Coast Guard Reauthorization Act for FY 2021:
- Protects Coast Guard members and their families from financial hardship in a future lapse of appropriations.
- Helps the Coast Guard recruit and retain a 21st century workforce through a number of reforms including temporary promotion authority for officers with high-demand, temporary separation program to allow professional development in the private sector, and direct commissioning authority for individuals with critical skills.
- Directs regular assessments of available unmanned maritime systems for potential use for Coast Guard support missions.
- Requires the Commandant to establish a testing area for the development, training, and testing of unmanned aircraft systems for the Coast Guard.
Photo courtesy U.S. Coast Guard