tv Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Schultz Testifies on 2020 Budget Request CSPAN April 4, 2019 5:18pm-6:59pm EDT
so it was the jet age, the space age, and kennedy grabbed on onto it and made that the cornerstone of the new frontier. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span's "q&a." >> earlier today coast guard commandant admiral schultz testified on the 2020 budget request for the coast guard he spoke about the coast guard fleet modernization, the polar security cutter program and drug prevention efforts. held by the senate commerce subcommittee, this is an hour and 40 minutes. >> i am pleased to welcome our
distinguished panel of witnesses today. the united states is a maritime state. . e saust maritime country america's ports, waterways and river systems support over $4.6 trillion in annual economic activity and almost $650,000 -- and almost 650,000 american jobs. it is a hugely important part of our economy and very important that it's the global maritime -- as the global maritime industry evolves and grows that federal regulations and oversight evolve in lockstep with that greth. today we hear from admiral carl schultz, commandant of the coast guard. admiral mark buzzby, maritime administration administrator and the honorable michael corey,
chairman of the federal commission on how to support this change in growth. their missions at each agency contribute to the safety and national security of our nation. congress has given the coast guard a wide range of missions, very wide, as the admiral certainly knows from search and rescue, ice breaking, maritime environmental protections to port security, drug interdiction, international crisis response, and readiness to support department of defense operations. admiral, as i mentioned you yesterday -- as i mentioned, you, yesterday, i happened to catch an episode of "the deadliest catch" a couple of nights ago, it was all about our coast guard heros to who do incredible work not just in alaska but all over america and the world. increasing human activity in the arctic, violence, terrorism, and drug trafficking in the
caribbean basin, central america, and mexico and overseas contingency operations demand an incress -- increased coast guard presence at home, and increasingly around the globe. these pressures push the limit of the services fleet as well as its personnel. the extended lapse in appropriations earlier this year only served to exacerbate that pressure. it was unaccept to believe me and many members of the senate that the women and men of the u.s. coast forward, a branch of the u.s. military, were left unpaid for the dangerous work they do securing our country while all the other service members were being paid. i along with many of my colleagues are working on legislation to prevent that happening again. though not a branch of the
military, the military administration plays a key role in securing our national security. the maritime security program provides a stipend for 60 u.s. flag vessels which operate commercially during peacetime but are in standby to support u.s. military operations during war or national emergency. it's important that it's appropriately managed to support the domestic maritime sfwristri and securing the logistic supply line for global military operations. in addition to the m.s.p., they run a number of other national security level programs such as the voluntary intermodal sea lift agreement, visa, and the national defense reserve fleet which includes the ready reserve fleet, just to name a few. these programs and ships they support provide the critical unsung infrastructure that our nation relies upon to sustain both security operations and
economic development. of course the life blood behind those programs are the american merchant mariners that crew u.s. flag fleets. this group of highly train and specialized seamen are not growing as fast as the previous generation is retiring. which poses a national security challenge to policymakers and the industry. the federal maritime commission, established in 1961 as an independent federal agency responsible for the regulation of ocean borne international transportation of the united states. the bipartisan committee of five commissioners administers u.s. maritime law, monos or the activities of ocean carriers, terminal operators, ports and others. since its inception the f. complmplet has worked to ensure that neither the -- the f.m.c. has worked to ensure that neither the activities of liner
shipping groups or others impose unfair costs on mesh exporters or american consumers of imported goods. this subcommittee is committed to work to ensure the success of the missions of each of these important agencies and adequate resources are needed to ensure that this occurs. with that, i want to thank our witnesses for being here today, i now recognize senator markey for any opening statement he may have. senator markey: thank you, mr. chairman, very much. thank you for this great hearing today. very timely. very important. thank you, chairman wicker, for your leadership on these issues. ranking member of the full committee, senator cantwell, a vibrant, safe, maritime industry is essential for maintaining america's economic excellence and military might for decades to come. here's why. america's domestic maritime
industry supports $154 billion in total economic output and $16 billion in tax revenues every year. t supports nearly 650,000 high wage, secure jobs, ensures america maintains the capability to mobile ides the u.s. military build rseas, deployments military vessels on american shores. it's a simple formula. a great domestic maritime industry equals a better prepared, more capable military and a more competitive, dynamic economy. massachusetts, the bay state, has always known this. we thank each of you who are testifying today for your roles in ensuring that we are today as strong as we have ever been. t maintaining our maritime
does not come without challenges. just going to refer to what tcharme sullivan just spoke of. during the government shutdown earlier this year, over 55,000 coast guard members, faithful military members, dedicating their lives to protect their homeland, were forced to work without pay. and according to the coast guard, only 31% of active duty coast guard personnel had enough emergency savings to cover one month's worth of expenses. that is not acceptable. that is not sustainable. these funding disruptions harm recruitment, retension, and the coast guard's ability to fulfill their mission to ensure our nation's maritime safety, security, and stewardship. and that is something that senator sullivan and i agree on and i support 100% his sentiments that we pass legislation to make sure that it never happens again, that the coast guard does not receive
their pay when there is a government shutdown. so we have to work together to ensure that that does happen this year. a key part of the mission that you have is interdicting drugs on the high seas. maritime drug trafficking remains an epidemic with thousands of metric tons of co-tain and other drugs pouring into our country every single year. while the coast guard has become increasingly successful at interdicting these drugs in recent years, they did not meet their performance targets for drug removal last year. fishermen safety is another critical challenge we must address as fishing is still the most deadly profession in america. while congress has empowered the coast guard to provide training and research funding for fisherman safety, the actual distribution of this federal assistance has been problematic. potentially harming the programs -- the program's life-saving
goals. further, the nation's maritime academies and research harbors support and protect federally owned training vessels. but the harbors may not have the resources needed to modernize their docks to protect and support these floating maritime classrooms which are essential for preparing the next generation of mariners. so as we hear from the agencies charged to promote the strength of our maritime industry, i look forward to exploring opportunities to ensure members of the coast guard are granted the same privileges as the other member of our military, enhance the ghost guard -- coast guard's drug enforcement effort, address challenges with allocating federal resources for fishermen safety training and research, and provide targeted assistance toward the modernization of harbor infrastructure to protect and support federally owned vessels at maritime academies and research harbors. again, thank you, mr. chairman, for this very important hearing. senator sullivan: thank you, senator markey. as he mentioned, we are honored
to actually have the chairman of he commull full commerce committee and the ranking member of that committee so i want to offer them an opportunity to make opening statements at this hearing as well. mr. chairman. >> i'll speak very briefly because we're here to hear the witnesses. thank you, senator sullivan and senator markey. as the subcommittee chairman says, senator cantwell and i held a hearing last month with the full committee and then it was industry stake holders. today it is federal agencies who are supporting maritime safety, security, and competitiveness. sos that great opportunity for us to expand on our tasks ahead to discuss agency budget priorities, implementation of provisions, enacted in last year's coast guard maritime
administration and federal maritime commission re-authorizations as well as legislative proposals for forthcoming re-authorizations of these agencies. i'm struck by how much consensus there is between the opening state ofment the chair and the nking member and i will take half a moment to echo what they said about the coast guard, the fact that they absolutely should be treated as other uniform services are -- uniformed services are. one would hope we would never have a shutdown, that we've learned our lesson finally, but you never know. in ly, we are in unison feeling strongly that it's unacceptable not to treat our coast guard service members the same as we do the other
services. so admiral shut, admiral busby, and mr. corey, we're glad to see you and we welcome you and look forward to your testimony. >> i want to hear from our witnesses, i'm going to submit my statement for the record. senator sullivan: great. thank you. we have three distinguished wntses for this hearing today. admiral schultz, commandant of the coast guard. admiral busby, ad mrtor of the maritime administration, and the honorable michael corey, chairman of the maritime federal commission. you will each have five minutes to deliver an opening statement and a longer written statement will be included in the record if you so desire. admiral schultz, we'll begin
with you, sir. admiral schultz: good morning, chairman, ranking member. it is a privilege and honor to testify before you. i ask that my written statement be submitted for the record. senator sullivan: without objection. admiral schultz: please accept my thank grurs support in the committee and subcommittee. r the 2018 appropriation and the 2018 emergency response. these were necessary to ready the coast guard. our work is not done. if you take just one thing from my testimony this morning, i ask that you remember readiness. we, the united states coast guard, must be ready. ready to push our maritime border 1,500 miles away from our shores. ready to preserve the $5.4 trillion in economic activity
that flows across our maritime marine transportation system on an annual basis. ready to support the geographic combatant commanders across the globe. ready for the next hurricane season which is around the corner. ready to put our cyber security to use as we adapt to threats. building and sustaining readiness is my absolute top priority. i would say we're at a critical juncture, a tipping point of sorts, on that front. after almost a decade of near-flatline, coast guard red rahiness is eroding. unlike the department of defense, coast guard is cat gorized as nondefense discretionary spending. we continue to find ourselveses on the outside looking in when it comes to material operations and support plus ups. in 2017, the department of defense received a about a 12% boost in operations and support funds while the coast guard received 4% increase. yet the coast guard's military contributions are immutable. every year we expend over $1
billion on defense-related activities in direct support of the combatant commanders but the $340 million of defense readiness numbers we receive hasn't changed in more than 18 years. enforcing sanctions against north korea and protecting interests. though we strive for relentless resilience to execute operations, our paur which ising -- purchasing power has declined. if we can't to neglect our growing backlog of deferred repairs, including shore instrasfruck -- infrastructure, we'll lose ground in the fight against evolving threats. despite these challenges i am proud of the coast guard's contributions. in 2018, as part of the department's layered security strategy in support of interagency task force, our
assets interdicted 209 metric tons, 460,000 pounds of cocaine. more than all other federal agencies combined and we apprehended more than 600 uspected smugger -- smugglers. disrupting transnational smugglers at sea where they are most vulnerable helps. as i speak today national security cut -- cutter is patroling the pacific. now we must focus on transfrigs outdated and costly medium endurance cutters to our planned fleet of 25 highly capable offshore cutters that will be the backbone of our offshore maritime fleet. in the polar regions, your coast guard is the sole surface presence to protect our rights and sovereignty. as interest from china and russia grows, it's in our national interest to be there, to enhance maritime domain
awareness and build governance. that's why the coast guard is poised to release a refresh of our arctic strategy from 2013 late they are month. but in the high latitudes, presence equals influence. two weeks ago our sole heavy operational ice breaker, the polar star, returned from its 105 day trip to antarctic to replenish the sound. the crew did amazing things to keap that ship operational, from putting drivers in icy water to patch a shaft and stopping a fire. i am proud of the crew but i'm afraid we're one event away from having zero heavy ice breakers. new ice breakers couldn't come fast enough. thank you for the $600 million prorpted for the first security cutter. i appreciate the administration's support for a number of initiatives that invest in our greatest strength, our people. while modest they represent tangible investments toward a mission ready total work force.
critical investments in our marine inspections work force build on capabilities that facilitate the $5.4 trillion economic activity on our nation's waterways. $1 invested in the coast guard is $1 well spent. with your continued support, we'll live up to our motto, always ready. thank you, i look forward to your questions. senator sullivan: thank you. i think there's strong bipartisan agreement on a number of your points, but particularly as it relates to the ice breakers. we are focused on that. admiral bus be -- admiral busby. >> thank you. chairman, ranking member. thank you for inviting me to testify today on the maritime administration's contributions to ensuring the safety, security, and competitiveness of ur nation.
our nation relies on the coast guard in times of crisis. a shrinking pool of vessels and mariners which are critical to our long-term national security. specifically the average age of government of owned vessels of the ready reserve force, r.r.f., which provides our military's initial capacity is more than 44 years old. for the past year we have struggled to maintain readiness levels across that fleet. to address these needs, the president's f.y. 2020 budget for the department of defense requests $352 million to maintain the r.r.f. ong-term support ofs recapitalization of strategy, which includes targeted service life extensions, acquiring and converts used vessels and building new vessels in u.s. ship yards. along with the r.r.f., the
defense department relies on privately owned u.s. flag ships to deploy and sustain u.s. forces in times of crisis. and to carry d.o.d. cargos in peacetime as well. however, of the approximately $50,000 large ocean going commercial vessels operating around the world today, only 180 fly the u.s. flag. of those, only 81 vessels operate exclusively in international trade. this is one reason why the maritime security program which provides sty spends to 16 militarily useful ships we would need in a long-term deployment is so critical. the president's f.y. 2020 budget requests a fully authorized amount of $300 million for the mir tame security program. congress also wisely adopted cargo preferenced on the jones act to ensure access to u.s.
flag vessels and mariners. in the case of the jones act, it provides an important layer of security by ensuring that vessels 1/2 gating u.s. coastal and inland waters operate with u.s. documentation and an american crew. additionally, it supports the majority of our nation's critical shipbuilding, maintenance and industrial capacity. to supply the lanks of licensed american mariners, we rely on the u.s. her shan't marine academy at kings point and six maritime academies or s.m.a.'s. each year kings point graduates 225 highly skilled new merchant marine officers who with unlimited licenses and service commitments are qualified to crew large oceangoing vessels. the president's f.y. 2020 budget requests $81.9 million for the academy to maintain the highest standards of mariner education and training the state academies
collectively graduate approximately 900 entry level marine officers annually. unlike the u.s. m.m.a. which trains on commercial carriers, state maritime academy cadets receive most of their sea time sailing aboard provided training ships, several of which are at the end of their service lives. we appreciate congress' recent funding of our training ship replacement program. the president' f.y. 2020 budget request of $242.3 million for the state academies includes funding for the third new training vessel and maintenance of the existing training ships. finally, port infrastructure grants will help our ports meet projected growth in freight volumes and u.s. foreign trade. nearly $293 million provided for these grants in the f.y. 2019 consolidated appropriations act will help improve the safety, efficiency and reliability of coastal sea ports. in addition to the -- the $20
million enacted for small shipyard grant program and the $ million for america's projects are essential to main tirninge growing maritime industry. thank you for the opportunity to highlight mariner programs that support the safety, security, and competitiveness of our nation. i appreciate this subcommittee's continued support for the u.s. maritime industry and i look forward to your questions and i respectfully request that my written testimony be entered into the record, sir. >> without objection. thank you, admiral. chairman corey. mr. corey: thank you. good morning chairman sullivan, ranking member markey, ranking member cantwell and senators. thank you for the opportunity to discuss the federal maritime commission's fiscal year 2020 funding request. i'm acampnied by two of my colleagues today, commissioners sol a&m afei. they joined nuss january following their senate confirmation and we're glad to
have them aboard. senator sullivan: we welcome all the commissioners. mr. khouri: another commissioner is meeting elsewhere today. last year the committee on commerce was instrumental in passing the frank lobiondo coast guard act of 2018. this act broadened the commission's authority to carry out its mission to protect the shipping public and we are working to implement the various parts of that legislation. while congress did not assign to the commission a national security role, america's economic security does rely on a competitive and efficient ocean transportation system. to carry out that directive, the commission administrates a focused antitrust regime tailored to the ocean liner industry. we continuously monitor cooperative operational agreements, filed at the commission by ocean carriers and marine terminal operators.
these collaborative business agreements allow the ocean carriers or marine terminals to achieve operating efficiencies nd cost savings. we have a comprehensive and on fwoing monitoring and compliance system that is constantly evolving to respond to changes in agreements, the industry, and the marketplace. compared to prior years that witnessed significant changes to the ocean transportation services market, 2018 was a more stable period for the industry. there have not been further consolidations among the top tier of ocean carriers. there remains a surplus of ocean .essel capacity
one area of uncertainty in the coming year is international maritime organization's mandate for vessels to either burn low sulfur fuel or to install exhaust stack scrubbers to remove the sulfur from higher sulfur bunker fuels. the mandate begins in january, 2020. and estimated implementation and industry-wide compliance costs run as high as $15 billion a year. normally ocean carriers will try to pass these added direct costs on to shippers. the commission is monitoring this issue to ensure that costs -- carrier cost recovery efforts don't violate the shipping act and harm u.s. exporters and consumers.
commissioner rebecca dye is leading an investigation to examine carrier and marine terminal practices in assessing detention and other charges, fees cargo shippers pay when a container sits on a terminal beyond free time or a con tearer is not returned to an ocean carrier within a period. she is in the final stages of this and will present her findingings by september. the commission is an agency with a specialized mission requiring a small but highly skilled work force. we are requesting $28 million to support $128 -- to support 128 full-time personnel in the fiscal year 2020. slightly more than $24 million of this request goes to salaries and office rent. all other expenses associated with operating the agency such as information technology,
consulting, and outsource services, travel and supplies are funded from the remaining $4 million. i am proud of the work that our dedicated f.m.c. staff performs every day and the contribution our agency makes toward ensuring competition and integrity for america's ocean supply chain. we are grateful for the support of this committee and its members and i look forward to working with each of you, i'm happy to answer any questionus might have about the f.m.c. and its work and i respectfully request that the written testimony be submitted to the record. thank you. >> without objection, thank you, chairman khouri. > admiral buzby, small shipyards like in seward, alaska, or the other alaska
shipyard are a vital part of local community pus also play an important part for our overall economic and national security. can you speak about the impact that increased funding has had on the ability of the small ship yards grant program to meet some of these needs? >> yes, sir, thank you, mr. chairman, for your question. boip that's a great program to help many ship yards every year admiral buzby: we had 29 different small ships. >> do you look at trying to increase that or is that a number you think is appropriate? admiral buzby: we're grateful to whatever the congress passes to us. we have lots of -- a lot more applications for those grants than we're able to actually support.
senator sullivan: admiral sullivan -- admirl, i think you're doing a fantastic job. i appreciate your visits to alaska, i think our state has benefited from those. , now you vit the shipyard you've seen firsthand the great work that's being done up there. we had a provision in the last -- in last year's coast guard bill that tried to address this issue that you and i have been working on for quite a while which is, it's a prettyity good size shipyard that has a pretty huge impact on southeast alaska, makes sense for the coast guard to do a lot of maintenance up there rather than sending ships back down to california. there's a regulation, as you know, that we've been looking at that is -- has an unintended cons again on that shipyard, we had language in the coast guard bill last year that we thought
addressed this. evidently, i was just recently informed that some of d. shmplet bureaucrats or whatever didn't see it that way, which is an enormous frustration of mine, you get language put in that members of congress agree to and pass and you have bureaucrats coming back and saying maybe it doesn't work. can i get a commitment from you, i know i'll get it because you've already committed to work with my staff and d.h.s., i'll be hauling into my office whoever is making these decisions saying, really? we changed the law and you are still not good to go with it? to once again put this issue to rest which makes strategic sense for the coast guard, for the cost of maintenance, for your biggest district, district 17, and yet somehow the bureaucracy here in d.c. wants to continue to drag its feet on that.
can i get your commitment on that, admiral? >> absolutely. -- a notice of that we anticipate we will have some work with geographic restriction in this calendar year 2019 that the alaska shipyard should be able to be competitive for. but you have my commitment to continue to work on language that accomplishes the committee's objectives here. senator sullivan: thank you. it's a huge frustration of mine. and more importantly my constituents. i want to talk about ice breakers and the polar security cutter. you know, i got reports, and i'd like you to provide more details, that when the polar star was out, i've been there i've been on that ship, the men and women on that ship do a great job. but holy cow, that is really,
really old ship. i think it was commissioned in the early 1970's. analog technology. was that fire that was on he ship when it was deployed risky? did that -- how long did that take to put out? and my view is, nobody wearing the uniform of the united states military should be deploying on a ship that's that old and that risky and yet here we are, men and women of the coast guard are doing a great job in that regard but can you talk a little bit about that? and the urgent, urgent need, and the risk to life and limb, of the members of the coast guard who deploy on that ship. can you talk about that? and how dangerous was that fire that, you know, we had on that ship? a fire on a ship is normally a very, very scary thing. admiral schultz: chairman irk appreciate the question. absolutely. first off, the funding that comes in the 2019 appropriation, to get after procurement of the
first security cutter is absolutely an exciting time for the coast guard. senator sullivan: and you remember the ndaa has authorization for six. admiral schultz: and based on the studies, our intention, i talked about a six for one strategy. a minimum six ice breakers, three that are what we call polar security, and the one, the one is imminent, i anticipate an award in the next 30 days with the design for that first security cutter. that's an exciting time. we intend to build a great ship that initial ship would essentially be conduct capacity to replace the polar star. the polar star has been in a cycle where she has 100, 130 days down range deployment to replenish the station as i mentioned in my oral statement, murdo is at a critical recapitalization. they're relike the star being there to deliver materials so they can take the ice station to
the next level of sophistication and capacity. the polar star had some challenges. we're going to invest $15 million as proposed in this budget. we're trying to do a four-year, multiyear, to keep star and bridge the gap. i'm confident we can fill that a gap. i have to make the decision as er is vision chief, senior operations commander, can i send people on the star. the fire on any ship, i'm a sailor, that's one of your biggest concerns. it was about 90 minute the crew donned the self-contained breathing apparatus. we had navy and coast forward divers on board with a dive chamber. we put them in arctic water to put a patch on the shaft while shipmates inside the ship crafted tools in their own machine shops, climbed into 30-degree bilge water and fixed it. the risk is if one breaker go down, the nation is left with
zero heavy breakers. we're at an exciting time on this first polar security, we're off to the races with an award here soon. hopefully ships follow here to build out united states capability and capacity for the arctic region and antarctic region. senator sullivan: tell the men and women who did that heroic work we thank them and we're trying to make it so they don't have to deploy on a ship that risky. senator markey. senator markey: thank you very much. in massachusetts, we had 2,300 coast forward members forced to work without pay. that's a lot of people. in our state. and their fellow service men and women were continuing to receive compensation. across the planet. and from my perspective it had to have an impact on morale and on recruitment. and i just don't think it's right, again, aisle going to come back to this subject that
the coast guard is treated any differently than the army, the air force, or the navy or the marines. and again, i look forward to working with chairman sullivan on making sure that that never happens again. did estion to you, sir, is the shutdown asks morale? and knowing that many of your personnel were actually overseas at the same time, serving, with the army, the air force, the marines, the other branches. what was the impact of having the coast guard be left behind in terms of being compensated? admiral schultz: ranking member markey, thank you for the question. thank you for the opportunity during the shutdown to come in and speak with you about the impacts. i would say where we are today, working backwards here, we're about 75%, 80% reconstituted in
terms of our ability. one of the big hallmark dates for us is in the beginning of hurricane season, 1 june. you'll have a ready coast guard to respend to storms. there are some things that are difficult to recover. we delayed periods where we do maintenance on small boats, depot level maintenance. cutter scheduled dockside, some of that moved to the right youch play catch-up but use -- but you lose time in a -- in an organization struggling on the readiness front. in terms of our people i'd say a couple of things. a, i'm proud of the men and women who sthade watch during the shutdown. they stayed focus with the d.h.s. at the border, the secret service. the men and women stood the watch and did what they signed up to do for the nation. our men and women take an oath and they honored that. morale, we saw a couple of things. it was tough but the folkses did stay mission focused.
leadership tried to keep their heads in the game. they knew folks were working on their behalf. they do want to see parity. we are an armed force. i think that's indisputable. it's written in law. we saw the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff weigh in about the coast guard issue and the other service chiefs. in terms of impact on morale, we saw some tremendous outpouring of support from the nation. there are some parts of the nation that understand the coast guard and i think it rayed our visibility. if there's any silver lining in a difficult sitch it may be the fact that people across the country, people in your state were doing remarkable thicks to support the men and women in uniform from food pantry, i guess -- i went on the offensive about the unacceptability of men and women of the coast guard standing in food lines and food antry bus the outpouring was tremendous. our families who got in front of cameras, not seeking cameras but
cameras were put on them, they stayed focused on their spouses. we try to stay out of politics and stay on task. senator markey: i agree there shouldn't be politics in this issue. your personnel should be fully paid the same as every other branch of the service. again, you were right there, right with the u.s.s. constitution, our oldest ship is right there in boston harbor, we're very proud of our maritime history but we also understand the incredible sacrifice all of the people who have served our country and protect our coastlines have provided over the years and let me move to you, if i could, admiral buzby. i would love to get to the issue of the maritime vessel funding issue. the t.f. kennedy was launched over 50 years ago. can you tell us how important it is for us to fully fund a program that ensures that you
have the best facilities to ain the next generation of personnel? admiral buzby: we are laser focused on ensuring we have the best training facilities for all our midshipmen, our state academies and at kings point. the replacement of kennedy, the 53-year-old kennedy and the 57-year-old empire state at new york maritime are our two top priorities. the $600 million that have been appropriated for the nsmv program will go to replace those two ships straight away. our acquisition strategy is we're well along in the process. we expect to be awarding contracts for the vessel construction manager probably within the next four, five weeks. >> that's great news. i thank you again for your service. thank you, mr. chairman.
ms. fischer: thank you. as you know, the recent flooding in nebraska has had a devastating impact on my state. on march 15, 2019, the coast guard issued a waterway closure to all vessel traffic on the missouri river between st. joe and omaha. can you provide an update on the impact of flooding in the missouri river on vessel traffic and also do you have a sense of how long a waterway closure may be necessary along the river? >> senator, i thank you for the question. first and foremost, our eighth district commander working through our sector command, upper ohio valley, upper and lower miss, they have a very key role working with other waterway stakeholders. the army corps, the commercial interest. ms. schnetzer: and those -- mr. schultz: and those are generally negotiated conversations about what are the water levels, what is the currents and to give you an update, i'd like it come back to give you a real snapshot today. i don't have a current snapshot today.
the flood levels are unprecedented. and we're watching that closely. i think we're looking at weeks yet before we see the waters receding here to normal levels. so that will remain a very dynamic situation. our men and women that stand the watch there in the heartland are absolutely focused on balancing the competing interests of economics and industry with safety. we obviously walk a fine line there. but we want to err on the safety side and keep commerce flowing. that's absolutely two sides of the same coin for us, ma'am. ms. fischer: thank you. if could you get that information for us. mr. schultz: yes, madam chairman. we'll get you a current -- ma'am. we'll get you a current snapshot. ms. fischer: administrator buzby, you've spoken about the need for the jones act. i agree that the jones act is critical for the united states' defense needs. can you describe for the committee what impact the elimination of the jones act would have on the ability to activate a sea lift if called
upon by the department of defense? mr. buzby: thank you for the question. which i -- i would say it would have a devastating effect. on our nation's ability to deploy our forces and then sustain them overseas. our armed forces move via the merchant marine, plain and simple. without the jones act, which, not just the vessels, but primarily the mariners that operate jones act vessels, we would be dead in the water. we wouldn't be able to take this nation to war. ms. fischer: thank you very much. chairman khouri, i continue to hear from shippers that ports, particularly on the west coast, are experiencing congestion that results in delays in delivering orpiking up containers from terminal facilities. these delays frequently result in charges being assessed on the shippers by the ocean carriers or by the terminals that increase the shipping costs. can you tell me what if
anything the commission is doing or looking at doing to address these concerns? mr. khouri: yes. thank you, senator. first, port congestion, resulting container cargo delivery delays are it indeed a continuing issue. congestion delays, further results in the charges that you mentioned to shippers for the containers' use of ground space at the marine terminal and then detention charges by the ocean carrier to the shipper for extra use of the container. there are multiple causes for port congestion that we are seeing today. recall back for just a minute , west l of 2014 and 2015 coast port congestion. if i may, there was little to hide the fact that labor and management were in the middle of contract discussions and, to be diplomatic, port labor producttive think dropped off
substantially. that is not the cause of today's container port congestion. without trying to rank or prioritize the contributing factors, the list includes, one, cargo surges as shippers try to anticipate and move cargo in front of announced tariff increase deadlines. two, most recently, accelerated shipments in front of the annual chinese new year holiday , and then their factory closures. three, larger ships are moving into the u.s. trans-pacific routes, resulting in surges of containers arriving at the terminals at l.a., long beach, oakland, seattle, tacoma. next we have a continued problem with chasy availability. in particular, chasy shortages at one terminal, while there may be excess containers in another, and then further disruption when, as an example,
an ocean carrier requires its containers to be placed on a particular brand of chasy. and last, growing reports and complaints that the appointment systems that were introduced in l.a. and long beach last year are simply not working as advertised. a shipper ask instead week, can the f.m.c. just mandate a master gray chasy pool for all chasies in l.a., long beach, san pedro bay? the answer is no and i do not mean to suggest that congress should give us such overarching and overreaching authority. ms. fischer: i'm sorry to interrupt. i'm running out of time. so what are you doing about it? mr. khouri: all of these issues are being sorted through and addressed by the commissioner's fact finding investigation that process has brought together the industry stakeholders from across the spectrum. they're meeting today.
but this is one of a multiple number of meetings. four areas have been identified as opportunity for development. one is standard and transparent language, two is clear, simple and accessible billing and dispute resolution processes. three, standard evidence that will be relevant to resolving these disputes. the billing disputes. and consistent notice to the cargo interest of container availability to pick up at the marine terminals. her report will be due september of this year and we will provide the -- you and the committee that report as soon ases available. ms. fischer: thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. ms. cantwell: thank you, mr. chairman. i thank you and the ranking member, senator markey, for holding this hearing. i feel like the subcommittee is in good hands with two stewards of very broad maritime state
interests. i thank my colleague from nebraska for bricking -- bricking up this very important -- bringing up this very important freight issue. i think in the ever evolving asian market and the pan max developments, -- pana max developments, that we cannot be at a stand still when it comes to moving freight and the challenges that we face in moving it cost effectively is something we just continue to need out if time and energy into to get those products throughout the united states into asian markets. i'm going to focus my attention, if i could, on -- thank you for the coast guard, the mission that the coast guard must meet is i think 11 different areas and obviously you do it with the most minimal budget. so we appreciate the service of the coast guard and you. i could ask about -- i like the fact that the coast guard is modernizing its work force, which you mentioned in your opening testimony. thank you for that. you're on the cutting edge of
family leave policy. would love to talk to you about what we need to do for daycare and housing and i know that in the pacific northwest we have some creosote issues. so i just want to make sure we pay attention to the infrastructure needs on running the coast guard as well. but i'm going to focus my attention on two questions. no surprise. our arctic and icebreakers. and as we continue -- and i hear your commitment this morning, upgrading in the budget proposals more resources for an icebreaker fleet. but i'm just -- i still don't know what we need to do and this is my question, do we need to do more here in the nation's capitol to document the major transformation that the arc tick passage is going to provide for shippers? and do we have everything we need from the i.m.o. to make that route, you know, successful and a coordinated function with what other nations are doing?
i have since -- there are many alaskan natives that live in washington state. i have had the chance to visit with many of the alaska native corporations and it's amazing to me to find that they are being called on by the russians and the chinese and they're making major infrastructure investments in alaska. i think that's good for alaska and that's good for the united states. but it does raise the question, where is the united states in making this infrastructure investment for a north pole passage of cargo container that is going to be a new opportunity for us in the united states? so, do we have all the information necessary to successfully convince our nation of the scale of this investment that's needed, and on the i.m.o. level, do we have that level of investment nnding with other nations -- understanding with other nations about that route? mr. schultz: thank you for the question.
i believe we're in sort of a different paradigm today. i mentioned we're going to roll out an update to our arctic strategy, our outlook here at the end of the month. there is a national strategy, arctic strategy, coming out of the white house in the near future. department of defense and navy strategies. i think we are having the conversations much more so today than in previous years. i think we have flunlsed the space. what has changed in the arctic? we talk about a peaceful arctic, safety, security, type focus. we're now having a conversation about a competitive arctic. china's been up in the arctic here. 70% of the last seven, eight years, with their research vessel. they're up there obviously doing some research and they have other interests here. they're paying attention to what we do as a nation here, as we field, through the department of defense, fighters. so i think it is a competitive space. i talked in my opening statement about presence equals influence. we have to project sovereignty. today we're up there with the healy on a sporadic basis.
it is our medium or research vessel. she was up there in the fall supporting noaa, national science foundation, that naval reconnaissance, n.r.o. but that's science type work. we really just need a more continued presence up there. this first polar security cutter starts the conversation. most of that capacity will go to the antarctic. so the conversation would be on additional -- ms. cantwell: we're going to look with very vigilant eyes on that competitiveness report. because we feel like -- i personally feel like we should be doing more quickly and maybe for the record, you know, the 2010 bill required vessel operators to complete a safety and stability training course. and i know that the coast guard -- i want to know when you're going to begin that rulemaking process. bviously the heartbreaking sinking of the destination is at least it looks like the
incident is requirements for safety may have helped in that situation. so when will we get this rulemaking? mr. schultz: if i can get back to you specific data, i don't have that here. obviously maritime safety is a primary constant, 228-year mission for the united states coast guard. i'd like to get back to you with a firm date on that. i don't have that here. ms. cantwell: i may submit further questions on the destination and that issue. thank you, mr. chairman. mr. schultz: thank you, ma'am. >> thank you. senator blumenthal. mr. blumenthal: thank you, mr. chairman. and thank you for holding this hearing. thank you all for being here, commandant, i'm particularly pleased to welcome a connecticut native and a graduate of two of our best schools, the coast guard academy and the university of connecticut. and thank you to the men and women who serve with you in the coast guard. i wonder if you could update us as to efforts which we have
discussed in the past involving possible discrimination based on either gender or race at the coast guard academy. i know that you have thought to counter and address that problem and i'd like you for the record to update us because i think that those kinds of failings could have an impact on our national security. the coast guard is essential to our national security and i think you agree with me that any kind of discrimination ought to be addressed, thwarted, stopped. mr. schultz: senator, absolutely. across the united states coast guard, including the academy, we strive to have an environment where it is supportive of people of all -- of both genders, of all cultural backgrounds, all
experimental backgrounds. we are a better united states coast guard when we're a more diverse coast guard. that is all about inclues ivity. you'll hear me talk about being a more incluesive coast guard or coast guard more representative of the nation we serve. we've had some challenges up there in new london. we had a whistleblower case here recently. we protect whistleblowers in the coast guard. the d.h.s. inspector general sent their report to secretary neilsen who forwarded that to me. we have acted on each and every recommendation in that report. we still have a little bit of ground to close on some training updates to make sure our supervisors are better trained on bullying and harassment type policies and that will be wrapped up here in the next month or so. but we take that very seriously. the superintendent is fully committed. we have an eclipse weekend coming up. it's going on this week. some of your house colleagues, i believe, congressman courtney will be attending some of those events. we're look at our equity. we have an equity mindset at new london to make sure if
you're a female cadet, if you're an african-american cadet, hispanic, asian-pacific islander, you have the same opportunities to compel. the environment is -- excel. the environment is embracing all. that is the enterprise coast guard headquarters commitment, my personal commitment, the superintendent's commitment and i look forward to changing the narrative around that. i would like the academy to be most inclusive -- it is a tremendous institution. we've got to make sure we're working inside the fence line and we have to work on the narrative and the national perception outside the fence line. but we're 40% female and the cadet corps. that is fantastic. if you go up there, cadets, female cadets are in leadership, the regmental commander is currently a female cadet. doing great things, leading the corps. so you have my full commitment to this situation. mr. blumenthal: thank you. and i think you suggested and committed that there would be some kind of town halls or
public events that would give you or others in the coast guard an opportunity to voice some of the positions that you just had taken. mr. schultz: we're working with the local chapters of the naacp. we have much -- we have expanded the local relationship here, inviting them into meetings. i sent the vice commandant up there a couple weeks ago to meet with the faculty senate individually. he met with a wide cross-section of the faculty. i was up there for the cadet annual leadership address. we're taking these issues head-on. the difficult conversations are the absolute necessary conversations we have and we will not shy away from those. we had do this as open and transparently as possible. mr. blumenthal: thank you of the i noticed in your testimony -- thank you. i noticed in your testimony you said that the coast guard is in your words, appropriately positioned in the department of homeland security. we've had some discussion, i don't know whether it's been
raised here, i apologize that i had a couple other committee hearings about the positioning of the coast guard. most especially after the issue with payment of the coast guard, which i found absolutely abhorrent. it was a disgrace. utterly shameful to deprive the courageous and dedicated men and women of the coast guard of paying for a single day, let alone 35 days. so i take it, your word, that you think that the coast guard is appropriately positioned, but i wonder whether there's any value to considering somehow changing the statutes so that that absence of pay never happens again and so that at least for pay purposes, and maybe in terms of some other organizational issues, the a st guard is deemed to be
branch of our armed services. which as you also note in your testimony, it certainly is. mr. schultz: thank you for that question and thank you for your words of support for the men and women of the coast guard. the shutdown was tough. i would say this, sir. we as the fifth armed service, only armed service located outside the department of defense, do find ourselves in a different position in the federal budget. we are in the discretionary, nondefense part of the budget. for the department writ large, speaking as one of 22 components within the department, i would like to see a broadening of the conversation of maybe a security and nonsecurity conversation about the federal budget. because i think that would roll d.h.s. up into the same conversation with d.o.d. because we are absolutely an essential contributor to national security, homeland security. but those are politics above my head. in terms of our proper placement, i do believe we're the appropriate position within the department of homeland security. our missions from border
security, drug interdiction. we are a law enforcement agency. so it creates unique challenges were we to sit in d.o.d. we're appropriately positioned. the house t.n.i. committee passed out i think h.r. 367. the chairman spoke earlier about efforts afoot here in the senate. i think some safety measure here, legislative safety measure, something in the defense authorization act, coast guard authorization act, that linked this to the other armed services might be the artful way to make sure the fifth and smallest of the armed services is not left on the sidelines in some type of -- obviously none of us want another federal shutdown. but were that to happen and were there to be a decision that the coast guard and d.h.s. was outside of a conversation about the other services, there's a linkage there. i'd like to not see this happen to the men and women of the fifth armed services in the future, sir. mr. blumenthal: i appreciate that you are approaching this issue so thoughtfully. you happen to have before you right now two members of the
armed services committee and i think we can consult with you on some of your ideas and greater depth -- in greater depth. but i really feel there is a difference between the defense function that you perform and a lot of the other law enforcement functions that are the work of the department of homeland security, which may be unrelated to defense, or even security. so i think we need to resolve some of these issues. not only for the sake of the coast guard, you may be, as you say, the fifth, the smallest, i don't know whether you're the ifth, you are one of them. but no less important than any of the other armed services. so i think this is an anom louis situation that we need to address. thank you, mr. chairman. mr. schultz: i mentioned in my opening statement, there's a
portion of the coast guard operating funds that comes out of defense readiness. we're trying to have a conversation within our department and across the river. that number has been static since senator stevens uped that back in 2001, for 18 years, no cost of living adjustment. you're absolutely correct. our contributions in support of the geographic combatant commanders, the defense readiness type missions, has swelled from that $340,000 number to almost $1 billion today. there's a righteous conversation that he would welcome the opportunity to inform. >> thank you, senator bloomen that all. admiral, i think that -- blumenthal. admiral, i think you certainly see the commitment and interest in a bipartisan way to address this issue and i think working closely with you and your team, we will -- you have our commitment to continue to work that both on the commerce committee and the armed services committee which a number of us actually sit on both of those. as senator blumenthal mentioned. let me -- i want to ask a bit more of a specific question.
mr. sullivan: admiral schultz. of course on the issue of safety, with regard to our maritime and fishing industry, it's critical, it's one of your most important missions certainly. there was a regulatory review test that was set up by the coast guard in response to the presidential executive order 13777. and as you know, a good -- a large actually majority portion of america's fishing fleet resides in the northwest arctic area off the coast of alaska. our fishing industry actually met with the wonderful men and women of the united fishermen of alaska, i know you've met with them as well. they sent a list of unnecessary and obsolete regulations to the coast guard in 2017. again, not to cut corners on safety, but things that they thought being on the front
lines that we could work on to streamline regulations. and they are still waiting a response from the coast guard as it relates to this regulatory reform initiative. can i get your commitment to have a high level member of the coast guard meet with u.f.a. to discuss these regulatory streamlining requests that they had put forward about two years ago? mr. schultz: chairman, yes, you can. mr. sullivan: thank you. look forward to following up with you on that. there was an earlier question by senator fischer that i want to just throw out to all three of you. on the importance of the jones act. not only with regard to our economy and national security, but securing our borders, protecting the homeland. can i -- i just want to open up to the witnesses on your views on that. occasionally, and like we have good debates in the congress,
of course, there are attempts to get rid of the jones act. one thing that i'd like note that a lot of people forget, a lot of other countries, i think, certainly china, korea, have their own version of the jones act. i mean, a much more stringent version. so that's something else i'd like you to consider just in all three of the witnesses, if you can give your sense from your perspective of the wisdom of getting rid of that, particularly as, you know, the korean ship building industry's not going to say, oh, sure, we'll have this, no problem, anyone could come in, compete. chinese don't even think about it, right? they run an authoritarian regime and they're all about taking care of their own ship building industry and their maritime. so what would be the wisdom, national security, economic security, competition, globally , of getting rid of the jones act, which rears its head on occasion here. you're the experts in our
industry and you cover different areas of it. i'd like to open up to any and all of our witnesses. maybe admiral buzby, we'll start with you. mr. buzby: certainly. thank you, sir. aing to inthat i love to speak on passionately about because i believe it's so important to our country. mr. sullivan: misunderstood here a lot of the times. mr. buzby: it is. mr. sullivan: if you can comment on this international component. it's not like other countries, japanese don't have their own version of this. mr. buzby: 9 other countries that have a -- 98 other countries that have a law similar to our jones act. mr. sullivan: 98. mr. buzby: yes, sir. mr. sullivan: wow. i didn't know. mr. buzby: a recent study revealed that. i would say so, many aspects of where the jones act impacts are, both economic security and national security. i would offer just one. and that is, you know, the operators of our jones act fleet that ply the waters every single day of this nation, inland waters, coastal waters, you know, they are invested in
our country. they are our countrymen. they know what normal looks like. they know when something doesn't look quite right when it's out of sorts. they will say something if they see something. you cannot say that about a foreign operator in our waters. they have no equity. they have no reason to want to report. our people ply those waters every day. they make their living there. they're members of our community. if they see something, they will say something. that is a bona fide layer of our national scumplete mr. sullivan: great point. anyone else? mr. khouri: thank you. number one, thank you for the question. two, i grew up in the u.s. flag fleet, inland. as the admiral knows. i had the opportunity after law school to work in this precise area, worked on trying to put
trades, i was trying to remember, france, germany, enezuela, throughout the river system. indonesia. and last, one of the most interesting to move coal on the grand canal in china. so, i have some hands-on experience in dealing with ose rules with various countries, as mentioned. and they are tough. they are not receptive to foreigners coming in to their area. and so i agree with everything -- mr. sullivan: wouldn't that be a little bit of a unilateral disarmament if we got rid of our jones act? [talking simultaneously] mr. khouri: you anticipated my next point.
i never have understood just the simplest fundamental point that, with the thousands of miles of u.s. coast line and all of the business that we have here, why would we nilaterally disarmourselves -- disarm ourselves to -- not trying to make any of -- comment about their seamanship or anything. mr. schultz: i would simply add for nearly a century the jones act has been the law of the nation. we're obviously held to that. i think clearly there's implications for national security, for u.s. ship building capacity and expertise. i think any conversation about revisiting the jones act really should look at the national equity, should look at the stakeholders. there needs to be a very considerate conversation. it has been in place a long time. i think the administrator and commissioners have spoke to the other points, sir. mr. sullivan: thank you. marcus spears thank you, mr. chairman, very much --
mr. markey: thank you, mr. chairman, thank you very much. the fishing safety training program will increase the number of safety training, save lives, save the coast guard millions of dollars in search and rescue costs. these programs were first authorized in 2010 and were appropriated money in 2017. the grants are only being allocated for the first time this year. that's the first problem. and last year's coast guard authorization act decreased the federal share from 75% to 50% and grant applicants were only notified of this change midway through the grant process this past february. these long delays, sudden changes, loss of federal funding, shakes the faith of the grant applicants in the program. senator sullivan and i are looking into a legislative fix that needs help in implementing the solution. would you commit to working
with senator sullivan and me to -- on fixing this problem and renewing trust in the program? mr. schultz: absolutely. we have a shared interest obviously in safety on the water. particularly in our fishing communities. that's a competitive place for men and women to make a living. and you have my commitment on that. mr. plarky: great, thank you. ed a -- mr. markey: great, thank you. admiral buzby. i'm working on legislation to create a myriad program, providing federal assistance to harbors for infrastructure improvement. do you think that direct federal assistance to improve harbor infrastructure, allow research and education harbors, could help protect these federal vessels? where the training ships are. mr. buzby: certainly as the owners of those vessels,
especially these new national security and multimission vessels that we're going to soon be sending to the academies, we're certainly highly interested in making sure they have secure berths for these national assets. yes, sir. to the extent we can ensure that's a good berth, very important to us. mr. markey: if i can come back to you, admiral schultz, on naloxone and drug addiction and the training that we need to make sure that there is in fact a rapid distribution of naloxone and then a knowledge as to how to use it, could you talk about how that impacts are force that you protecting? mr. schultz: yes, sir. we have fielded narcan out of our units. so if we encounter someone at sea -- it's two-fold. a, we want to protect the men and women out there. the fentanyl, these derivatives of fentanyl, very dangerous.
even if we're walking through a ship in the open space, the dust can pose a risk to our men and women that are doing front line law enforcement, rescue work. b, if we encounter a fisherman or recreational boater in distress, we have the ability to offer assistance. we are continually looking at where we should position ourselves as an organization, dealing with this national crisis here with the opioids and fentanyl. mr. markey: do you think that the coast guard should expand the practice of training personnel in terms of the use of this technology? mr. schultz: we're training our folks that are carrying it currently. but if there's more to that, certainly we're willing to work with your staff to understand what your intent would be there, sir. mr. markey: and lide love to talk about drug interdiction in general coming into our country. e know that fentanyl largely comes in through mexico from china. they use our mail system to
send it into our country. but we also know that there are huge flows of cocaine that come up from south america. other places. that are just exasser by aing our epidemic of -- exacerbating our epidemic of drug addiction in our country. so can you talk -- can you step back a little bit, give us your overview of this drug problem and the interdiction strategies which you want to implement? and any other resources that you might think that you need because it is imperative that we just have all hands on deck so to speak to fight it? mr. schultz: thank you for the question. our work in thwarting illicit drugs coming to the united states is predominantly against the cocaine threat. 95% of the cocaine that departs from the indian ridge where all the coke in the world is produced, bolivia, peru,
clomyarks 95% heading north comes out of colombia. if you look in the last decade, colombia was on a track to eradicate more core cane for many years. as president santos, was marching colombia out of a 52-year u.s. is with the farc, they made decision -- insurgency with the farc, they made decisions. coca cultivation and the farc derivatives were planting coke everywhere. more cokea than there's been ever before grown in colombia. the new administration is keenly focused on that. i think they've tripled their manual eradication from previous years. there's a clear testament that they are stepping into this. they will not manually eradicate on this. interdiction is a key part of it. we are partnering with the u.s. southern command. i'm a force provider to the u.s. southern command. when you look at the cocaine threat, 85% of the drugs in the transit zone, that's that region, once it leaves the
source country, territorial waters, where it transits through the oceans until it arrives here, the cocaine is not generally coming directly to the united states. 85% is in the eastern pacific ocean. on the left side of the central american corridor. 15% spread across the caribbean. from the western caribbean to the eastern caribbean island chain. the majority of our coast guard efforts are in that eastern pacific transit zone. i mentioned -- i'll roll it up into a three-year statistic. in the last three years we've removed 1.4 million pounds of cocaine and brought 1,800 smugglers to the u.s. criminal justice system for prosecution. we have the cycle of success. when we bring those drug smugglers here to the department of justice for prosecution, they're getting stiff sentences. but there's some give and take. a 20-year sentence might be reduced to a 13-year sentence, they give some intelligence, it completes a psyching. we have -- cycle. we have visibility on about 80% of those drug movements in the
eastern pacific. we have capacity -- mr. markey: what do you mean by you have visibility of -- mr. schultz: we have intelligence derived from multisource. human, all different types of intelligence, that tells us knowledge on about 85% of those vessel movements. typically it's mostly noncommercial. so it's fishing vessels, it's these low-profile vessels. it's the go fast. it's a mullpy en-- multiengine boat. we have visibility on those. we have resources to action about 25% or 30% of that. mr. markey: you're saying you can see -- mr. schultz: it's a capacity conversation -- mr. markey: 95% of what's trying to get into our country that winds up addicting and killing americans? mr. schultz: we see about 85% of it from its point of departure. it's not directly coming to the united states. those drugs make their first stop in the central american corridor of mexico. mexico is increasing the
lifert-stop country. we interdict the drugs at sea s.e.a. in bulk quantities. we remove the most from the system. my opening statement said we remove more drugs than all other agencies combined. that's the place to get it. there is a conversation about capacity. capable ships, national security cutters, offshore patrol cutters we're building. the congress and the administration have been very supportive. we need to keep our foot and s on the offshore patrol effort. congress continues to support us with additional aircraft. that's a long-range aircraft. we had funding in both the last couple of years, budgets to field small u.a.s., we're fielding scan eagle. two to four scan eagle units, national security cutters. that's a gap filler. mr. markey: you have -- even with that, with your capacity -- what would your capacity be to be able to -- mr. schultz: there are some studies that say you could have 15 to 17 major cutters or
combatants with a law enforcement statute to really take a bigger bite out of -- mr. markey: how many do you have? mr. schultz: i commit to the u.s. southcom commander, i commit four ships on a daily basis. i'm generally staffing somewhere between six and eight. we are going beyond our commitment. we are committed to this western hemisphere problem. i commit pull the approximately airplanes, airborne use of helicopters. the budget allows to us add a fifth airborne use of helicopter to a steady, persistent presence. we throw just about everything i can at that with other competing -- mr. markey: i appreciate that. in this modern era, as we fully understand the drug epidemic in our country, the number of people who die every single year. for example, i'm going to go to fentanyl. but 2,000 people, almost 2,000 died last year in massachusetts. mr. schultz: cocaine first-time
use was up last year for the first time in many years. cocaine laced with fentanyl is up. it's an epidemic. more people are dying from drug-related violence and overdose than vehicle accidents in the nation. it's a clarion call. mr. markey: we've -- we're moved on in massachusetts from cocaine and heroin and prescription drugs to fentanyl. which is coming in from china. it's coming mail order. then through mexico. mr. schultz: one individual in the computer is the cartel. mr. markey: if people were dying across the country, it would be 100,000 people a year. two vietnam wars per year in which they're dying in massachusetts. that would be a million people over 10 years. that's just coming through our fentanyl apper tour. and again, cocaine is a feeder that gets people set up for ultimately the cocaine being laced with fentanyl. which, from the drug dealers' perspective, is a much more economical source of revenue
for them. because they can make so much more, because fentanyl is so inexpensive. what cure doing is really from my per spectacular -- so what you're doing, from my perspective from a security perspective this subcommittee's name, it goes right to the protection of the people in our country. we appreciate what you do on a daily basis at the coast guard. but you're telling us you need more resources. if this is the mission. and you're saying that military itself has to dedicate more resources to this mission. to be able to provide interdiction of these drugs and ultimately then are all intended towards making their way up into the united states of america. i want to learn more about kind of the resource gap that exists . given the fact that you're able to see it as it's beginning its trip up to our country.
but ultimately with, unfortunately, limited resources, to be able to deal with the actual problem in erms of how it can elude the dragnet that we set up and ultimately make it to our borders. so for me it's our top issue from a security perspective. just too many funerals, too many people dying and if i could just, i apologize to you, mr. chairman, if you could just your perspective in terms of whether or not the chinese might start to use our shipping thrines bring fentanyl into our country -- lanes to bring fentanyl into our country as well. the profits are just so high. mr. schultz: that's a good question. what we've seen, i've been at this counternarcotics business for 36 years as a coastguardsman. it's an adaptive adversary. when you squeeze one part of
the supply chain, they morph their behaviors to another. right now they're still working through the mail system, my customs and border protection counterparts in d.h.s. are working with the u.s. mail service and looking at new technologies and houk define that -- and how you can define that. we have a j.a.g. officer that looks at precursor chemicals and how those chemicals are shipped across the oceans, many to mexico, some of those chemicals are dual use, so they're used in commercial applications. it's difficult to call them up. we try to get those large bulk loads of chemicals. there's an international partnership component that goes with this. in our efforts with the cocaine task. about 2/3 of the activities in the eastern caribbean are nabled with some partner nation. we have intelligence we don't have the capacity. we can put information -- [talking simultaneously] mr. markey: we don't have the capacity. that's a very important sentence for us to hear. far many more americans are going to die from that than any
threat from kim jong un or from -- i won't go down the whole litany. all the stories that are on the front page above the fold, you know, talking about security risks to us, pale in comparison to this as a threat to people on the streets of the united states. and what we're putting into that fight to try to reduce the jeopardy to those families. we thank each and every one of you for your service. thank you, mr. chairman. mr. sullivan: thank you. i'm going to end with two additional questions, if that's ok. our witnesses. admiral buzby, this is kind of a broader question. we're working on re-authorizing the fast act here. there's been some interest in a maritime supply chain title in the next re-authorization bill that would enhance some of mirad's current authorized programs like the port development program, the marine highway program. and i'd like your views on that. additionally, there's been a lot of -- there hasn't been
enough attention, and again, this is more kind of commerce, armed services committee, on this issue of the strategic ports and how important they are not just on the military the perspective of meeting the needs of the military. i'm sure you're quite familiar with the one strategic port we have in alaska which is the port of anchorage, which is very strategic. that just for the supplies and economic vitality of the state, but also our very large military footprint in alaska, which is growing. we're going to have over 100 fifth generation fighters based f-35's in -22's, the next couple of years because of our strategic ocation. so, can you comment on that as well?
i know there's ongoing litigation. we need -- my view, i haven't been involved in it, we need to resolve that relatively soon here because of the importance of that port. to the entire state. and to the country's national defense. but can you comment on both of those issues that fall under your purview? the first one on the fast act and then on the strategic ports and their importance. mr. buzby: thank you, mr. chairman. we at the maritime administration and at the department view the shore side part of the merchant marine quation obviously with equal interest and importance because just all the ships sailing around and carrying whatever goods they're carrying has to land those goods at some point. that's where the true intermodalism occurs in our country, is when the ships transfer to rail, to trucks, to maritime highways and all of
that needs to function together, not only in that local area, in that port, but how it plugs into the larger national supply chain. so, as was pointed out earlier, with the larger ships coming in, with the uptick in maritime traffic that we fully expect to see, our ports need to be modernized. they need to become more efficient. and those connecters are not optimized for these large loads that are starting to come in. when a 22,000 t.e.u. container ships rolls into port, all of a sudden discharges a very large number of containers. that quickly can clog a road network or even a rail network. so to the extent that we can focus on those, you're going down the road and programs that -- us help maritime sports ports and terminals get more efficient, i think that's an important thing to keep track
of. in terms of strategic ports, obviously we pay particular attention to those because they have that military aspect, 17 strategic ports, anchorage of course being one of them. we have to rely on those to move our armed forces. so it gets back to that -- the notion that there's a very distinct commercial at-bat aspect to our nation being able -- aspect to our nation being able to go to war. it starts and flows through those ports on commercial merchant ships to the front. so that whole part of the equation has to be there and has to be working correctly as well. mr. sullivan: thank you. again, you have a lot of members on this committee that straddle both armed services and the commerce committee, which i think is important. and for coast guard, but also for mira dveragets like i also mentioned, we're building up the military in alaska. that port is about 90% of all the imports and supplies for the whole state come through that port. i know there's ongoing
litigation. i'm hopeful we're going to be able to get to a spot where we can resolve that and then build up that port in a way that secures it, not just on the economic side for my state, but importantly for mired a and the armed services -- mirad and the armed services perspective, the military component, with the buildup of our military forces, missile defense, f-35's. expeditionary troops. the coast guard. we're building up in alaska in a significant way. my final question, commandant. i just wanted to mention, again, guys do such great job. your men and women do heroic work on the search and rescue coverage. but it's a lot to cover. as you know. district 17 i think is bigger than the rest of the country combined, some enormous area of coverage. we're working together on the recapitalization program to get
more assets to alaska in terms of ships and aircraft. the c-130-j's are en route to kodiak which is great addition. but i was informed recently that major curt hours -- cutter hours, as well as aircraft hours, are down when compared to previous years with regard o coverage of the bearing city -- bering sea and the islands. i don't know if that's true. maybe you have a view on that. is that a maintenance challenge that's predicating that? if it is true. or is there something else contributing to the reduction of hours in that really important area, particularly as it relates to fisheries and coverage for safety? mr. schultz: first and foremostings thanks for your support and -- foremost, thanks for your support and the question. we have a ship every calendar day covering down in the bering sea and last year we fell short
on that on two days. six months into this year, as we start the first month of this last six months of the year here, we lost about two eeks of major curt coverage -- cutter coverage when the monroe went down, the high endurance cutter, that's approaching a half century in service. we had an unexpected casualty that left her in charter for an extended period. we try to bring another ship for another part of the year. i think we brought one up. we are absolutely committed to that coverage factor. that's been the tradition in the last recent years. when we have a gap we also try to mitigate that with aviation assets to make sure we still have situationle awareness, we can respond -- situational awareness, we can respond. what we're seeing as we field these fast response cutters, they have the ability to cross the gulf of alaska. so these new ships we're fielding, they will bring cutters that we worked about sitka n for kodiak and
with your support. you've been carrying the water on that. we're appreciative. we're going to put the 287 there's. we'll have a significant increase -- 287's there. we'll have a significant increase in capacity. we're probably getting 1,300 hours. sophisticated command and control, better capability in terms of small boat stern watch. significantly more tonnage. much more reach. so i think you're going to -- 100 additional body dwhrass maintain our support, plus -- bodies that maintain our support. there's goodness in terms of capacity that will work at fisheries that are important to you and safety in alaska with the coast guard. then the third and fourth of the patrol cutters will be destined for the kodiak of the alaska water front. those are going to be 360-foot ships. high tonnage. tremendous ability to sea base with a helicopter. we intend to put scan eagle type capability on there. so you're going to see a real
uptick in coast guard capacity in alaska. mr. sullivan: great. i appreciate it. and look forward to continuing to work on the increase in capacity and, so some of that lack of coverage this year was due to the, again -- [talking simultaneously] monroe breakdown. and then -- the tragedy -- mr. schultz: that ship is increasingly difficult to maintain. availability of parts. but we're committed. we have the fleet we have until we have the replacement fleet we get. mr. sullivan: you have my commitment as chairman of this committee to not only fully, fully support, but help to accelerate the recapitalization of the coast guard fleet. so whatever you need, just let us know. mr. schultz: thank you. mr. sullivan: i want to thank everybody again. it's been very informative hearing. very important positions all three of you gentlemen. have i think everybody's working hard and doing a good job. these are important oversight hearings for our ability to work with the agencies to understand what your priorities
are, what some of our concerns are, and then work together to move forward to address both. the hearing will -- record will remain open for two weeks. during this times senators may submit additional questions for the record. upon receipt, the witnesses are respectfully requested to submit their answers to the committee as soon as they can. i want to thank the witnesses again for appearing to do. this hearing is now adjourned. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2019]
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c-span3's american history tv. working with our cable affiliates, as we explore the american story. >> next, members of new zealand's parliament debating legislation that would ban most semi-automatic weapons. following the terrorist attack at a moss income christchurch. in this portion -- mosque in cheistchurch. in this portion, an amendment -- christchurch. in this portion, an amendment to the bill that says owning a firearm is a privilege and not a right in new zealand and law-abiding hunters and farmers would not be affected by this change. a portion of the debate is spoken in native language and new zealand's second official language. this is 40 minutes. speaker i move, that the , arms amendment bill be now read a first time. i nominate the finance and expenditure committee to consider the bill.