Home > Ask the Master Chief > November 2012
A: Our Mission Effectiveness Project (MEP) has been ongoing for several years, and while we have completed the 110-foot patrol boats and 210-foot Medium Endurance Cutters (WMECs), we still have quite a bit more work to do on our 270-foot WMECs. The last 270-foot WMEC, Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk, is not scheduled to be completed until August 2014. So, saying we are “finishing up” our MEP project is not quite correct.
MEP is a bridging strategy to reduce the number of crippling casualties to our cutters and ensure our operational commanders and crews have safe and operationally-effective ships to conduct their missions until we can replace them with newer vessels, such as our Fast Response Cutters and our Offshore Patrol Cutters.
Even with the new classes of ships, we still have many other vessels that are either in need of, or will be in need of, extended maintenance periods and upgrades. In response to this need, we have established the In-Service Vessel Sustainment (ISVS) project, which received its first Acquisition, Construction and Improvements funding in fiscal year 2012.
The ISVS project staff is working with the Office of Cutter Forces, Office of Naval Engineering, our operational commanders and other stakeholders to plan mid-life overhauls and service life extension projects for several other classes of vessels. Our goal is to stay ahead of the curve and ensure we get these projects going before these vessels become unreliable and operationally ineffective; in other words fix it before it’s too broke to use.With the current budgetary challenges our government is facing, I really can’t provide specific timelines other than to say that the 140-foot icebreaking tugs will be the first vessels to receive an ISVS-funded service life extension program in FY 2014-2015, at the Coast Guard Yard. The vessels that will follow the 140-footers include the 225-foot seagoing buoy tenders, Coast Guard Cutter Barque Eagle, the 47-foot motor lifeboats, and the 175-foot coastal buoy tenders. It doesn’t take a crystal ball to know that the purse strings will be getting tighter in the future, but we also know that the most cost-effective way to maintain a fleet of vessels is through proactive and well-planned maintenance, so our druthers is to make it happen sooner rather than later.
To submit a question, please e-mail Master Chief Petty Officer Brett F. Ayer directly at Brett.F.Ayer@uscg.mil.