Mark Begich Press Release:
U.S. Senator Mark Begich was pleased to learn that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) heeded his request to transfer 14 C-271 aircraft from the U.S. Air Force (USAF) to the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) in order to maintain mission readiness while achieving up to $800 million in savings that could be used to invest in Arctic communications infrastructure, deep water ports, or a new polar ice breaker.
In a letter to DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano in May, Sen. Begich noted that if a minimum of 14 aircraft are transferred, the Coast Guard will be able to avoid up to $800 million in total ownership costs for the planned C-144 and C-130J aircraft. The C-27’s would replace the C-144s and C-130Js in the service’s recapitalization efforts.
“This is another example that if we are willing to do the work, we can find responsible and creative ways to reduce federal spending,” said Sen. Begich. “The C-27J’s are well suited to Coast Guard missions and will enable us to maintain our current capabilities while saving hundreds of millions in extra training, maintenance and operations.”
The C-27Js are compatible with Coast Guard missions such as search and rescue, logistical support and maintaining maritime domain awareness. The C-27J’s share the same engines and avionics with the C-130J aircraft and could be easily integrated into the Coast Guard’s existing fleet. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel was notified of the transfer request approval in June.
“The $800 million in savings the Coast Guard would achieve is significant,” said Sen. Begich. “The Arctic is emerging as the new frontier for commerce and transportation and the United States needs to be a leader, not an observer. I recommend that the Department of Homeland Security apply the savings to investment in Arctic infrastructure like deep water ports or safety and navigation vessels like a polar icebreaker.”