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Commandant: Coast Guard will reduce operations to overhaul its fleet

By Ed O'Keefe

By The Post's Homeland Security correspondent Spencer S. Hsu:

The U.S. Coast Guard will risk a drop in readiness to fulfill its top priority -- replacing obsolescent ships and planes -- within its slimmed-down 2011 budget proposed by President Obama, its commandant, Adm. Thad W. Allen, said Friday.

In his fourth and final annual state of the Coast Guard address, the service chief supported Obama's call for belt-tightening in the federal government. Allen added that the Coast Guard will accept a tradeoff in reduced day-to-day operations to continue overhauling its aging fleet, without which it would become a "hollow force."

"We are ready and resilient. We demonstrated that in view of the entire world in the first hours and days after the Haitian earthquake" Jan. 12, Allen said in a speech at the National Press Club. That said, he added, "We continue to experience increased casualties to our High Endurance Cutters that are indicative of declining overall readiness."

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By Ed O'Keefe  | February 12, 2010; 2:48 PM ET
Categories:  Agencies and Departments  
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