(BIVN) – The 270-foot Harriet Lane cutter, along with its 100-person crew, is joining the U.S. Coast Guard operations based in Hawaiʻi, and U.S. Congressman Ed Case is welcoming the addition to the fleet.
From the Office of the Congressman:
Congressman Ed Case (HI-01) today welcomed the announcement by the United States Coast Guard that it will deploy the Harriet Lane, a 270-foot Cutter with a 100-person crew, to Hawai‘i.
The Coast Guard plans to use the Medium Endurance Cutter as an addition to a Hawai‘i-based fleet for responsibilities in Hawai‘i waters as well as an increasing Coast Guard presence throughout the Indo-Pacific. The ship is especially suited for longer-range six-to-eight week joint operational and training patrols in the Pacific, taking pressure off shorter range Hawai‘i-based ships more suited to service closer to home port.
“The deployment of the Harriet Lane signals our country’s stepped-up interest in the Indo-Pacific, the most dynamic and consequential region in the world, to include two of the world’s largest economies (China and the United States), nine of the ten busiest seaports and 60 percent of global maritime trade,” said Case, a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, which has jurisdiction over the Coast Guard.
Case, who recently joined a Congressional delegation with his House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense that visited Japan, Taiwan, and Korea, says “Hawai‘i is at the center of the Indo-Pacific’s future, and the Coast Guard is a critical part of our country’s efforts in maritime security, humanitarian and other region-wide engagement.”
The Coast Guard announced that Harriet Lane was selected as the new Indo-Pacific Support Cutter, and will relocate from Portsmouth, VA to the Pacific theater early in FY 2024. The Service intends to initially berth the Cutter in Hawai‘i for several years to ensure the asset meets the operational needs and has proper shoreside support.
The Coast Guard will continue conducting thorough port assessments in the Indo-Pacific region to ensure the final permanent homeport has the necessary logistical foundations available and in place.
As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, Case included language in the federal Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 budget supporting the Coast Guard in the Indo-Pacific and requiring the Coast Guard to examine its assets in Oceania and its facilities on O‘ahu.
The Coast Guard is utilizing that budget funding to operate the Harriet Lane in the Pacific and provide necessary supporting elements and personnel to maintain the vessel.
In January of this year, Case discussed his support for increased Coast Guard presence in the Indo-Pacific during meetings in Honolulu with Rear Admiral Michael Day, Commander of the 14th Coast Guard District which has jurisdiction from the Hawaiian Islands and across most of the Central and Western Pacific, as well as with Captain Aja Kirksey, Commander of Coast Guard Sector Honolulu, which covers 200 nautical miles surrounding the islands and atolls of the State of Hawai‘i.
Over the last three years, Case has repeatedly called for increased Coast Guard presence in the Indo-Pacific. As a founding member of the Congressional Pacific Islands Caucus, Case gained approval in the FY 2021 federal budget of an overall funding level of $12.8 billion for the Coast Guard, including language advocating for an increased operational role for the Coast Guard in our national Indo-Pacific Strategy and requiring a new strategic intent report to reflect the Coast Guard’s evolving and growing role in the region.
Speaking at a conference this Wednesday, Coast Guard Deputy Commandant for Operations Policy Rear Adm. Michael Ryan said that Western Pacific deployments would increase threefold in coming years.
Case said: “I welcome the Coast Guard’s expanded role in the Indo-Pacific, as it has been one of our country’s best ambassadors to this critical region. And this expansion will heighten Hawaii’s own role as a center of our country’s efforts in the Indo-Pacific as well as ensuring that our own home waters are fully protected.”