February 28, 2012
The U.S. Coast Guard’s Office of International Acquisition accepted its 300th asset delivery on Feb. 22 through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. The office manages and executes new-procurement FMS and Excess Defense Article (EDA) transfer projects, delivering assets and services to allies around the world. To date, more than 180 new-procurement boats and aircraft and more than 115 excess boats and cutters have been delivered. Over the past four years, the Coast Guard’s average annual international sales have increased 10-fold from $13 million to more than $138 million.
The 300th asset is a 33-foot Special Purpose Craft-Law Enforcement (SPC-LE) boat manufactured by SAFE Boats International. It is one of two SPC-LE boats heading for the Commonwealth of Dominica, a Caribbean island nation, as part of U.S. Southern Command’s Secure Seas program. The boat was accepted at SAFE Boats’ facility in Bremerton, Wash., by the Office of International Acquisition. The boats, which have top speeds in excess of 50 knots, should arrive in Dominica in May and will be used to enhance maritime security throughout Dominica’s territorial waters.
Assets delivered through FMS include vessels that range in size from 25-foot response boats to 378-foot cutters, as well as maritime patrol aircraft. These assets, which have gone to more than 50 nations, are critical to the development of navies and coast guards around the world. Strategic allies who have received these assets include Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Mexico in the Americas; Ghana, Nigeria and Tunisia in Africa; Iraq and Yemen in the Middle East; and Bangladesh, Pakistan and the Philippines in Asia.
Through such transactions, the Coast Guard strengthens national security in the maritime domain by building international partners’ capacity and developing relationships that enhance the pursuit of cooperatively shared maritime safety and security goals. These projects have also benefited the United States by contributing more than $600 million to the U.S. economy and avoiding more than $53 million in disposal costs for the Coast Guard from 1997 to today.The Coast Guard’s FMS program was originally established to execute EDA transfers, which are typically funded through grants. Using their own funds, countries can purchase spare parts, logistical support, infrastructure support and training. In 2001, the office implemented its first new-procurement FMS case through the Navy International Programs Office. More than 90 percent of FMS management and execution is funded via the Navy International Programs Office from the Department of Defense FMS administration trust fund, a pooled fund supplied via a 3.8 percent surcharge assessed to foreign purchasers on every FMS case.