If you asked what assets the Eleventh Coast Guard District possessed, Rear Admiral Paul Zukunft would tell you: 13 SAR stations; 14 cutters augmented by frigates; 2 buoy tenders; 2 ice breakers; five air stations; one LORAN C station; 2,500 active duty personnel; property in California, Arizona, Nevada,and Utah; and 3,500 volunteers in the Coast Guard Auxiliary serving on the lakes and waterways of Utah, Nevada, and Arizona. Similar assets are proportionately deployed in the Pacific Northwest, along the East Coast, and the Gulf Coast.
"For many years, the Coast Guard has run hard doing more with less to keep up with growing commitments using increasingly aging assets", stated Zukunft. "We can no longer continue in this mode and look forward to the introduction of new acquisitions coming as part of a major recapitalization program known as Deepwater".
The missions of the Coast Guard are numerous and far-reaching. They include more than 4,000 search and rescues a year, daily patrolling of 160 marine infrastructure facilities to ensure coastal security, escorting of high value assets in/out of CONUS ports, interdiction of aliens/migrants, fisheries enforcement out to 200 miles off the coastline, and counter drug interdiction.
What challenges does the Coast Guard presently face? Per Radm Zukunft, they include managing the acquisition of Deepwater, interdiction of self-propelled semi-submersible vehicles being used by drug cartels, and coping with a growing mission in homeland security with forces already spread thin.