CHARLESTON, S.C. — For the Coast Guard, the overall budget news is good.
America's smallest military branch is anticipating a $12.3 billion budget for the fiscal year 2021--a $142 million increase over the current year.
But with the good news, there is bad.
And Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Karl Schulz spelled that out too, in his second annual State of the Coast Guard address.
"Every mission begins and ends at a Coast Guard facility," Schulz said. "Unfortunately, due to years of flat-line budgets forcing trade-offs, the facilities that our men and women deploy from and return to are crumbling around them. Forty percent of Coast Guard buildings are over 50 years old."
The portrait Schultz painted was grim.
"Mold, leaky roofs, flooding, outdated building standards, these have all culminated in a $2 billion backlog of facility repairs," he said. "Every day we continue to operate with antiquated infrastructure, it gets harder to protect our modern maritime economy, harder to save those in peril, harder to attract talented men and women into our ranks and, ultimately, harder to defend the nation."
On a better note, there is this: the budget proposal does include $115.9 million for pay and benefits, meaning a 3.1 percent increase for the Coast Guard's 56,000 members.