"This report provides background information and potential oversight issues for Congress on the Coast Guard's programs for procuring eight National Security Cutters (NSCs), 25 Offshore Patrol Cutters (OPCs), and 58 Fast Response Cutters (FRCs). These 91 planned cutters are intended as replacements for 90 aging Coast Guard cutters and patrol craft. The Coast Guard began procuring NSCs and FRCs a few years ago, and the first few NSCs and FRCs are now in service. The Coast Guard plans to begin procuring OPCs within the next few years. The NSC, OPC, and FRC programs have a combined estimated acquisition cost of about $16.8 billion, and the Coast Guard's proposed FY2013 budget requests a total of $852 million in acquisition funding for the three programs. The issue for Congress is whether to approve, reject, or modify the Coast Guard's funding requests and acquisition strategies for the NSC, OPC, and FRC programs. Congress's decisions on these three programs could substantially affect Coast Guard capabilities and funding requirements, and the U.S. shipbuilding industrial base. The NSC, OPC, and FRC programs have been subjects of congressional oversight for several years, and were previously covered in an earlier CRS [Congressional Research Service] report that is now archived. The Coast Guard's plans for modernizing its fleet of polar icebreakers are covered in a separate CRS report."
CRS Report for Congress, R42567