President Obama's choice to lead the U.S. Coast Guard wants to make major cuts to the agency's counterterror mission during the next five years.
In an internal memo from Vice Admiral Robert J. Papp Jr., the Coast Guard commandant nominee says that starting in 2012, he would slash funding for programs in the agency's homeland security plan that would include homeland security patrols and training exercises.
The memo, marked "sensitive — for internal Coast Guard use only," was obtained by The Associated Press.
Papp's outline is significant because it could mean major changes for the more than 200-year-old agency that took on a significant homeland security duties after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. Obama's 2011 proposed budget cuts for the Coast Guard already has caused outrage from some lawmakers.
According to Papp's memo, he would scale back the Coast Guard's counterterror priorities in favor of traditional search and rescue operations that save people in imminent danger on the water and maintaining the maritime transportation system.
Of course, if you say the administration isn't serious about the terror threat, you're accused of exaggeration.