Audio: Adm. Papp addresses maritime governance, sequestration and fallen Coast Guardsman

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Adm. Robert Papp, commandant of the Coast Guard, spoke Dec. 6 at a morning event held by the Navy League in Pentagon City, Va. Scroll down to the media player to listen to his talk in full (approx. 1 hour).

The service, he said, is developing a new concept of "maritime governance," a Coast Guard operational concept analogous to Navy "command of the sea" or "maritime power projection."

Maritime governance requires unified operations, Papp said, also warning that the Coast Guard faces uncertainties in the immediate future due to budget-triggered possible cuts.

When faced with a shrinking budget during the 1990s, he said, the service reacted by cutting support staff, "and we're still suffering because of that."

"We're balanced out now, we're in good shape--so that's why I'm so concerned about going forward," he said."

Asked about sequestration, Papp said he hasn't received guidance from the Office of Management and Budget on how to handle cuts that could be triggered in January. "Sequestration is kind of amorphous now," he said. "My direction has been to wait and see what develops."

Papp also said he will attend the Dec. 8 funeral of Chief Petty Officer Terrell Horne III, a Coast Guardsman killed Dec. 2 while attempting to interdict a Mexican panga boat near Santa Cruz Island in the Channel Islands National Park.

Two Mexican nationals, Jose Meija-Leyva and Manuel Beltran-Higuera, have been charged in federal court. According to an affidavit (.pdf) from a Coast Guard special agent, the crew of the panga boat throttled their engine and steered it toward a small boat with four Coast Guard personnel on board after service members turned on their lights and called for the panga crew to surrender.

The collision sent two Coast Guardsmen into the water; Horne was struck by a propeller in the head, the affidavit adds.

Whether the panga crew intended to ram the Coast Guard small boat is under investigation, Papp added.

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