Coast Guard leader: More money needed to keep service viable

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard says the service is about to award a contract for a much-needed new icebreaker, but additional vessels are needed along with more funding for operations and infrastructure.

Adm. Karl Schultz outlined the state of the Coast Guard in a speech Thursday to personnel at its base in the Port of Los Angeles.

Schultz says he appreciates the funding in the fiscal 2019 budget and in President Donald Trump’s 2020 budget request. But he says the Coast Guard has deferred maintenance, a strained and undersize workforce and a backlog of more than $1.7 billion in shore infrastructure needs.

Its only working heavy icebreaker is 43 years old.

Shultz also announced initiatives to create better conditions for female and minority service members.

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