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Homeland Security secretary touts investment in Coast Guard

May 18, 2016 - 1:56 PM

NEW LONDON, Conn. - Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson touted the modernization of the Coast Guard fleet Wednesday in a speech to graduating cadets at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.

Johnson was the keynote speaker at Wednesday's commencement for 181 United States cadets and five from other nations.

He credited the president and Congress for working with the Coast Guard to replace its cutters, vessels at least 65 feet in length, many of which are more than four decades old.

"I'm excited for the future of the Coast Guard because we are building you a new fleet of vessels," he told the graduates. "We've built a new fleet of National Security cutters. We're building you a new fleet of Fast Response cutters and we're on track to build you a new fleet of Offshore patrol Cutters."

The Coast Guard's plans include eight new National Security Cutters, 25 Offshore Patrol Cutters and 58 Fast Response Cutters to replace 90 aging vessels.

Johnson said work on a new heavy Polar ice breaker is now in the design phase.

The 58-year-old Johnson, who is black, also spent some time reflecting on the nation's progress in race relations.

He said the idea of the United States would have black president or that he would be serving in that president's cabinet was inconceivable to him when he was an undergraduate student at Morehouse College in Georgia.

News from © The Associated Press, 2016
The Associated Press

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