If Defense and Civil Agencies Work More Closely Together, More Efficient Search/Rescue and Coast Law Enforcement Could Follow

LCD-76-456: Published: May 26, 1977. Publicly Released: May 26, 1977.

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Increased coordination is needed among several Federal services in providing assistance to people in distress. This could be accomplished by greater sharing of aircraft and crews and support equipment and facilities by the Air Force, Navy, and Coast Guard under the National Search and Rescue Plan. The National Search and Rescue policy was established in 1954 to provide: a basic network of facilities, an overall plan for effective use of all available people and equipment, and for maximum use of State and local facilities.

Despite National Search and Rescue Plan guidelines, the Air Force, Navy, and Coast Guard are essentially computing their own search and rescue requirements independently to satisfy their individual needs without adequately considering the assets of others in the plan. They are also stationing aircraft in some of the same areas without adequately coordinating their use. This has resulted in more aircraft, crews, and supporting services than are needed to provide adequate coverage. The coordination of the rescue objectives of the National Search and Rescue Plan was not being met in maritime regions in fiscal year 1975. Coordination of operations and joint planning to clarify total aircraft requirements could result in a reduction in the number of aircraft needed.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Matter: The Secretaries of Defense and Transportation should direct the military services and the Coast Guard to determine jointly the total search and rescue aircraft requirements for both peacetime and wartime and begin joint effective use of search and rescue aircraft. The Coast Guard should reevaluate the number of aircraft it plans to purchase. Congress should enact legislation authorizing Defense to loan personnel and equipment to civil law enforcement agencies to transport agency representatives on law enforcement missions. (RRS)


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