Psneeld- Well said sir!
Rick- Precedents have been set and it will take a lot to reverse them.
Frankly, all of the Coast Guards functions "could" be transferred to other agencies. It would look something like this (hugely oversimplified):
Customs/Border Protection (CBP), ICE, DEA- Immigration and drug ops.
FBI- Criminal investigations on base or involving military personnel.
Existing intelligence agencies and DEA could handle, well, intel
DOT- ATON's (Or outsourced with proper oversight).
EPA/FEMA- Oil spills/Pollution Prevention. Let them do what we pay them to do.
National Marine Fisheries, USFWS.
Safety inspections-back to the states, supported by the Aux.
Safety/Boating Safety classes- State, AUX, or outsourced to the private sector.
Boating safety law enforcement- Back t the States (with a mandate, training and certification to enforce CFR's.)
Commercial vessel inspection- Could probably form a civilian administrative group for less money, or give it to the DOT.
Military Readiness- Transfer the duties of the USCG (port security, small boat ops, etc.) to the Navy, along with the assets. The problem arises when actions are taken against a foreign vessel by a military ship. Have to modify some rules to make this feasible.
The coast guard has in the past spent a lot of time working with other countries counter drug units, training them in small boat, counter drug/human smuggling operations. This could continue or be taken over by contractor groups.
After that, other than SAR they could be disbanded altogether.
We could as mentioned, outsource SAR to the private sector.
While the Aux is a thought, and to the man or woman, every Aux member I've ever worked with has been true blue and ready to lend a hand with their expertise, knowledge, money and vessels, regardless of the circumstances they may still not be feasible. While IMHO the men and women of the USCGaux are an absolutely outstanding group of people,
the downside is should one of them get hurt or God forbid killed in a SAR op, we're right back to keeping them (or paying bene's) through the taxpayer dime. The same is true for fuel costs and operating expenses that are reimbursed) in an operation.
Then there's training, admin costs, etc., all that have to come from somewhere. While most will come out of the Aux's pocket, it can still get expensive. A private sector SAR team would be responsible for their own costs/expenses. Although, if we disbanded the USCG, the aux. would cease to exist anyway.
We could do the same thing with the standing military as well as the multitude of LE agencies on all levels of government (as evidenced above).
Trim the fat, streamline the costs!
Regardless, you're still going to need X number of "grunts" to get the job done, and X number of assets to make it happen.
What we could (and should) lose, is the God awful and redundant amount of as psneeld mentioned, admin types that are screwing things up at an alarming rate, to justify their positions. Dump tons of top weight, with a resulting reduction in payroll, benefit payments and perks. Get rid of the "toys" that aren't needed. Every branch of service doesn't need a boat unit for example. Streamline efforts and materiel cost, cross train, and become excellent at what you do, not just "good."
We could save tons of taxpayer money, be more efficient, and have better inter-agency communications.
Oh well, an exercise in futility, but it always makes me feel better