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Adm. Thad Allen, Coast Guard commandant, said the Coast Guard is “ready and resilient” but “is more fragile this year than last.”

“FRA notes Adm. Allen’s past requests for increasing manpower and also calls for adequate [Homeland Security] resources to ensure pay and benefits for these service members remain on a par with their Department of Defense counterparts,” Mr. Barnes said. “We consistently reference these requests in our congressional testimony, written statements and personal interaction with members of Congress and their staff.”

In 2009, the association stressed the importance of increased Coast Guard manpower to the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation subcommittee on oceans, atmosphere, fisheries and the Coast Guard, and the House Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee on Coast Guard and maritime transportation, stating the increase “would translate to a higher level of mission effectiveness.”

Send letters to Sgt. Shaft, c/o John Fales, P.O. Box 65900, Washington, DC 20035-5900; fax: 301/622-3330; call: 202/257-5446; or e-mail