Today the USCG Commandant, Admiral Thad Allen gave the 2009 State Of The Coast Guard Address at the National Press Club in Washington. Here is the text of his speech:
To the Men and Women of the United States Coast Guard:
This afternoon, I will deliver my third State of the Coast Guard address at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. During this year of transition, I thought it was important to emphasize the tremendous value we provide to the Nation on a daily basis. Our men and women – active duty, reservists, civilians, and auxiliarists – safeguard the Nation’s maritime interests in the Heartland, in the Ports, at Sea, and around the Globe. We are America’s Maritime Guardian.
Last year, I mentioned the Coast Guard has never been more relevant in the national discussion of maritime issues. This year, the demand for our services has never been higher and this puts a tremendous burden on our people and our assets. We are in such high demand because we are a unique instrument of the federal government. As an Armed Service, DHS component agency, National Intelligence Community member and the Nation’s lead representative at the International Maritime Organization, we are well equipped to mitigate risks and respond to threats anywhere in the maritime domain.
Our working environment has changed dramatically over the past decade and we are evolving to meet new challenges. Our modernization program is unifying our command and support structures to improve mission performance in the field. We still need Congressional authorization to fully implement our plans but we are well on our way. We are also introducing new assets to ensure our people have the right capability mix to execute our missions.
We need to act with a sense of urgency because our work has never been more important for the Nation’s safety, security, and economic prosperity. We’ll engage the public and private sectors as well as the international community wherever America?s maritime interests are at stake.
To fulfill our commitments, we have to recapitalize our aging assets and shore infrastructure while increasing our capacity to meet emerging demands. I will continue to work with the Administration and the Congress to ensure our men and women have the tools, capabilities, and authorities to execute our missions safely and effectively.
As the Nation struggles with a lingering economic recession, we’ll have to make difficult financial decisions to allocate our existing resources towards the greatest risk areas. We have always been sound fiscal stewards but we will not do more with less. Rather, we will consider investments in the Coast Guard as a critical step towards decreasing the Nation’s maritime risk.
At the end of the day, you are the reason the Coast Guard can provide such tremendous value to the Nation. You enable us to be Always Ready. You ensure we can meet All Threats and All Hazards – nationwide and worldwide. You are America’s Maritime Guardian.
I encourage you to watch or read the entire State of the Coast Guard Address and discuss it with your shipmates so you can understand our dynamic operating environment. Thank you for your tremendous commitment and dedication to our Service. Semper Paratus.
Admiral Thad Allen
Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard
State Of the Coast Guard Video
State Of the Coast Guard Q&A
After the speech the Commandant answered questions from the media. The following is the video from the Q&A session: