By LT Stephanie Young, USCG – Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft has released a Mid-Term Report highlighting organizational accomplishments since taking office in May 2014 and outlining the Coast Guard’s way forward for the next two years and beyond.
Coinciding with the halfway point of his tenure, the Commandant discussed this Mid-Term Report during a keynote address held at the Center for Strategic and International Studies on June 13, 2016, as part of the Maritime Security Dialogue series. The Commandant shared the process of issuing his initial direction “on day one,” followed by the Strategic Intent 2015-2019 and a suite of associated strategies setting the service’s strategic agenda. The Commandant also shared how it was important to reframe the way people think about the Coast Guard, shifting the focus away from the service’s 11 statutory missions, instead focusing on its suite of unique authorities, extensive partnerships and expansive maritime expertise. In doing so, the service is better aligned with the Department of Homeland Security’s missions and more easily understood externally.
Today, the Coast Guard is fully engrossed implementing its Arctic, Western Hemisphere, Cyber and Human Capital strategies along with an Energy Action plan and Diversity and Inclusion plan. These strategies have been successful in gaining budgetary support while timely intelligence enables risk-based, operational decisions to best utilize its finite resources. Together, the strategic documents maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of the entire organization. Similarly, the Coast Guard’s efforts recapitalizing its aging medium endurance cutters, aircraft and infrastructure have resulted in great strides.
While at CSIS, the Commandant noted he is pleased with the Coast Guard’s progress, but pointed out he did not want people to lose sight of the service’s most treasured asset – its people. Managing 21st century talent is critical to organizational success he shared, and through the Coast Guard’s Human Capital Strategy, the service is making sure today’s workforce is proficiently trained and equipped to meet the dynamic challenges of the future.
In addition to partnering with the Department of Defense (DOD) and DHS to strengthen the nation’s marine transportation system from cyber intrusion, Zukunft’s top marine transportation priorities for the next two years include:
- Modernizing the MTS with automated navigation systems.
- Implementing the IMO Polar Code for vessels operating in the polar regions and ensuring the safety and security standards for liqueed natural gas fueled ships.
- Executing prevention and response initiatives that enhance marine safety and minimize adverse effects upon the marine environment.
- Championing independent laboratory certications of ballast water treatment systems that comply with our regulatory regime.
- Improving regulatory frameworks to keep pace with industrial advancements and employ risk-based decisions to inform vessel and facility inspection requirements.
- Determining the impact of the Panama Canal Expansion Project upon shipping and
- loading patterns.
- Enforcing compliance of Subchapter M for inspection and safety management of towing vessels.
Built upon the Commandant’s Strategic Intent, the Mid-Term Report is designed to resonate with key stakeholders and the 88,000 active duty, reserve, civilian and all-volunteer auxiliary members while also informing those involved in the upcoming Presidential transition. While not representative of every achievement, it identifies key accomplishments across the spectrum of Coast Guard operations and mission support.