This afternoon, Commandant Karl Schultz outlined the Coast Guard’s perseverance through a difficult year, and highlighted encouraging developments in our efforts to advance as a mission ready service.
“When we provide our workforce both with an inclusive environment in which all members can thrive, and the tools to get the job done, therein resides mission success and high employee satisfaction; therein we remain an employer of choice.” Shultz said.
Through investments in education, policy infrastructure, and opportunities, the Coast Guard will equip every member of the workforce with the skills they need to succeed in their service and secure our commitment to a more inclusive Coast Guard.
To make sure you get the most out of the State of the Coast Guard, MyCG has compiled an overview of the resources available now, and what’s coming online for you in the near future.
SUPPORTING OUR PEOPLE
Building a Culture of Inclusion: To foster a truly inclusive environment we are updating our training courses, leadership 77 competencies, and evaluation systems. We are also exploring our “A” school ASVAB qualifying 78 scores – the gateway to our enlisted ratings – to maximize opportunities for all.
Diversity & Inclusion Change Agents: Teams and units across the service are implementing the “Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan” in innovative ways. At the enterprise level, by summer’s end, we will have trained 125 “Change Agents” to deliver diversity training, facilitate crucial conversations about the power of diversity and champion mentoring.
Diversity & Inclusion Change Agent Training
Mentoring Program: Access to mentors is important. That’s why we’re piloting a mentoring program, expected to roll out by the end of the year. No matter where you work, our new mentoring app will connect you with a mentor who shares your interests, skills and career goals.
The program traditional one-to-one mentoring connections, but also offers flexibility and fosters inclusion and connection within field communities, including professional interests, ratings, and personal connections. This new approach in the mentoring program flips the script and empowers our Service's emerging leaders in a forum where they can share their insight perspectives in a group setting with senior leaders.
Sea Duty Readiness Council: The Coast Guard is building new cutters at a pace not seen since World War II. By 2033 afloat billets will increase over 25%, to more than 10,000 members. The deputy commandants for Operations and Mission Support, in conjunction with both the Atlantic and Pacific commanders, have stood up a Sea Duty Readiness Council (SDRC) to challenge ourselves to think differently about how we crew and maintain our cutters, and how we appropriately recognize the challenge and sacrifice of going to sea as we get ready to onboard 2,000 new afloat billets supporting National Security Cutters, Offshore Patrol Cutters, Fast Response Cutters, Polar Security Cutters, Waterways Commerce Cutters, buoy tenders, icebreakers, and our 87-foot coastal patrol boats. The Sea Duty team will resolve how the Coast Guard staffs and maintains cutters. It will also ensure we are fully recognizing the challenge and sacrifice of going to sea.
- MyCG Article: A homage to sea duty in the Coast Guard – Successes, challenges, and being underway
Increase in Tuition Assistance: The Coast Guard’s Tuition Assistance (TA) Program annual reimbursement cap will be increase from $2,250 to $3,750 annually for each active duty (AD) member and reserve member.
Grow the Reserve Workforce: It is more rewarding and easier than ever before to become a reservist. The new Flex-PAL allows reservists to train closer to where they live. We’re also creating billets around hubs where we can rotate reservists through different unit types within a geographical region.
Two-Year Active-Duty Enlistments: The Coast Guard now offers a two-year active-duty enlistment option for fiscal year 2021. The new enlistment contract is designed for candidates interested in serving, but reluctant to commit to a longer contract. The program is also intended to grow the reserve corps, as those who use this option serve for two years on active duty, followed by four years in the drilling Reserve, and finally two years as individual ready reserve.
Active Duty to Reserve Transition: For members who leave active duty, but continue service in our reserve component, we now offer an option to defer involuntary activation for one year from the date of Reserve affiliation.
- USCG Reserve
- Policy Implementation for Members Released from Active Duty and Affiliate with the Selected Reserve to Defer Deployment ALCOAST 094/20
Technical Workforce Analysis: A team to evaluate whether today’s force structure can meet our future operational needs. We are looking at our enlisted ratings to make sure they meet industry standards in the training they receive to do their jobs now, while at the same time gaining the skills they need to be successful in the future. We are also increasing our pool of applicants by removing unnecessary policy barriers. Bottom line: We are investing in our enlisted members to set them up for current and future success.
Officer Recruiting Corps: The Coast Guard is cultivating a diverse workforce that reflects our nation. To support this ongoing priority, we are establishing a dedicated Officer Recruiting Corps to manage the sustained outreach necessary to attract the best possible officer candidates to the Coast Guard. Their main goal will be sharing their unique perspectives on officer careers and forging the personal connections critical to attracting potential applicants to the Coast Guard.
Ready Workforce 2030: Given the keen importance of talent management, we’re developing a new “Ready Workforce 2030” strategic vision for how we collaborate to recruit, train, support, and retain our Mission Ready Total Workforce. Forthcoming initiatives include: Delivering “speed of need learning,” making workforce support an all-hands (r)evolution, training to retain, focusing on careers beyond the next assignment, working from anywhere, and developing career building to maximize options for our workforce.
Tech Revolution: Since announcing the Tech Revolution, the Coast Guard has put the enterprise on a much better trajectory regarding command and control, communications, computers, and cyber and intelligence (C5I) technology. C5I is vital to mission execution on cutters, boats, and aircrafts alike. Modernizing these systems to improve mission outcomes and preparing for the future remain a top priority. Tech improvements you may have noticed:
- Improving Cutter Connectivity - Major cutters are reporting significantly improved access to IT applications while underway after increasing bandwidths for all large cutters.
- Expanded telework capability - The Coast Guard significantly increased telework capacity and reliability of remote access to the Coast Guard network during the COVID-19 global pandemic.
- Building better tech - The Coast Guard is modernizing the vessel documentation system to enable the National Vessel Documentation Center to register our nation’s vessels. The Coast Guard is also developing a new recruiting case management tool to enable the service to meet its recruiting goals and will be creating the ability for our military members to access their official military personnel files.
- Protecting the data we rely on - The Coast Guard Data Strategy was recently signed.
- MyCG Article: Coast Guard's first Data Strategy guides the way forward for data readiness and well-informed decision making
Expanding Telehealth Resources: A new web-based telehealth tool called Coast Guard Care Anywhere (CGCA) gives our members access to virtual medical appointment services right from their personal computers, tablets or mobile phones – no CAC required. Health care providers can use this new technology any time in-person visits are not required or feasible.
Expanding Behavioral and Mental Health Resources: The Coast Guard is hiring 13 behavioral health professionals across the country. We're also looking at whether nurse case managers can help coordinate members’ mental healthcare services. The Behavioral Health Working Group has stepped up to standardizing behavioral health services across the enterprise.
- MyCG Article: Improvements to Your Coast Guard Behavioral Health Services
Tablet Laptop Pilot Program: Building on our increased telework capabilities, the Coast Guard will replace old desktops with laptops. Mobile workstations, such two-in-one tablets, will help our workforce work from home or on the road. Starting this spring, a two-in-one tablet pilot program will test operational feasibility of transitioning to these types of workstations. The pilot program will be rolled out to several First District units, from Station Cape Cod Canal to Sector Long Island Sound. Also, FORCECOM will receive 3,000 two-in-one tablets and distribute these across their training centers to increase training effectiveness.
Housing Improvements for Coast Guard Families: One recurring concern from our crews is the lack of adequate housing in remote locations and high-cost cities where we operate. Last year’s budget funded Coast Guard housing renovations around the country, including in Jonesport, Maine and Depoe Bay, Oregon. In partnership with congressional leadership in, new phases of government housing are also underway in Kodiak, Alaska. Renovations span new construction contracted by Coast Guard civil engineers, as well as grassroots housing assistance teams.
ADVANCING OUR CAPABILITIES
New Aviation Unit – Air Station Ventura County: Later this year, we will break ground on our first new aviation unit in more than 20 years. Air Station Ventura County, located in Southern California, will strengthen our aviation multi-mission capability in the region. This project provides permanent Air Station facilities at Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC). The scope includes a 48,000 SF hangar facility, and more than 12,000 square feet of office and berthing space.
Rotary Wing Fleet: We have 146 helicopters – 98 MH-65 Dolphins and 48 MH-60 Jayhawks in the fleet. The rapidly declining availability of MH-65s – which the Coast Guard operates three times longer than industry standard – necessitates a holistic look at the future of the Service’s rotary wing fleet. Every day, our air station crews are hard at work to maintain MH-65 Dolphin and MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter fleets, to extend the life of our existing assets, while also working to increase the size of the MH-60 fleet. Ultimately the MH-65s will be replaced with MH-60s, due to the supply challenges facing the MH65. In the long term, the Coast Guard is pursuing the Department of Defense (DoD) Future Vertical Lift Program (FVL) as a possible replacement for our rotary-wing fleet, with an anticipated full operational capability in the late 2030’s.
Air Station Borinquen: This year the Coast Guard will transition Air Station Borinquen in Puerto Rico from an MH-65 Dolphins to an MH-60 Jayhawks unit. The transition from an MH-65 unit to an MH-60 unit provides numerous benefits. The more capable MH-60 helicopter will provide operational commanders with greater range, on-scene endurance, and payload capacity. Further, removing MH-65s from the fleet will relieve some pressure on the already strained MH-65 supply chain. The transition will begin in Spring 2021, including the arrival of the first MH-60 aircraft May 1, 2021. A combination of pilot and personnel moves, and training will support this transition. The goal is to have Air Station Borinquen at full operation capability with the MH-60’s by the end of calendar year 2021. The three MH-60 aircraft in Borinquen will provide Sector San Juan, the Seventh District, and all of Atlantic Area with significant increases in range, on-scene endurance, and payload capacity. The capabilities of these MH-60 aircrafts will allow the Coast Guard to respond to natural disasters and crises in the region more quickly.
C-130-J – Super Hercules: Air Station Barbers Point has moved to a HC-130J, fixed-wing, long-range surveillance air station, along with a new hangar that has been fully funded. The Coast Guard’s HC-130J Super Hercules long-range surveillance aircraft has an advanced suite of command, control, communication, computers, cyber, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C5ISR) equipment that will extend our mission capabilities. From its home base in Kapolei Hawaii, the HC-130J will be able to deploy to the outer regions of the Fourteenth District’s area of responsibility in a single flight. The new aircraft also features state-of-the-market avionics, including all-glass cockpit displays and improved navigation equipment. The C-130J has increased our intelligence gathering capabilities by employing the Minotaur Mission System Suite, which promotes interoperability between the Coast Guard, Navy, Marine Corps, and Customs and Border Patrol.
Maritime Cyber Infrastructure: The new Coast Guard Maritime Cyber Readiness Branch (MCRB) within Coast Guard Cyber Command brings together cybersecurity and port operations to better protect maritime infrastructure and vessels from a cyberattack. This branch investigates all reported cyber incidents in the Marine Transportation System and shares important findings with maritime partners and other stakeholders to build a more resilient network. Combined with our deployable Cyber Protection Team, the Coast Guard is taking important and necessary steps to increase safety and security where physical and cyber threats converge.
Icebreaker Activity: International interest in the polar region grows along with rising sea temperatures, and the Coast Guard is ready to protect U.S. national security, environmental, and economic interests through new, multi-mission Coast Guard cutters. To do so, the Coast Guard is recapitalizing its heavy polar icebreaking fleet in the form of the Polar Security Cutter (PSC). Production activities to build the first of six new PSCs are expected to start in the next several months, with delivery scheduled for some time in fiscal year 2024. The PSC is the first heavy polar icebreaker built in the U.S. in over 40 years, with a delivery anticipated in 2024. The updated polar roller will protect and represent the United States’ interests year-round.
CGC Healy: Our goal is to strengthen maritime governance in the U.S. Arctic. There is increased activity in the region due to the rapidly changing physical, operational, and geostrategic Arctic environment. The Coast Guard Cutter Healy will deploy in 2021 to the Arctic, transiting the Northwest Passage and operating in the northern Atlantic and Arctic oceans to strengthen partnerships with Denmark, Canada, and other allies and to ensure a safe, cooperative, and prosperous domain for all.
Expanding the Attaché Program: The Coast Guard works in concert with the Department of Defense, Department of State, and foreign partners around the world through Coast Guard Attachés (COGATTs). This year, the Coast Guard placed its first-ever COGATT in Australia, to provide regional services to New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. The Coast Guard also plans to place an attaché in Copenhagen to service Denmark and Norway. This attaché will advance our national interests and work with our allies and partners to ensure a safe, secure, and cooperative Arctic as our strategic competitors maneuver for advantage in the region. Additionally, the Coast Guard anticipates filling new COGATT billets in South Korea next year.
Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing Strategic Outlook: In September, the Coast Guard released the Illegal Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing Strategic Outlook as a call-to-action to amplify global awareness of IUU fishing as a threat to national security. By increasing awareness of the behaviors of bad actors and fully employing existing resources, enforcement tools, and legal authorities to coordinate action, the Coast Guard and our partners will combat IUU fishing together.
- MyCG Article: Coast Guard Announces Outlook to Combat Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing
USCGC Hamilton: This month, National Security Cutter Hamilton will head across the Atlantic to support DoD’s European Combatant Command while escorting new Fast Response Cutters on their way to replace the six 110-foot patrol boats operating out of Bahrain in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.
PRESERVING OUR LEGACY
Coast Guard Museum: The United States Coast Guard has a reputation as being the best Coast Guard in the world. This is due to the high caliber of men and women who serve in its ranks. We continue working on the future National Coast Guard Museum to highlight the women and men of the United States Coast Guard who are making history. Our brave women and men continue to stand watch at sea and on shore, advance the service, create innovative solutions to evolving challenges, and forge new partnerships, even during a global pandemic.