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My Coast Guard
Commentary | Jan. 25, 2023

Coast Guard launches critically trained officers program

By Zach Shapiro, MyCG Writer

The Coast Guard has updated policies regarding direct commission officers (DCOs) and critically trained officers (CTOs) in order to improve recruitment and retention of officers with desirable skills, supporting one of the initiatives in the Commandant’s 100 Day Action Plan to develop a contracted officer corps, now known as critically trained officers. CTOs possess skills that are considered critical to the service, as established by the Assistant Commandant for Human Resources (CG-1) in conjunction with the Personnel Service Center (PSC) and relevant program offices. 

Initial military service obligations for DCOs remain eight years, but under the new policies, extended active duty (EAD) agreements can be offered to reserve DCOs for between one and five years. The Coast Guard may also offer follow-on EAD agreements, including consecutive five-year contracts, as determined by service need. 

CTOs may not be required to integrate as permanent regular officers after selection by an active duty promotion list (ADPL) promotion board while on EAD. A decision not to integrate will not prevent officers with critical training from completing time on an existing EAD agreement or accepting a new EAD agreement. 

Another significant change under this new policy is that the Coast Guard may access officers with critical skills at grades higher than lieutenant, up to and including commander. An active duty officer with critical skills may also have the opportunity to resign their existing commission and recommission as a reserve officer at a higher paygrade without going before a promotion selection board; however, doing so may incur additional obligated service. The Coast Guard may also now offer temporary promotions to officers with critical skills up to and including captain.

These revised policies will provide the Coast Guard more options in its toolbox to recruit and retain talent by providing more flexible agreements to reserve officers with critical skills. The policies will also allow the Coast Guard to “better attract, hire, and retain people whose skills are highly desirable or in short supply within the service by providing them with compensation commensurate with their skill level,” said Lt. Cmdr. Ashley Greene of the Office of Military Personnel’s Policy and Standards Division (CG-1331).

If you have any questions, please contact the office of Military Personnel Policy (CG-133).


  • Updates to Policy for Direct Commission Officers ALCOAST 034/23
  • Updates to Policy to Increase Officer Management Flexibility ALCOAST 033/23