An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

My Coast Guard
Commentary | Aug. 1, 2023

Announcing the annual Coast Guard Emergency Manager and Unit of the Year awards

By Capt. Timothy Balunis, Steven Maynard, and Lt. Dan Rynard, Coast Guard Office of Emergency Management and Disaster Response (CG-OEM)

Does your unit have an outstanding emergency manager? Has your emergency management staff excelled at “taming chaos” through a recent crisis? The Coast Guard’s newest award program, recently approved by the commandant, seeks to recognize excellence in emergency management at the unit and individual level. 

The Coast Guard Emergency Manager of the Year and Emergency Management Unit of the Year awards recognize emergency management practitioners and units whose outstanding contributions have enhanced the preparedness and response capacity of the Coast Guard.  

The need for recognition now 

Ultimately, the Coast Guard’s ability to prevent, prepare for, mitigate, respond to, and recover from crises relies upon the cohesion and expertise of emergency managers throughout the Coast Guard. The crisis landscape is becoming more complex, and national and international contingencies are placing increased demands on Coast Guard responders. The rise in Type I incidents, climate-driven disasters, and “novel” contingencies is changing what it means to be an emergency manager.  

Against this backdrop, it is more important than ever to spotlight units and individuals that are re-shaping this role and administering superior emergency management programs.  

By recognizing exceptional members and units, Office of Emergency Management and Disaster Response (CG-OEM) aims to further professionalize the emergency management field within the Coast Guard, and encourage innovation and compliance in the execution of emergency management program functions.  

Capt. Timm Balunis, chief of CG-OEM said, “Our members have been performing admirably for years in all manner of incident responses. The demand for agile crisis leadership has grown in-step with climate-driven and other human-caused disasters. As the emergency management profession continues to grow, we must celebrate those that are innovating, modernizing resources, maximizing response proficiency, and further aligning us with external stakeholders.”  

Nominations and eligibility 

An effective emergency management program consists of many elements: high Incident Management Team (IMT) readiness; a thorough Incident Command System (ICS) training-to-certification pipeline; regularly updated contingency plans; rigorous training and exercise program. Accordingly, nominees will be evaluated on a range of qualitative and quantitative criteria, to include metrics capturing contributions and compliance with emergency management program standards.  

“Above all,” said Balunis, “The Annual Emergency Management Awards will recognize units and individuals that are embracing the challenges of a dynamic crisis landscape, and finding innovative ways to ensure the Coast Guard is prepared to lead in crisis.” 

Who can apply? 

The awards program is now live and can be viewed on the CG-OEM-1 SharePoint site. Eligibility includes the following: 

  • Emergency Manager of the Year award. This competition is open to Coast Guard active duty and reserve officers (O-4 and below), enlisted (E-6 and below) and civilian personnel (GS-13 and below). Emergency management contractors, consultants and members of other military services are not eligible to compete. 
  • Emergency Management Unit of the Year awards (two categories). 
    • Districts: Coast Guard district planning and force readiness (dx) offices. 
    • Operational units: Coast Guard sectors, marine safety units (with captain of the port authority) and other operational units with dedicated emergency management and force readiness divisions. 

The first awards will be given this fall.  

If you have a question about these awards or its criteria, please email prior to the entry deadline. Late submissions will not be accepted. 

In the news: