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. 24, 2023

A Transformative Year

By MyCG staff writer

Over the course of Adm. Linda Fagan’s first year as commandant, the Coast Guard has embarked on a journey of transformation with an unwavering focus on its most precious resource - you. These include improvements in how we work, support our teams, find new talent, and harness the latest technology. These initiatives underscore a dedication to transforming our total workforce, sharpening our competitive edge, and advancing our mission excellence. These efforts continue, but here are some of this past year’s accomplishments: 

Career Flexibility 

  • Advance-to-position: Assignment officers can now offer an advancement to members who are below cutoffs, as long as they’ve successfully competed for advancement, completed all pre-requisites for advancement, maintained their advancement eligibility, and are able to transfer to an unfilled billet. 
  • Billet banding: Members can complete full tour lengths regardless of advancement to the next higher paygrade, within paygrades that are “banded” together. This program will increase geographic stability for members and their families, provide units greater continuity, and reduce training costs. 
  • Lateral Entry Program: Utilizing members skills and credentials, this effort will rapidly assess, train, and place members who already possess key skillsets into rated billets and allow them to begin their service at the rank appropriate for their experience.  
  • Agile “A” school: By streamlining and modernizing enlisted training, students can skip portions of “A” school if they already possess those skills. 
  • Opt-out officer promotion panel: Officers may now request to opt-out of promotion to complete a broadening assignment, advanced education, a career progression requirement, or a qualifying personal or professional circumstance. This deliberative pause in career progression allows members to prioritize other career opportunities, co-locate, have geographic stability, or family needs while managing their career progression. 
  • One servicewide exam: Transitioning from two annual servicewide exams to one maximizes advancement opportunities for junior enlisted personnel and increases predictability by reducing the number of advancement notifications late in the assignment year, while still accurately forecasting losses upon which those advancements are predicated.   
  • Vested crewmember: Non-rates headed to BM, GM, DC A-school will now be able to return to their previous unit after graduation. Units that have invested in non-rates will get a greater return when the member returns as an E4. This allows commands to capitalize on local training and qualifications and reduce the revolving door of non-rates. Looking to expand to other rates soon.  

Work/Life Balance 

  • Telework and remote work policies: To compete for the best talent, we’ve updated our telework and remote work policies to ensure, in situations where it makes sense and is conducive to the execution of our missions, we can expand opportunities for workplace flexibility.  
  • Child Development Centers: Our FY23 appropriation included an additional $5M for childcare subsidies to help our servicemembers find childcare in locations where it works for them and their families. 
  • Flex PAL for reservists: E-4 to E-6 and O-1 to O-3, allows billets to move to high density geographic areas to enable geographic stability. 

Workforce Support 

  • Enlisted service beyond 30 years: Mandatory retirement is extended to 34 years for enlisted members. 
  • Consolidated RFMCs: Under a single chain of command, RFMCs can better coordinate and share information. 
  • New insignia policy: This new policy provides a pathway to develop insignias for specialized communities that have not previously had one.  It’s part of the commandant’s vision to make the Coast Guard more inclusive by ensuring all communities can earn insignia that honor their expertise. The expansion also brings the Coast Guard in line with the other Armed Services insignia programs to cover more specialty workforces. 

Expand Recruitment 

  • Aligned accession medical standards to DoD: Our standards were previously more restrictive than the other Services, creating a barrier to recruiting. 
  • Single Parents: New recruiting policy allows single parents to join the Coast Guard.

Reduce Administrative Burdens 

  • Removed requirement for pyrotechnics in SAR vests: No Coast Guard member has used pyrotechnics in distress in over 10 years. PLBs have been shown to be more efficient and pyro removal saves approximately 33 hours of admin work a week for our personnel. 
  • Urinalysis: Lowering urinalysis requirement to 70% of crews from 125% to reduce admin burden. Beta test underway in D5 where admin staff are conducting urinalysis at small units under the direction of the local command.  
  • PT test in lieu of weigh-in: Beta test scheduled for October 2023 and April 2024. Members who already complete the boatcrew or LE team PT test will not need to weigh-in.  
  • Press 2.0: Added a procurement request chain of custody function so commands can see where the purchase is at in the process and when the items are ready for order.

World-class customer support 

  • Gender-parity for uniform prices: Female and male uniforms now cost the same. 
  • Active-duty Medical Doctor Program: The Coast Guard will now access, train, and develop our own doctors, reducing dependence on PHS or civilian providers.   
  • Access to mental health: Training HSs as behavior health techs through DoD. Also hiring civilian mental health providers and publishing a mental health awareness pamphlet.  
  • Expanded Coast Guard leased housing: Now all members with dependents qualify for leased housing. This expands leases into high cost, low availability areas where BAH does not cover the cost of housing, while eliminating the need for waivers for a majority of the workforce.  

Investing in the future 

  • Talent Management Transformation: Improvement in personnel readiness at the individual, team, unit, and service level by modernizing our recruiting, hiring, accession, talent management, training, education, and support services.  
  • Office of Data & Analytics: Office to accelerate data and AI; working with CG-1 to develop workforce analytics system.  
  • Starlink: The Coast Guard is aggressively adding Starlink commercial satellite communications on most cutters, which should provide a twenty-fold increase in the speed of shipboard networks. 
  • Accountability and Transparency Review: A 90-day review to assess the service’s authorities, policies, processes, practices, resources, and culture, to create an environment where every Coast Guard member feels safe and valued. 

In the news: 

  1. Commandant delivers 2023 State of the Coast Guard  > United States Coast Guard > My Coast Guard News ( 
  2. Help Wanted: Volunteers to plan tomorrow's Coast Guard > United States Coast Guard > My Coast Guard News ( 
  3. Your chance to transform the Coast Guard extended until July 21 > United States Coast Guard > My Coast Guard News (