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My Coast Guard
Commentary | April 19, 2024

Coast Guard starts a Delayed Decision Program for initial enlistments

By AJ Pulkkinen, MyCG writer

Under the Delayed Decision Program (DDP) Beta Test, rising high school seniors can enlist into the Coast Guard Reserve, and attend boot camp the summer between their eleventh and twelfth grade. They will then drill as a Selected Reserve (SELRES) member during their senior year and, after graduation from high school, have the option to transition to the Active Duty component or remain in the SELRES. 

The why 

DDP allows the Coast Guard to compete for valuable talent at the earliest possible opportunity, consistent with applicable law and policy. Many people turn 17, becoming eligible to enlist in the Coast Guard, while in their junior year of high school. This is also a time when many young people are considering future career opportunities both inside and outside of the military. DDP is aimed at this demographic.  

DDP guarantees these new SELRES members the opportunity to transition to the Active Duty component after high school graduation, provided they maintain continued medical readiness and satisfactory military conduct. Their experience in the Coast Guard during their senior year of high school will enable these DDP members to make the best-informed decision on whether to go Active Duty or stay in the Coast Guard Reserve. 

Eligibility requirements 

Applicants must: 

  • Be at least 17 years old, by law the minimum age of military enlistment 
  • Meet all medical, physical, and conduct enlistment eligibility requirements 
  • Have parental consent  

During the beta test, Temporary Assigned Reserve Recruiters (TARRs) at select Recruiting Offices (RO) will access DDP candidates and assign them to drill at select Sectors and Stations. Candidates must live within a reasonable commuting distance (RCD) of the assigned unit, generally within 50 miles or an hour and a half drive. DDP has slots available for five candidates at each RO listed below. 

  • Through RO Boston: Sector Boston, STA Boston, STA Gloucester, STA Point Allerton  
  • Through RO Hampton Roads: Sector Virginia, STA Little Creek, STA Portsmouth 
  • Through RO Tampa: Sector St. Petersburg, STA St. Petersburg, STA Sand Key, STA Cortez 
  • Through RO Houston: Sector Houston/Galveston, STA Galveston, STA Houston, STA Freeport 
  • Through RO Detroit: Sector Detroit, STA Belle Isle, STA Port Huron, STA St. Claire Shores, STA Toledo 
  • Through RO San Diego: Sector San Diego, STA San Diego 


Members participating in the DDP will have a meaningful professional experience that prioritizes exposure to many Coast Guard missions. They will participate in Reserve unit events including all hands, morale events, and general military readiness requirements. Depending on their unit, interest, and aptitude, DDP members may shadow and train with: 

  • Prevention staff during facilities, container, and vessel inspections 
  • Watch standers in the Sector Command Center or Station communications watch room 
  • Incident Management Division while conducting pollution response operations 
  • Sector or Station engineering staff 
  • Law enforcement boarding teams 
  • Boat crews  
  • Incident Management Teams 

For more 

If you know of an interested candidate, reach out to the Coast Guard Recruiting IMT or directly to the ROs linked above.