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My Coast Guard
Commentary | May 24, 2024

Strengthening Service Culture SITREP: Initial progress to make the Coast Guard a better workplace

By Vice Adm. Pete Gautier and Master Chief Jahmal Pereira

Editor’s Note: Vice Adm. Pete Gautier is the Deputy Commandant for Operations and campaign coordinator for the Strengthening Service Culture initiative. Master Chief Jahmal Pereira is Deputy Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard and champion of the Strengthening Service Culture Through Our Core Values initiative. 

With contributions from across the Service, this is an update on a series of actions taken as part of the Strengthening Service Culture initiative that the Coast Guard has recently announced, as well as some that are being developed. This update also covers some efforts that will need input and support from all members of the Coast Guard. 

To learn more about the Strengthening Service Culture initiative, please see Strengthening Service Culture – Full speed ahead  


  • The Strengthening Service Culture Summit in February brought every flag officer, Senior Executive Service (SES) member, and Gold Badge Command Master Chief to D.C. for a two-day immersive experience where they learned the neuroscience of trauma and a baseline for using trauma-informed communication, heard from survivors of military sexual violence, and gained a personal understanding of how these incidents impact victims’ lives and impair units’ ability to conduct missions safely and effectively. 

  • To get a crystal-clear picture of how members view our current culture, the entire Service recently participated in a Coast Guard-wide climate survey, known as the Defense Organizational Climate Survey (DEOCS). Typically, each command reviews its own DEOCS results and copies the next rung up the ladder. But this year, the DEOCS data will also be aggregated across the entire Service, not just reviewed at the unit level. This data will give leaders the ability to look at the overall picture and pinpoint specific regions or topics that may require intervention. 

  • FORCECOM facilitated dialogue at each of the 2024 Commanding Officer Conferences – Cutter, Sector, Base, Deployable Special Forces (DSF), Aviation, Training Centers– on leading challenging conversations. These skills are now being incorporated into Coast Guard’s leadership courses.  

  • FORCECOM developed a training module to help commanding officers immediately confront boundary violations and lead challenging conversations to help members improve their habits and behaviors.  

  • The Enterprise Victim Advocate amplifies victim’s voices and seeks to address service-wide issues that adversely affect the prevention of, response to, and recovery from harmful and oppressive behaviors. 


  • Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard Heath Jones is championing a sweeping campaign to clarify the defining language of our Core Values and the positive behaviors associated with them. Through one-on-one interviews and a series of focus groups, the team will develop a deep understanding of how the Service best demonstrates the Core Values and then create the Core Value Framework.  

  • Coast Guard has published crisis resource hubs on both MyCG and Pixel. You’ll find the same info on both platforms, so you can quickly and easily figure out how to get help if you’ve experienced harassing behaviors or are experiencing crisis of any kind.  

  • On MyCG, click Crisis Support. 

  • On the Pixel Dashboard, click the “In Crisis? Click Here” button on the bottom of the left-hand column.  


  • The Coast Guard will kick off Sentinel Transition and Resiliency Training (START), a one-week preparatory course for Cape May graduates. START will reinforce and expand on lessons from boot camp in a learning environment more conducive for knowledge retention. The START curriculum will include health, personal finance, SAPRR/Bystander Intervention, Core Values, interpersonal relationships, substance abuse, and more.

  • Soon, you will see tailored training modules on our Core Values, Sexual Assault Prevention, Response and Recovery (SAPRR), leadership expectations, bystander intervention, and workplace climate. These modules will be included in existing and new leadership courses.      

  • SAPRR training for the workforce is being overhauled. You've already taken the new SAPRR mandatory annual training, which will eventually be replaced by in-person trainings as well as other modalities, in order to meet members' diverse learning styles. Additionally, the Coast Guard is creating a more in-depth version of in-person Bystander Intervention Training and hiring additional staff to make this training available to any command upon request.

  • Coast Guard Academy’s swab summer will now have three distinct phases: acclimation, training, and orientation. The updated program will help cadets shift from the civilian world into the military environment and make sure they’re prepared to act in alignment with the Service’s Core Values.


  • The Coast Guard is investing in new billets in the Integrated Primary Prevention and Anti-Harassment program offices to increase members’ resiliency.

  • To provide Coast Guard Academy cadets with more oversight in Chase Hall (the cadet barracks), four additional company officers and four additional company chiefs will arrive before this year’s swab summer.      

  • The service is investing $9 million in electronic locks and security cameras for the Coast Guard Academy barracks to increase physical security.        


  • The Safe to Report policy eliminates a significant barrier to reporting sexual assault. A member who reports a sexual assault won’t be punished for minor collateral violations – such as underage drinking, breaking barracks rules, or an unacceptable or prohibited relationship. This policy also protects bystanders who intervene to prevent or disrupt a sexual assault.  

  • The Coast Guard’s Military Separations Manual has been updated to clarify that members found to have committed sexual assault or sexual harassment will be processed for separation and those separated can no longer receive an honorable discharge. Instead, they will receive a characterization of service no higher than a General - Under Honorable Conditions.   

  • Retired Grade Determination allows the Coast Guard to assess the highest grade an officer has held satisfactorily and to update their highest grade held if new information comes to light after that officer has retired. For example, if someone commits a crime as an O5, then promotes to O6 and retires - the service might determine that the officer must retire as an O5, or the grade at which they last honorably served.   

  • Victims can now attend their alleged perpetrator’s board of inquiry or administration separation board, provide a victim impact statement, and be accompanied by a victim advocate when they attend these proceedings. This change is intended to give victims transparency into the process involved in their case. (See more: Coast Guard sets clear expectations regarding sexual assault, sexual harassment in the Service)   

  • The Coast Guard Academy updated the cadet conduct system to place more emphasis on counseling cadets using interpersonal interactions rather than demerits. The new program gives aspiring leaders an opportunity to practice having challenging conversations and to build their leadership skills, while modeling these behaviors for the next generation.   


  • The Enlisted Performance Qualifications (EPQs), Officer Evaluations Reports (OERs), and Enlisted Evaluation Reports (EERs) will be revised to include the Core Values Framework being developed through the Strengthening Service Culture Through Our Core Values campaign.   

As this work progresses, the Coast Guard will continue to provide frequent updates through MyCG.