By: Jordan Kolb, Legislative Intern
On February 24th, 2022, Admiral Karl L. Schultz, the 26th Commandant of the U.S.
Coast Guard delivered his annual State of the Coast Guard Address in Clearwater, Florida.
ADM. Schultz began by commending the strong state of the Coast Guard, which has been
rapidly and adequately adapting to a constantly changing maritime domain.
ADM. Schultz began his address by highlighting various new acquisitions to the Coast
Guard fleet as it is currently in its largest ship building phase since World War II. This June, the tenth National Security Cutter (to be named for the first MCPOCG Charles Calhoun) will be christened. In addition to the USCGC Calhoun, details for construction are currently underway for the first state of the art Polar Security Cutter, the Polar Sentinel. This spring, the Coast Guard anticipates awarding the largest acquisition contract in the history of its service for the next 11 Offshore Cutter hulls which is part of stage two of the Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC) program that aims to build 25 new cutters. The OPC program aims to recapitalize the capability of the legacy fleet of 28 medium endurance cutters, some of which are over 50 years old and collectively lose about 500 patrol days on an annual basis due to unplanned maintenance and repairs. The Coast Guard is also making progress on acquisition of 30 new Waterways Commerce Cutters which are critical in aiding the navigation and productivity of our inland waterways and facilitate the transportation of about 25 percent of our nation's GDP annually. ADM. Schultz used this occasion to announce that for the first time in history the entire inland fleet will be able to accommodate mixed gendered crews providing all enlisted Members of the USCG these unique experiences.
Other highlights of the 2021 year included various strides in USCG technology. The
Coast Guard's new medical health record system, MHS Genesis, is now live, making it faster and easier than ever before to retrieve patient records, ultimately reducing administrative error and connecting records to the DOD’s VA system, as well as commercial care providers. The Coast Guard also announced a shift to DOD365 cloud computing ahead of their DOD counterparts which allows Coast Guard Members work access from home computers with the use of a simple access card which is particularly helpful to Reservists who can now access their Coast Guard email and collaboration tools from anywhere. By August, the personnel electronics records management system will go live to give active Members as well as those retired or separated from service on-demand access to their military personal records.
ADM. Schultz finished by speaking to the importance of increasing and maintaining
diversity within the Coast Guard. As the Coast Guard works hard to create a service
representative of the population it serves, it has posted new officers recruiting positions in DC Hampton Roads, Atlanta, Miami and Houston as well as established the 4th and largest JROTC training program in Clearwater FL. Today, more women remain in the workforce longer with 375 more women in the service at the critically important E-6, E-7, and O-4 leadership ranks than there were a few short years ago in 2017 – that's a 28 percent increase in a trend that outpaces their male counterparts. The Coast Guard has also received $6 million in funding to child care subsidy programs expanding the pool of eligible Members and providing financial relief to those in targeted high childcare cost areas. The program nearly tripled the number of enrolled children in 3 years. Lastly, ADM. Schultz proudly informed those in attendance that the Coast Guard will now be offering $4,500 in possible tuition assistance for fiscal year to its Members, effective immediately.
The views expressed in the articles in this publication are solely those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the organizations for which they work, CWOAUSCG, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, or the U.S. government.