It is my distinct privilege to serve you and the American public as the 26th Commandant of the Coast Guard. My guiding principles below will ensure our Service remains best positioned to “Stand the Watch” and serve a Nation whose economic prosperity, national security, and global influence are inextricably linked to the maritime domain. Our service is strong, the total workforce highly capable, and the demand for Coast Guard services never greater. As I assume the watch, our heading will remain steady but we will look to pick up speed building on Service to Nation, Commitment to Excellence, and Duty to People. Our approach to Duty to People will be reframed through the lens of building and optimizing a “mission ready total workforce,” more closely tying the development and support of our people, and their families, to service readiness.
These guiding principles frame my direction and will support the Department of Homeland Security, the Secretary of Defense and Combatant Commanders, and other national and global maritime interests.
We will be prepared to serve and protect the American people and our national interests.
We will be a professional and agile armed force, law enforcer, regulator, and maritime first responder on which our partners confidently rely to address the Nation’s increasingly complex maritime challenges.
We will employ our bias for action to excel in mission execution as we protect and defend the homeland.
Our Coast Guard is strong, and that is a testament to you. Thank you for the dedication, hard work, and sacrifice you and your families make daily to successfully accomplish all of our missions. I am incredibly proud of this great organization and humbly honored to serve alongside you as we build on past success and lead our Coast Guard into the future.span>
Admiral Karl L. Schultz
Today’s United States Coast Guard faces historic challenges. As we strive to meet the increasing demands of everyday operations while remaining prepared for more frequent major incidents, we must confront a host of unprecedented modern risks that threaten our Nation’s security and prosperity. From historic levels of violence in Central America to increased activity in the newly-navigable waters of the Arctic, from the vast and complex reaches of cyberspace to the bustling and rapidly-changing energy trade that is now fueled by significant domestic production, we are facing a convergence of risks that demand the Coast Guard’s strategic action and commitment of resources.
The Strategic Intent 2015-2019 outlines the Coast Guard’s highest strategic priorities to address these risks. These priorities are directly aligned with national strategies and policies, and guidance from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), to include the priorities outlined in the DHS Quadrennial Homeland Security Review. In fulfilling our Service’s responsibility to ensure the safety, security, and stewardship of our Nation’s waters, the Coast Guard must: understand our strategic environment, adapt to the strategic challenges in all domains, and achieve and maintain a resilient service that is always ready for the realities of the 21st century.
In addition to the complex threats and challenges this Strategic Intent addresses, it also recognizes that austere fiscal realities demand efficiency in all of our efforts. Reductions felt across government require innovative approaches in our allocation of resources to meet mission requirements in the 21st century, with emphasis upon a measurable return on investment. Similarly, we must be innovative in the management of our human resource capital, with an emphasis upon greater specialization across our many and ever more complex skill sets. The Coast Guard will continually seek efficiencies and cost control measures to provide the greatest return on every dollar invested in maritime safety, security, and stewardship. Between 2012 and 2015, the Coast Guard’s discretionary budget was reduced by $300 million, including a reduction of more than 1,500 personnel. During a time of increased demand for Coast Guard services, these reductions will challenge the Service to identify, react to, and combat all threats in the maritime domain. As new threats arise, assets must be redirected to the highest priorities of the Nation.
This document provides overarching guidance for a number of strategic priorities detailed in functional and regional strategies, such as the Coast Guard Western Hemisphere Strategy, the Coast Guard Arctic Strategy, and the soon-to-be released Coast Guard Cyber Strategy. It is not intended to cover all Coast Guard efforts, but rather outline a four-year strategic agenda that will ensure the overall success of the longer-term goals identified in these strategies. This Strategic Intent also outlines the critical initiatives we must pursue to bridge national strategies and program performance planning to build and maintain a resilient Service that is Always Ready for the challenges of this new century.
Admiral Paul F. Zunkunft
It is my pleasure to present the Coast Guard Human Capital Strategy. The U.S. Coast Guard excels as a multi-mission, maritime service providing for the safety, security, and stewardship of the Nation’s waters. Excellence in mission execution relies on the Coast Guard’s greatest strength – our workforce. The demands of our operations require a resilient, capable workforce that draws upon the broad range of skills, talents, and experiences found in the American population. We must build and maintain a proficient, diverse, and adaptable workforce to respond to changing technology, an increasingly complex operating environment, and dynamic partnerships. We must prepare effective leaders who are locally based, nationally deployed, and globally connected. Every member of our Service must be responsible for cultivating a culture of respect and fostering a positive workplace climate to sustain mission excellence.
Increasingly, significant challenges in Coast Guard human capital management have been introduced through new strategic priorities, the need for technical and perishable skills, fiscal constraints, and changing workforce demographics. Our practices and foundational principles have not appreciably changed for many decades. Now is the time to develop and deploy new and innovative human capital management approaches to access, develop, sustain, and retain the Coast Guard workforce needed for complex, global missions.
The Human Capital Strategy sets a 10-year course to ensure that our functions and processes – including requirements, resource allocation, training, and human resource systems – work together to ensure a thriving and effective workforce prepared for the complexities of tomorrow. The Human Capital Strategy underscores the critical nature of unit-level leadership in developing the workforce of tomorrow. It also defines efforts critical to the resiliency and safety of our people. It ensures our processes deliver talented individuals, with the necessary training and performance support tools, ready to execute the mission.
The Coast Guard’s core values of honor, respect, and devotion to duty are ingrained in every member of our workforce. As this Strategy is implemented, we will ensure that we have the workforce critical for our Service to Nation, priorities that uphold our Duty to People, and focus that strengthens our Commitment to Excellence.
Admiral Paul F. Zukunft
For more than two centuries, the U.S. Coast Guard has performed increasingly complex missions in the most challenging of marine environments. Throughout this history, the Coast Guard has continually adapted to the emergence of innovative technologies while leveraging new capabilities to ensure the safety, security, and stewardship of our Nation’s waters. Today’s rapidly evolving cyber domain presents unprecedented challenges and opportunities for our Service, as we help ensure our Nation’s security and prosperity in this new century.
Cyber technology is inextricably linked with all aspects of Coast Guard mission performance. It simultaneously presents opportunities for greater efficiency and effectiveness in our operating environment, while fueling new threats and challenges. The Nation’s security and prosperity is critically reliant on a safe and secure maritime domain, where threats and risks to our Nation and oceans are effectively managed and maritime commerce continues to thrive. To ensure the Coast Guard meets our Nation’s most enduring maritime priorities, we must always ensure we meet our strategic priorities in the cyber domain.
I am pleased to introduce the U.S. Coast Guard’s Cyber Strategy to guide our efforts in the cyber domain. This strategy identifies three distinct strategic priorities that are critical to our overall mission success: Defending Cyberspace, Enabling Operations, and Protecting Infrastructure. It also details a number of cross-cutting enabling factors that will ensure our long-term success.
The Coast Guard must adapt to the ongoing and rapid advancements in cyber technology. In continuing our proud history of responding to the ever evolving maritime needs of the Nation, the Coast Guard will fully embrace cyberspace as an operating domain. To this end, we will work tirelessly to achieve our vision for operating in the cyber domain: “We will ensure the security of our cyberspace, maintain superiority over our adversaries, and safeguard our Nation’s critical maritime infrastructure.”
Paul F. Zukunft
The U.S. Coast Guard is recognized worldwide for our ability to perform diverse maritime missions over vast geographic areas. Our value to the Nation resides in our enduring commitment to protect those on the sea, to protect the United States from threats delivered by the sea, and to protect the sea itself. As a military, law enforcement, regulatory, and humanitarian Service, the Coast Guard relies upon an array of unique authorities and partnerships to enhance our capability and capacity throughout the maritime domain.
Although active in every region of the world, the Coast Guard’s primary operating area will remain in the Western Hemisphere. As the premier maritime guardian in this dynamic region, the Coast Guard must confront a growing number of threats and challenges to ensure the safety, security, and stewardship of our Nation’s waters. As new challenges continue to test our Nation’s increasingly strained defense and national security resources across the globe, the Coast Guard must continually refocus our strategic efforts for effective maritime governance in areas closer to home.
As we engage these future challenges, we must think and act strategically. The convergence of Transnational Organized Crime networks and our continued reliance on a rising array of commercial maritime activities will require new and proven approaches. Globalization, advancements in technology, and the future impacts of climate change will also necessitate a refocusing of our efforts. We will meet these demands with a new and broad strategic focus.
Paul F. Zukunft
The U.S. Coast Guard’s value to the nation resides in our proven ability to protect those on the sea, protect the United States from threats delivered by sea and protect the sea itself. Our unique authorities, capabilities, competencies and partnerships as a military, law enforcement, regulatory and humanitarian Service are central to that value proposition. We are recognized worldwide for our ability to execute these diverse maritime missions over vast geographic areas and under the most challenging and demanding conditions..
We must think and act strategically..
I am pleased to introduce the U.S. Coast Guard Arctic Strategy to guide our efforts in the region over the next 10 years. This strategy is based on nearly 150 years of Coast Guard experience in maritime operations in the Arctic region, since the U.S. Revenue Cutter Lincoln first arrived in the new U.S. territory of Alaska in 1867.
The U.S. Coast Guard Arctic Strategy documents our intent to pursue three key objectives: Improving Awareness, Modernizing Governance, and Broadening Partnerships.
Beyond these objectives, we will continue to build upon our Service’s long heritage of leadership in the Arctic, working with Federal, state, local, and territorial partners to ensure maritime governance in the region.
Semper Paratus. Stand a taut watch.
R.J. Papp Jr.
Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard