Improvisation has its limits, but shooting from the hip in some situations gives the Coast Guard the flexibility needed to accomplish today's rapidly changing missions, where the ability to plan on the go is key.
During the last few years, the Coast Guard has been a major player in a number of significant joint operations with the Navy and other Department of Defense services. In each case, the mission was accomplished—even when it changed drastically after the operation was under way, The Coast Guard's role in these missions was planned largely on the fly, and the command elements were ad hoc collections of operational types. The time-honored tradition of operational improvisation is one of the Coast Guard's great strengths. In fact, it is often the best way to do things in this small service, and is an important skill the Coast Guard brings to the joint table.