Nowhere is the lack of agreement over the Coast Guard's essence more discernible than with each Commandant who brings his own interpretation to the job. A comparison of some policies of two recent Commandants—Admiral Paul A. Yost (1986-1990) and Admiral J. William Kime (1990-1994)—illustrates the absence of internal cohesion and highlights the issues that continue to fuel disagreement.
Admiral Yost, a designated cutterman and Silver Star Medal recipient from Vietnam, modified the officer evaluation report (OER) by adding a new dimension titled "Warfare Expertise." For the first time, the Coast Guard formally evaluated the competency of its officers to conduct naval warfare missions. By long practice, the Coast Guard does not designate its officers as either "staff" or "line." All are eligible for command, given they meet prescribed requirements. Reflecting this policy, the OER did not have separate measures for line (e.g., seamanship and airmanship) and staff (e.g., law and finance). Instead, it had a single measure, "Operational & Specialty Expertise."