If you didn’t have a Coast Guard, you’d probably look to create one,” noted Tom Ridge, the first Secretary of Homeland Security, in a 2003 interview.1 This was in the early days of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Coast Guard was one of its centerpieces. His quote caught on with service leaders, who repeatedly cited the secretary’s sentiment about their agency being essential to the nation.2 After all, the Coast Guard provides unquestionably indispensable services: ensuring navigable waterways, conducting search and rescue, and protecting critical infrastructure on the nation’s waters, among others. Moreover, the organization has a proud history of major successes spanning from 1790 to today, including service in every major U.S. war and responses to high-profile events such as the Mariel Boatlift and Hurricane Katrina.
1. Tom Ridge, remarks/interview at “Securing America in a Post 9/11 World,” American Enterprise Institute, 2 September 2003.
2. Admiral Thomas Collins, USCG, “Change and Continuity: Today’s U.S. Coast Guard,” Joint Center for Operational Analysis Lessons Learned Quarterly Bulletin (September 2004), 4; and Admiral Thad Allen, USGC, interview with Maritime Logistics Professional, 11 April 2014.
3. Lawrence Korb, Sean Duggan, and Laura Conley. “Building a U.S. Coast Guard for the 21st Century,” Center for American Progress, June 2010.
4. Devin Dwyer, “Department of Homeland Security a Bureaucratic Behemoth after Eight Years,” ABC News, 1 March 2011.
5. James Holmes, “America Needs a Coast Guard That Can Fight,” Foreign Policy, 15 March 2013.
6. Allen, interview, Maritime Logistics Professional.
7. Ridge, remarks/interview at “Securing America in a Post 9/11 World.”
8. See www.uscg.mil/seniorleadership/DOCS/State%20of%20Coast%20Guard%20Address%202015%20SLP%20Script.pdf.
9.“U.S. Coast Guard 2017 Posture Statement,” and “Budget in Brief,” www.uscg.mil/budget/docs/2017_Budget_in_Brief.pdf.
10. Theodore Levitt, “Marketing Myopia,” Harvard Business Review (July-August 1960).
11. Levitt, “Marketing Myopia.”
13. Ridge, remarks/interview at “Securing America in a Post 9/11 World.”
14. “Commandant’s Strategic Intent, 2015-2019,” 20.
15. Captain Gregory Stump, USCG, “Sustain Operational Crews and Support,” Proceedings (August 2016).
16. Levitt, op.cit.