During a recent U.S. Coast Guard Officer Candidate School (OCS) interview, the applicant was asked about the Coast Guard’s roles, responsibilities, and missions. Her response was good, as she mentioned the Coast Guard’s 11 statutory missions. The problem is that this is not an effective way to convey the roles, responsibilities, and missions of the Coast Guard.
The Coast Guard has yet to codify a standard and concise response to the question: “What does the Coast Guard do?” If you were to ask service members this question, you almost certainly would get a wide range of responses. This is a symptom of the Coast Guard’s strategic messaging problem.
Should the Coast Guard expect its members and the American public to know and be able to explain all 11—12, including national defense—statutory missions? Do these missions describe all the service’s roles?