“Hello, Coast Guard, this is your detailer. Even though you are neither tour complete nor due for orders, I am calling you because your career has stagnated. It is time for you to PCS to DoD.”
Most military members would dread such a call. Permanent change of station (PCS) moves cause professional and personal disruption, but they are necessary for career progression, promotability, and to fill capability gaps, and they often end up being positive opportunities. The Coast Guard is at an analogous crossroads. It must shift from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to the Department of Defense (DoD) for its long-term health and fiscal survival.
1. Department of Homeland Security, “DHS Budget in Brief - Fiscal Year 2004.”
2. Department of Homeland Security, “FY 2020 Budget-in-Brief.”
3. Wikipedia, “Continuing Resolution;” and Gus Wezerek, “20 Years of Congress’s Budget Procrastination, In One Chart,” fivethirtyeight.com, 7 February 2018.
4. The Senate Appropriations; Armed Services; Commerce, Science, and Transportation; and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committees; the U.S. Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control; and the House Appropriations; Armed Services; Homeland Security; Natural Resources; and Transportation and Infrastructure Committees all have some Coast Guard oversight role. For DoD, it is the Senate Appropriations and Armed Services Committees and the House Armed Services and Appropriations Committees. See www.govtrack.us/congress/committees/.
5. Department of the Navy, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, and U.S. Coast Guard Office of the Commandant, National Fleet Plan, August 2015. The original National Fleet Plan was signed by the respective service chiefs and had a strategic vision. Current iterations were signed by program managers and address interoperability issues, hardly a galvanizing call for strategic initiative.
6. U.S. Coast Guard, Posture Statement: 2018 Performance Highlights, 2020 Budget Overview.