As the U.S. Coast Guard reaches its 227th birthday, the service has much to celebrate. The new National Security Cutters are making massive contributions to counter-narcotics operations, new ice breaking cutters aimed at enhancing the nation’s Arctic presence are being developed, significant advances in cyber capabilities are on the rise, and the service continues to build on a string of clean financial audits.
As champions of the men and women of the U.S. Coast Guard, now is an exceptional time to remind ourselves of the “versatile, highly adaptive, multi-mission character” of the service and the unique challenges of being Semper Paratus—Always Ready. As we reflect, we would do well to return to Publication 1: Doctrine for the U.S. Coast Guard. Covering the core values of honor, respect, and devotion to duty; tracing the service’s evolution from its inception as the Revenue Cutter Service in 1790 to the force structure and diverse missions of the 21st Century Coast Guard; and exploring the core missions of maritime safety, security, and stewardship, Pub. 1 serves as a foundational artifact. Of great import, this document also describes “a set of key ideas” that creates a framework for how the service operates—the Principles of Coast Guard Operations.
Five of these principles stand out as directly relevant to LMI’s ongoing support to the Coast Guard.
- Effective presence: For the service to meet demands of its diverse mission set, it must ensure “the right assets and capabilities at the right place at the right time.” Operating on seven continents as well as patrolling over 95,000 miles of shoreline and nearly 4.5 million square miles of the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone, effective presence demands optimized resource allocation, innovative command and control approaches, and exceptional mission support frameworks.
- Unity of effort: Most Coast Guard operations are performed as a “cooperative effort among multiple Coast Guard units working in coordination with diverse governmental and non-governmental entities.” Establishing interoperability frameworks, coordination tools, and joint operations protocols are critical to unified efforts.
- On-scene initiative: From its earliest days, the service required its members to “act quickly and decisively….without waiting for direction from higher levels in the chain of command.” The confidence necessary to take such initiative is intimately tied to trust that the tools and equipment employed in mission execution may be relied upon when it matters most.
- Managed risk: Each Coast Guard unit must be optimally “trained, equipped, and maintained” for its missions. This triumvirate of requirements equates to readiness and, “as readiness increases, our risk to the safety of lives, equipment, and property decreases.”
- Flexibility: The multi-mission character of the service means each unit must be prepared to execute a wide variety of tasks in diverse and often challenging circumstances. Such flexibility is intimately related to comprehensive planning and assessment of mission needs, relationships, operational alternatives, and risk.
LMI has had the honor of supporting the Coast Guard’s efforts to uphold key principles and execute the service’s missions through diverse projects supporting readiness and mission execution for over 30 years. Our work reflects a sample of our contributions to readiness, including
- estimating the life-cycle cost for the mounted automatic weapon critical to port, waterways, and coast security operations;
- enhancing the Coast Guard shore energy efficiency and conservation program;
- conducting analysis of alternatives for interagency operations centers;
- developing the product line for pandemic personal protective equipment push packs; and
- updating policy, training, and guidance for Coast Guard integrated logistics support and technical data management.
As we continue to pursue innovative ways to support the Coast Guard across the enterprise and within its functional domains, we will continue to offer not only subject matter expertise, but a nuanced understanding of the Principles of Coast Guard Operations and their critical relationship to “ensuring the safety, security, and stewardship of the Nation’s waters….”