Coast Guard Paratus Report Episode – 11

The Coast Guard just announced policy
changes for transgender members. Coast Guard Commandant, Admiral Paul Zukunft will
provide us with more details and what it means for the fleet. And, I had the
opportunity to talk with the Commandant in a one-on-one interview to discuss his
thoughts on the current direction of our Coast Guard Welcome to a special edition of the
Paratus Report, the Coast Guard’s news source for the latest and greatest of
what’s happening in your Coast Guard. hey everyone i’m chief warrant officer
Chad Sailor and I’m Petty Officer Connie Terrell. Last month the Coast Guard announced a
policy change for those who are transgender and want to remain in the
Coast Guard or want to join the Coast Guard. Admiral Zukunft and master chief
petty officer of the coast guard Steve Cantrell have a message to the fleet
about how this change will affect the service. Today we’re going to talk about
a very important topic and that is transgender in the United States Coast
Guard but not just the Coast Guard but in all five of the armed services. This is a policy that was announced not
that long ago it’s a policy that has been enacted and
so if you have any member in our service today who is transgender you will continue to
serve in our Coast Guard this is part of our duty to people it’s also part of our inclusiveness as
well. And, with that I’ll turn it over to our
master chief petty officer the Coast Guard. Thanks sir. In October this year we will have
our policy change in affect. We’ll announce that via ALCOAST.
But we recognize that you’re going to have questions so we stood up a Service
Central Coordination cell that is comprised of personnel, legal and
healthcare experts that will be able to answer all your questions and it’s the
single resource to determine what the service needs are what the unit needs
are but most importantly what the members needs are. And do we have members who are
transgender serving in our Coast Guard today? Absolutely. We are already service that
embraces equal opportunity, we embrace diversity, we embrace inclusiveness, and
more importantly, we will be the employer of choice into the 21st century. We’re going to raise the bar this next
year in terms of the number of recruits we want to see serve in our United
States Coast Guard that reflects the society that we serve. So, this is all about diversity, inclusiveness and more importantly, our duty to our people, to our Coast Guard. If you have questions regarding the
transgender policy you can email the service central
coordination cell at [email protected] or you can go to /
transgender for more information on the policy
changes. Now, admiral Zukunft has been at the helm of the Coast Guard for more
than two years; and I recently sat down to talk with him about the progress of
the Coast Guard since he took command and where he’d like to see the service
go in the future well good morning Admiral and welcome to
the Paratus Report. I think this is your first interview with us so thank you for
joining us. So, I’d like you to please give our
audience a brief overview of the strategic intent and the recently
released midterm report and talk about how those two are related Before the strategic intent, for many
years we’ve come out with multi year fiscal guidance. my Commadant’s direction we
talk about strategy driving budget. We’ve always had budget strategies but never
connected to a strategy so the purpose of this
strategic intent was really to provide a road map of where we need to be and then
leave it to the rest of the enterprise of how do we resource strategy and that was really the
underpinning of our strategic intent and the midterm report what have you found to be a successful
looking back at the intent and what that laid out? well there are five key areas in that
one of those are talking about transnational organized crime we have a double down on our presence in
the transit zone intelligence driving operations and so last year we removed a
hundred ninety one metric tons of cocaine took 700 smugglers into custody
for prosecution a great year in 2015. Halfway into 2016 we’re up to nearly 250 metric tons 400
smugglers Intel driving operations like never before we can’t do it through interdiction’s
alone, this is going to be whole of government. But clearly that is paying
dividends for us as well. As we look at the southwest border first we look at what’s happening in
Cuba. Expectations that the foot drive policy is going to go away. Less
compliance when we encounter rusticas. more challenging operations. We’ve also stood up joint task forces. We
have really built unity of effort within the Department of Homeland Security we are seeing more maritime commerce now that the panama canal has widened, opened. In fact
the first LNG carrier that went through the canal just recently was carrying
LNG from the United States into the Pacific marketplace. So,we’re seeing a growth in that domain
as well. Cyber we’re just scratching the surface
on. This is going to be the new frontier for the Coast Guard as it is for all the
armed services. But, more importantly for the Coast Guard. We’re over ninety percent
of our commerce moves on the water and yet very little of that commerce has the
safeguards in place to protect itself from a an intrusion over a hundred
twenty ships were compromised mostly through malware but it’s another
area where we see Coast Guard mission portfolios growing. And finally, up in the
high latitudes up in the polar regions a cruise ship, The Crystal Serenity departs
in about a month from now carrying over a thousand passengers. It”s relatively uncharted waters as that
area opens up the cruise shipping through ecotourism and even oil and gas
and mineral exploitation as well. So, a whole new frontier opening to the north
and the Coast Guard is going to be there as well. we’re recapitalizing our assets or
national security cutters are fast response cutters we have just awarded the
final design to build contract to build all 58 by the end of the fiscal year we will
award the offshore patrol cutter. The bonus in all of this is we are now in
serious deliberations over recapitalizing our heavy ice breakers and
will carry that message forward with the next administration into 2017. So, a very
exciting time for recapitalization but it really is about strategy driving
budget driving our acquisition process as well. We’ve heard a lot about
Western Hemisphere strategy work in the Arctic. The cyber domain seems to still
be a challenge what are we doing both internally and
externally to face some of these challenges? Internally, we are getting our cyber
act together. We stood up a cyber crisis action team here after the OPM
compromises to make sure that our cyber network was not vulnerable to intrusion. The next step is within our cyber
strategy is then how do we protect the maritime transportation system very
dependent upon cyber and as we all know about ninety percent of our world’s
trade moves by sea and is dependent upon a cyber network it’s been two years now since you’ve been at the helm. Any surprises as you’re role as Commandant? Well as a Commandant, you never want to be surprised, you want to be amazed. But never surprised. And so I’ll just
share with you a few things that just amaze me is the talent that we have in
this organization. Which is why we released a human capital strategy. How do we manage this enormous talent
that we have in our civilian workforce, in our reserve, our active duty, in our
auxiliary? I’ve been out to Cape May I’ve been to the Coast Guard Academy to
meet our newest sessions believe it or not at one of our field
units i met one of our E-3s and I asked what did you do before you came in the Coast Guard? She
was in the Air Force. So I probe a little further. ‘Well what
did you do in the air force?’ “I went to the Air Force Academy.” thinking
that she didn’t complete her four years of study, i said ‘well when did you leave the
Academy?’ “After i graduated and I received my master’s degree at the end of my five
years as a commissioned officer in the Air Force I resigned my commission so I could be a rescue swimmer, enlisted in
the United States Coast Guard.” Just one example of many of the enormous
talent that truly amazes me of the talent that we have our midst among or
eighty-eight thousand men and women in the Coast Guard. Well she certainly seems to embody our
core values. One final question. What would you say would be a takeaway for the workforce looking at the midterm report? well the first you want to look at is
you know what we’ve accomplished. Many times you know I’ve commanded many a
unit and when you accomplish something you move on to the next task but you
never look at the accomplishments that you’ve made along the way actually get
where you are today so what I would ask first to do is look
at all that we have done in the last two years is there more work to be done? Absolutely,
but we are moving out like never before on recapitalizing our workforce . We’re
doing so at a time when we’re not having to draw down the size of our workforce we’re holding fast. And, in fact if you
take nothing else away from that midterm report we are no longer service that is
going to do more with less. That’s a drum I will continue to beat. But we are holding
fast on our force structure, in fact we’re gradually growing back our force
structure after several incremental years of force
reductions we are growing back the Coast Guard. Thank you sir. As you know we have
another birthday to celebrate in a few weeks. Is there a special birthday message you
like to impart? This will be our 226 birthday. I feel like I’ve been around for most of
those and actually have been around for a good many of those. But, if you look at
where Alexander Hamilton, his vision of the revenue cutter service back in 1790,
to where we are today we have come a long way Alexander Hamilton. We’ve come a long way through the men
and women and the families that support them where we are deployed on
seven continents throughout the world. And of course on this Coast Guard day
coming up on August fourth, of many of our Coast Guard men and women will be
deployed as well. It’s their families, who don’t take that
oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, but
they are a pivotal role in supporting our Coast Guard as well. And so to all the
men and women of the Coast Guard and the families that support them I wish them a happy 226 Coast Guard
birthday. Well thank you very much for your time
we certainly appreciate you being with us here on the Paratus Report. Thank you
Chad, and thank you for doing this. Thank you sir. This month Bravo Zulu goes to Lieutenant
Commander Megan Drewniak who was named the 2016 Coast Guardsman of the year by
military times. Drewniak was recognized for her inspirational
leadership, mentorship, motivation of others and volunteerism. Congratulations ma’am on a job well done.
Well that does it for this edition of the Paratus Report. To stay updated on
the latest and greatest make sure you check out our blog Coast
Guard all hands and other official social media sites thanks for joining us on the Paratus Report. See you next time

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