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Coast Guard recruits in company Delta-201, Sept. 8, 2021 (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Shannon Kearney)

Last week, the Government Matters team attended the Surface Navy Association’s 34th National Symposium, “Surface Warfare: The Competitive Edge,” its first fully hybrid conference with both virtual and in-person events. Members, including Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro, and defense contractors attended the event, which had over 90 exhibitors and more than 3,000 attendees. At the symposium, Mimi Geerges spoke with Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Karl Schultz about the latest initiatives in his service.

  • He said that since 2018 when he became commandant, he is “most proud of the resilience of our people” during the difficult times of the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • He said the Coast Guard is slightly behind on its modernization efforts but is on a good trajectory, building new offshore patrol cutters, national security cutters, heavy icebreakers and other vessels during the “most prolific shipbuilding period since the Second World War.”
  • The Coast Guard is working to boost recruitment as it competes with the other military branches; Schultz said having young people talk to front-line service members is a very effective way to generate interest.
  • The Coast Guard engages in capacity building with international partners and does approximately 240 mobile training team deployments in a five-year period, Schultz said.
  • The service has a fleet of aircraft that it uses for rescue operations, missions to stop drug smuggling, surveillance and other work, said Schultz.
  • He said some of the Coast Guard’s work includes rescuing mariners in distress, enabling approximately $5.6 trillion in annual economic activity, doing counternarcotics work, supporting the Indo-Pacific region and helping the National Science Foundation.

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