You are all familiar with the three tenets of my Commandant’s Direction – Service to Nation, Duty to People and Commitment to Excellence. A common thread that is woven into these three tenets is investing in the 21st century Coast Guard. Our fiscal year 2016 appropriation provides the greatest acquisition budget in Coast Guard history and lays a trackline to build out our Fast Response Cutter program of record, proceed with the final selection and design of the Offshore Patrol Cutter and revitalize critical shore infrastructure. And we are also well positioned to recapitalize our heavy icebreakers. But, our investment must go beyond our capital plant. I am equally committed to investing in our human capital – active, reserve, civil servant and auxiliary – and the new Coast Guard Human Capital Strategy underscores my Duty to People.
In order to keep our critically important contract with the workforce, their families and our Nation, it is incumbent upon the Coast Guard to build and employ a world-class human capital management system to go with our world-class workforce.
Today’s Coast Guard leverages unique authorities, capabilities and partnerships to achieve national objectives in an increasingly complex geostrategic environment. Consistent with the past 225 years, people make the difference between success and failure across the spectrum of Coast Guard missions. From violence in Central America to increased activity in the Arctic, from the reaches of cyberspace to the dynamic and evolving energy sector, today’s landscape requires a proficient, diverse and adaptable workforce. Our legacy “jack of all trades” approach to our mission support and response enterprise is incongruent with the complex missions and systems that we operate and maintain in the 21st century.
Our human capital management system has not appreciably changed for decades. This afternoon, I signed a Human Capital Strategy that charts an ambitious 10-year course for building a workforce to truly meet the demands of the 21st century. Without question, our fleet of ships and aircraft, and all of our operating communities, are only effective if the people inside them have the requisite training and skill to optimize them, and our Human Capital Strategy is an important guidepost to attain and sustain proficiency in every facet of our diverse response and support portfolio.
By focusing on three strategic priorities, meeting mission needs, meeting service needs and meeting people needs, the strategy provides a necessary update and modern framework for the Coast Guard to accomplish our missions, develop leaders and support our people.
As I’ve shared many times, America’s Coast Guard has never been more relevant on a global scale. Our exceptional reputation is a direct result of the mission execution and mission support our Coast Guard men and women provide every day, and I could not be more proud to lead the 88,000 active duty, reserve, civil servant and auxiliary workforce. In order to keep our critically important contract with the workforce, their families and our Nation, it is incumbent upon the Coast Guard to build and employ a world-class human capital management system to go with our world-class workforce. The Coast Guard’s Human Capital Strategy is an important element in building America’s 21st Century Coast Guard.