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U.S. Coast Guard Annual

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32 Maritime Reporter & Engineering News • MARCH 2014


To celebrate Maritime Reporter & Engineering

News’ 75th Anniversary, each edition in 2014 will offer a specially commissioned feature article which examines a historical topic.

This month we look at one of the most infl uen- tial USCG leaders, Thad Allen

Don’t miss the special 75th anniversary edition to publish in June 2014, made possible in part by our 75th

Anniversary sponsors seen on pages 33 & 35.

As part of Booz Allen Hamilton’s Jus- tice and Homeland Security business group, Executive Vice President and former U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Thad

Allen leads the development of thought leadership and client engagements re- garding the future direction of law en- forcement and homeland security. He is known for his ability to lead in a crisis, in part through his expertise in bringing together government and non-govern- ment entities to address major challeng- es in a “whole of government” approach designed to achieve what he calls a “a unity of effort.”

The Coast Guard is under pressure to either pare its mission mix or down- scale what it does. What’s your overall take on this situation? One of the reoccurring chal- lenges of being in a service like the Coast

Guard is that you have more authorized missions than you have resources to accomplish in a given year. I think we all understand that there won’t be large growth in those budgets unless there’s a real reason to do that. But that [brings to mind] what I call the operational genius of the Coast Guard. That means you have a multi-missioned organization, and you can apply your resources to the highest risk. The funding level will be what the funding level is, but the execution of the resources provided will always be done in an optimal fashion because the Coast

Guard allows delegation of authority to regional commanders to apply resources to the highest needs. And as long as that continues to be the operational doctrine of the Coast Guard, then the American public can have the confi dence that whatever the funding levels allocated, those resources will be applied accord- ing to the current set of risks. Now, that may, from time to time, be emphasizing one set of authorities or jurisdictions over another. In my view, the service has done that very well.

So how do you more with less? Over the last I don’t know how many years, we’ve reduced our budget discussions to proverbs like “doing more with less.” There is a risk-based decision process that allows for the allocation of resources, and this drives what gets done and does not. It’s hard to predict a year in advance what the challenges to the oper- ating environment will be. It was always a challenge when I was commandant to look at our program budget because we would keep track of our operating hours and allocate costs to those hours so that we could demonstrate the cost of a par- ticular mission in a particular year. There

Allen at the Helm

Former USCG Ad- miral Thad Allen is a transformational leader in the history of the service, a rock through thick and thin. Today he talks about resource allo- cation, risk manage- ment and homeland security.

By Patricia Keefe

White House Photo by Pete Souza

President Obama talks with Coast

Guard Admiral Thad Allen, who was also the National Incident

Commander for the Deepwater

Horizon oil spill (center), and Lou- isiana Gov. Bobby Jindal aboard

Marine One as they fl y along the coastline from Venice, La., to

New Orleans on May 2, 2010.

MR #3 (32-41).indd 32 3/4/2014 10:39:55 AM

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