Page 39: of Maritime Reporter Magazine (March 2014)
U.S. Coast Guard Annual
www.marinelink.com 39 open and available – to the public, the press and the team. If it doesn’t involve safety or security, Allen’s going to com- municate it. It means being the public face of the effort and taking responsibil- ity from the get-go, letting the unifi ed team on the ground do their jobs. It’s how you win trust.
Time magazine, which picked Allen as one of “The People Who Mattered” in its
Person of the Year issue for 2010, said he “ . . . was a rare reassuring presence in the troubled federal efforts to control the
Gulf oil spill.” Noting that no one “came out of the spill clean,” it said Allen, who was also a very visible presence, running almost daily press conferences, made out better reputation wise than most.
A New Coast Guard in Town
When not knee-deep in horrifi c calam- ities, Allen busied himself modernizing, upgrading and re-focusing an under- staffed, perennially underfunded, multi- missioned agency. “While the character and nature of our service are clear, our missions are not static. . . my enduring goal will be to lead a Coast Guard that is steadfast in its character but adaptive in its methods,” Allen told a senate hearing on his nomination.
Putting his leadership rules into action,
Allen accepted the things he seemingly could not change – budgets, personnel numbers and being pulled in multiple directions – stepped into the job ready to look hard at where the agency was, and where it needed to go. With that in hand, he rammed through requests to up- grade the Coast Guard fl eet, de-cluttered an unwieldy chain of command, brought everyone back to the same set of goals and focus, and gave his people in the fi eld the training, tools and authority needed to assess risk, prioritize missions and act. He also cemented a relationship with the Department of Homeland Secu- rity – the agency he considers to to be the best fi t yet for the unusual amalgamate that is the Coast Guard – partly military, partly public, multi-dimensional, and al- ways on call.
Now retired from active duty, Allen is leaning heavily on that experience at
Booz Allen Hamilton, working to craft “big-picture” national approaches to homeland defense and disaster response protocols and policy. “Thad’s 40 years of experience in criti- cal operational missions . . . allow him to provide a unique perspective on how government agencies must evolve dur- ing the next decade,” said Booz Allen’s
Chairman, Ralph W. Shrader.
That experience has convinced Allen that the country needs to run regular national drills to update what we learn from each disaster and to generally keep in practice.
There’s no telling what form the next disaster will take, but we can be sure of several things – there will be many more emergency situations, they will require intra-agency cooperation across local, state and federal levels, and whatever the policy is, it will need to be open to the public, focused on unity of effort, and communicated across all avail- able channels. And if somewhere in the middle, there is an unfl appable, straight- shooting, calm and communicative pres- ence - a next-generation Allen with his or her hand on the helm, then it’s a good bet, that recovery is assured. And should
Allen get the call for another disaster recovery assignment? Allen jokes he’d like to be there before the event starts.
Now that’s preparedness!
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