June 07, 2022

New CNAS Report: "The Coast Guard: 'Always Ready,' Except for Change"

Washington, June 7, 2022—Today, the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) released a new report, "The Coast Guard: 'Always Ready,' Except for Change," from author James Valentine.

The report asserts that the U.S. Coast Guard must embrace strategic thinking and strategy development to chart a path for its organizational future.

"Without strategic thinking as a core capability, the Coast Guard can count on more externally imposed solutions to its problems and flat budgets that continue to constrain its organizational management ever more tightly and reduce adaptability," writes Valentine. "The service must close its decades-long era of programming existing resources against the new Commandant’s 'grab-bag' of mission priorities. Embracing strategic thinking and strategy development to create its organizational future is the only way for the Coast Guard to live up to its motto."

The report includes four recommendations to help the Coast Guard embrace strategic thinking and shape its future:

  1. Make strategic thinking an enduring core competency.
  2. Create a permanent strategy development office at headquarters.
  3. Create viable "single track" officer career paths to flag ranks.
  4. Speed executive decision-making and action follow-through.

This report is part of a broader CNAS project on enhancing oversight and accountability in the Department of Homeland Security. Previous reports in this policy brief series include From Mardi Gras to the Philippines: A Review of DHS Homeland Security Investigations, Reassessing Homeland Security Intelligence, and The Department of Homeland Security: Priorities for Reform. This project is made possible by the generous support of Democracy Fund.

For more information or to schedule an interview with the report author, please contact Cameron Edinburgh at cedinburgh@cnas.org