Coast Guard Considering New Initiatives to Meet Recruitment and Retention Targets

Coast Guard Considering New Initiatives to Meet Recruitment and Retention Targets

There has been considerable talk and concern in recent months about the changing work-world. The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the usual structures of work, along with many other elements of society. There are many other causes behind the work-related issues that have come to play in all areas of society today. Some of these causes are very serious, and the challenging effects are very real. Suffice it to say, for our purposes here on the Veterans Site, this issue has severely affected our military’s recruitment efforts as well.

All of the services are struggling these days to meet their recruitment goals. Each of the services working diligently on finding ways to deal with this very real challenge in the present and in the future. To illustrate this challenge, the website recently published an article about how the United States Coast Guard is confronting this challenging recruitment environment.

According to, the Coast Guard Commandant, Adm. Linda Fagan, who took command of the Coast Guard last June, has made it her top priority to deal with the work-force management problems presented by the fact that the Coast Guard’s recruitment goals have fallen short each year by as much as 20% since 2018. She instructed her workforce management team to consider some creative options to deal with this issue in more direct, positive and effective ways.

One of the new initiatives that the workforce management team has come up with is the development of new recruiting centers around the country to develop Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps units. They also have offered signing bonuses for certain specialties across the service. They are establishing a new Cyber rating and opening opportunities for professionals to come into the service at higher ranks. Another initiative the are looking at is a “revolving door” policy that would make it possible for one to move in and out of active-duty more easily.

One of the other ideas that the Coast Guard is looking at was presented by Adm. Fagan recently at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. The idea is to create a part-time active-duty employment track. This would allow individuals to go through regular training, but they wouldn't be expected to commit to an around-the-clock work schedule.

Adm. Fagan put it this way: “We’re not there yet, but right now you’re either on active-duty, or you’re a civilian, or you’re a reservist. Might there be room for some other category? I’m going to use the term part-time; you’ve got some level of benefit, but you’re working three days a week instead of a 24/7, 365-day contract.”

Fagan says that she has looked at the recruits coming out of the Coast Guard Training Center at Cape May, New Jersey, and recognizes that many have college degrees or certifications or credentials that should be better utilized. She has told her workforce management team to find ways to “eliminate barriers” in order to not only meet the recruitment goals but also make retention more attractive to experienced Coasties.

The fact is that the Coast Guard and all of its sister services are confronting challenging times on many levels. It is absolutely vital to our nation’s security to have a strong, fully operational, well-trained, and professionally prepared military. The issue of unmet recruitment goals is troubling. It is somewhat reassuring to know that the United States Coast Guard, as well as the the other branches of our military, are taking the issue on and addressing it with attention and purpose. May they be successful in their efforts.

Dan Doyle

Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site Blog.

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