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As the National Security Strategy is released, can the Coast Guard stay “Always Ready”?


By Brad McNally

Coinciding closely with the release of the National Security Strategy (NSS) was the release of the United States Coast Guard Strategy (CGS). This was the first high-level service strategy document released by the Coast Guard under new Commandant Admiral Linda Fagan. It built upon the themes of “tomorrow looks different, so will we” and “readiness, resilience, and capability” that she laid out when she took over as the Coast Guard’s senior officer this summer. The CGS lays out a robust strategic framework based on three cornerstones: transforming the Coast Guard’s workforce, sharpening its competitive edge, and advancing its mission excellence.

The NSS and CGS depict no shortage of global challenges, including climate change, energy security, transnational criminal organizations, challenges to the rules-based order, natural disasters, and geopolitical changes. While many of these challenges are not new, they are dynamic and evolving. The Coast Guard has long been operating in the high latitudes — the Arctic and Antarctic — and is one of the few government entities which does so consistently. As the climate changes and the Arctic becomes more accessible, there will be new challenges…

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