US Coast Guard Retiree FEMA Reservist Initiative


I’m passing this along at the request of Retired Master Chief of the Coast Guard, Skip Bowen.

 US Coast Guard Retiree FEMA Reservist Initiative

Below you will find the Master Chief’s forwarding note and an extract from the “All Hands Coast Guard” Blog, written by him, that was published earlier this month (with some minor formatting changes).

Fellow CG Retirees, This is just a reminder that this is still an ongoing initiative. Our Retiree population has stepped up to the plate and we have about a hundred strong resumes in the system. However, the need is much greater and I hope that every CG Retiree fully or partially retired from their civilian occupation considers this opportunity. Besides serving your country in an active capacity again the FEMA Reservists are also paid for their time and travel while deployed. Deployments can either be for training or to a disaster. Please read the below and get in contact with FEMA if you have questions.

Yours in service,
Skip Bowen

As the co-chairs of the Commandant of the Coast Guard National Retiree Council, Retired Rear Adm. John Acton and I have been working with FEMA on an exciting opportunity for Coast Guard retirees.

Throughout my Coast Guard career, I took pride in the fact that the organization that I was a part of was a humanitarian service. Rescue and emergency response are the missions that initially attracted me to the Coast Guard and they are largely why I stayed with the Coast Guard for an entire career. Now I am retired and I am still interested in service to my fellow citizens. I believe that most of my fellow retirees are also. With that in mind we have worked with FEMA to create a unique and exciting opportunity for retirees called the U.S. Coast Guard Retiree to FEMA Reservist Initiative. you are semi-retired or fully retired and have a flexible schedule this part time opportunity may be for you.

FEMA Reserves serve as the bulk of the FEMA Response workforce during a disaster. FEMA Reserves are trained and qualified to perform a myriad of tasks during a disaster response. When deployed FEMA Reserves are reimbursed for travel and paid as intermittent FEMA employees. Currently FEMA is experiencing a critical shortage within its Reserve Program. Over 2,700 FEMA Reserve positions are vacant. Reservist positions are managed through FEMA Cadres and the skills needed to serve in most of them are generally equivalent to many Coast Guard ratings and officer specialties. CG retirees may already have experience in disaster response, rescue, first aid, ICS, hazardous material handling, survivor support, recovery ops and many other areas of expertise needed in the aftermath of a disaster.

Within the Coast Guard retiree population I believe that many former Coast Guard men and women will have the time, aptitude for volunteerism, and the skills necessary to become FEMA Reservists. This is an opportunity for retirees to still be of service, but on a flexible, part time basis.

Reaching out to Coast Guard retirees will serve as Phase 1 and “proof of concept” for a larger initiative targeting all military veterans. During Phase 2, FEMA with the help of CG Retire Council co-chairs will reach out to all retirees of the other four Armed Services. Phase 3 will entail a targeted effort toward all military veterans in general and wounded warriors in particular. For the Phase 1 effort, FEMA will work with the co-chairs of the Coast Guard Retiree Council to continue mapping out equivalent CG rating and officer specialties versus FEMA Cadre specialties.

FEMA has modified their website to include a section dedicated to the recruitment of Coast Guard retirees for this exciting program. The section includes CG retiree specific content, information on the application process, forms, and resumes.

To learn more, contact the FEMA Call Center at 855-377-FEMA (3362) or email the Incident Workforce Management Division (

Maybe, it would not hurt to infuse FEMA with a bit more Coast Guard Spirit–Chuck

2 thoughts on “US Coast Guard Retiree FEMA Reservist Initiative

  1. The are several things an applicant should know before getting involved in the program. This has a long history. It started as something called the Disaster Assistance Employee (DAE) program, which transitioned to the Reservist program. The essential difference is in the amount of time that an individual must be available to the program. In the old program, a person could remain unavailable for a considerable amount of time – holding a job. Not every job could be sufficiently flexible, but many self-employed persons or retirees could easily do so. The Reservist program has much more restrictive policies regarding availability and time off. So having a job may not be possible. (Don’t know if this restriction would apply to Coasties, or if there is some kind of exemption). And there is no guarantee of ever being called to respond to a disaster, despite having to be available.

    Prospective applicants should also know that the program has suffered severe attrition. I don’t have precise numbers but I think that before Katrina, the reservist workforce totaled about 20,000. Right now, it is much less – perhaps 5,000. Again, no precision in my numbers, just what I hear. It would be great if the disaster workforce could once again accommodate highly qualified, motivated people. But given the nature of the agency and the haphazard way it trains its personnel and responds to emergencies, some private charity or other government organization like the US Forest Service or the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) might be a better bet.

  2. Pingback: US Coast Guard Retiree FEMA Reservist Initiative | Chuck Hill’s CG Blog | Bring the heat, Bring the Stupid

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