The US Naval Institute Blog has a post recommending a restructuring of the Coast Guard Reserve, written by LCdr. Daniel L. Tavenier, USCG. His opening paragraph,
“The time has come to examine and consider restructuring the role of Coast Guard Reserves within the service. Currently, there is not enough time for reservists to adequately serve operational roles unless they were active duty for at least two years following accession. Reservists have brought much to the table as far as their civilian skill sets and experience go, but we cannot pretend they are able to achieve proficiency in certifications to the level of an active duty member. There has been a role for reservists to operate, but history has proven those instances are few and far between. As budgets shrink, the entire reserve program needs to be significantly modernized. This includes expanding the maritime security and safety teams (MSSTs) role to cover overseas missions and decommissioning port security units (PSU) that are staffed with 130 reserves and only six active duty members. PSU staffing models are not set up to meet the high-level, tactical certifications required for outside continental U.S. (OCONUS) operations. MSSTs have undoubtedly filled overseas duties at much less expenditure.”
Along the way he also recommends that we “Ditch the MAW” (Mounted Automatic Weapon), i.e., remove the M-240 machinegun from the small boats that do Ports, Waterways, and Coastal Security (PWCS).
This is way outside my wheelhouse, so I am going to leave evaluation and comments to the readers. If you have strong feelings about this, you might want to comment on the original USNI blog post. Duplicate comments are of course also welcomed here.
I agree. Reserves should primarily be used for contingency operations. Of course this requires maintaining a baseline readiness and certifications to minimize time and training when called up for active duty. But, the current strategy of using reserves to augment active duty and thus requiring obtaining and maintaining certain qualifications and certifications just doesn’t work. Reserves generally cannot devote the time many of the training courses required for certain qualifications, some of which require many weeks at Yorktown for example, and the process to qualify for certain jobs which may take many more months or longer for active duty. It is really not tenable (unless a reservist was on active duty and already obtained the training and qualifications before going Reserve). The best course is to focus the reservists on maintaining basic readiness and focus on qualifications that can be obtained on a reservist schedule.