The US Naval Institute has an excellent interview with the Commandant. The lead off is about steps being taken to lower barriers to both service entry and long-term service.
“The Coast Guard commandant has a message for the country – she’s hiring.
“The Coast Guard is feeling an acute recruiting crunch across both officer and enlisted ranks, so reforming the service workforce is at the top of Adm. Linda Fagan’s agenda and the centerpiece of the Coast Guard’s latest strategy that rolled out in October.”
But there is a lot more to the interview. She also talks about cutter recapitalization, the helicopter fleet, and the Coast Guard’s increasing role internationally.
You may have noticed that “we are hiring” signs are up all over the country. There is a structural labor shortage in the country as job creation is way up, unemployment is at record lows, and “boomers” are finally leaving the work force. As a result, the Commandant is looking hard at ways to recruit and retain members, including recognizing prior work experience. Likely the average age of the workforce is going to increase. This is all to the good. Experience and guile beat youth and enthusiasm every time.
It is worth noting that, over the last 30 years, the number of Coast Guard personnel authorized has increased while the size of the other four military branches, not surprisingly, have decreased. (DOD active-duty personnel are down 36%.) While I don’t have a figure for 1993, in Oct 1989, it appears the Coast Guard’s active-duty allowance was 36,899 personnel. Current authorization is 44,500. That would be a 20.6% increase.