Coast Guard Mutual Assistance –Help is Needed

Cutter Stratton sailor returns home U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Matthew S. Masaschi.

The current budget impasse is creating hardships for Coast Guard members and their families. If you want to help, one of the best ways is through Coast Guard Mutual Assistance. If you would like to make a donation or organize a fund raiser, this is the link.

Officer Promotion System Gets a Make-Over

MilitaryTimes is reporting Congress is expected to authorize much greater flexibility in the Officer promotion system.

Specifically, the changes would include:
  • Ending some of the up-or-out rules that force officers to leave military service if they fail to be promoted along rigid timelines.

  • Allowing for mid-career civilians with high-demand skills to enter the military up to the rank of O-6.

  • Allowing promotion boards to move high-performing officers higher on the promotion list regardless of their time in service.

  • Allowing service secretaries to create “an alternative promotion process” for specific career fields.

None of this is mandatory, but it will give the services more options for Officer Personnel Management.

We will have to wait and see if application of the new latitude will be for good or evil.

“Manual Health Records Put Coast Guard Personnel at Risk”–GAO

The Federal Times is reporting that a GAO study found that two years after a failed $59.9M effort to produce an Electronic Health Record system,

“…the service continues to rely on a paper management system. That poses serious risks for personnel, a new Government Accountability Office report argues.

“According to the report, Coast Guard regional managers and clinic and sick bay administrators warned the GAO they are “unable to adequately track vital information such as medications,” which puts personnel at risk of medical complications.”

I will just note that, I have Kaiser, and they already have an excellent Electronic Health Record system. Maybe we could use theirs.

Does DOD have a system, maybe we could use theirs.

MEDICAL DOCUMENTATION OF ASBESTOS AND LEAD EXPOSURES ON COAST GUARD CUTTERS CONSTRUCTED PRIOR TO 1991

The Coast Guard is directing the documentation of possible exposure to asbestos and lead on ships that were built before 1991, which of course means most of them.

HEALTH, SAFETY AND WORK-LIFE SERVICE CENTER TECHNICAL DIRECTIVE 2017-009, HSWLSCTD 2017-009 14 December 2017

This TD applies to all Coast Guard members currently and previously assigned to CG cutters that were constructed prior to 1991. Documentation is for the purpose of identifying potential exposure to low levels of asbestos and lead below the Medical Surveillance Action Level (MSAL) required for enrollment into OMSEP. Medical documentation of these exposures may facilitate the processing of future Veterans Administration disability claims.

This is primarily aimed at active duty personnel, but an entry on the Coast Guard Retired Facebook page indicates an intention to also document possible exposure of those no longer on active duty.

New Coast Guard Officer Evals Don’t Go Far Enough–USNI

US Naval Institute has a discussion about how the new officer evaluation report (OER) might be improved.

This was always my least favorite part of being in the service. Frequently it seemed if you were honest and followed the instructions, it was the kiss of death–damning with faint praise.

Ultimately I came to believe we would be best served if the evaluation was a simple choice of three check boxes.

___ Make this officer Commandant

___ Does OK

___ Fire the SOB