Admiral Thad W. Allen, USCG, Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard

DomPrep’s John F. Morton met with Admiral Thad W. Allen, USCG, Commandant, U. S. Coast Guard. The Coast Guard Commandant, probably best known for his role as the federal coordinator for the 2005 Katrina and Rita recovery operations, discusses the Coast Guard’s interagency and intergovernmental linkages that serve and improve national preparedness.

Interagency Lessons Learned from the Katrina Response

How the Coast Guard is “bureaucratically multi-lingual” in matters of port security. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) focus on improving the department’s interagency unity of effort. How the Katrina flooding required, under the National Response Plan, a shift of tactical control beyond the authority of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Unity of Effort vs. Unity of Command

The need to clarify, codify, and institutionalize the operational and command relationships among and between the FEMA coordinator, the principal federal official (PFO) in the area of an incident of national significance, and the Joint Task Force (JTF) commander. How the federal response to Katrina divided New Orleans into sectors and assigned federal support resources to local authorities on the basis of deployed capabilities. The Coast Guard’s experience in “brokering solutions” and in partnering. Coast Guard/Navy joint scenarios. Examples of maritime operational threat responses, the role of the captain of the port, and the similarity to oil-spill responses. How DHS force packaging concepts are being developed.

Deepwater C4ISR and Homeland Security

New sensor packages for commonality, interoperability, and networking. Converging the Common Operating Picture, command centers, Rescue 21, and the Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) plan. DHS joint-requirements successes: the joint handgun acquisition; merged requirements for Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Coast Guard; and radiation portal monitors. 

Coast Guard Intel Linkage

How intel career paths are “exploding” within the Coast Guard. The linchpin relationship, and collocation of USCG intel with naval intelligence. Interaction with the FBI in maritime-threat responses – e.g., Coast Guard boarding teams supported by FBI hostage rescue teams (HRTs). 

Personnel Security and Credentialing 

Restructuring the merchant mariner licensing program and vetting processes via the National Maritime Center. The Transportation Workerentification Credential (TWIC), with enrollment now beginning in late December. The prototyping of wireless technology for Coast Guard boarding teams to give them access to existing databases and information sources – e.g., the US-VISIT program.

Seahawk and Other C2 Test-Beds

The four main port security command-and-control “business models” (Charleston, San Diego, Hampton Roads, and Miami), and how they align with local environments. The intent to use these models to arrive at a common concept of operations for Command Center 2010.

Further Discussion of Interagency Linkages

How the Coast Guard is using Coast Guard Reserves and the Coast Guard Auxiliary to support the homeland-security mission. Why FEMA should remain in DHS (to facilitate force packaging with the Coast Guard, for example). The Coast Guard’s role in border security, particularly in the Southwest area of CONUS. The Coast Guard’s role as the national first-responder agency.

Admiral Thad W. Allen

Admiral Thad W. Allen

23rd Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard

Admiral Thad W. Allen assumed the duties of the 23rd Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard on May 25th, 2006. Admiral Allen is a native of Tucson, Arizona and graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in 1971. Admiral Allen previously served as the Coast Guard Chief of Staff and Commanding Officer, Coast Guard Headquarters, in Washington, D.C., from May 2002 to April 2006. He also served as the Chairman of the Department of Homeland Security’s Joint Requirements Council from 2003 to 2006. In September 2005, Admiral Allen was designated the Principal Federal Official for Hurricane Katrina response and recovery operations in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He additionally served as Principal Federal Official for Hurricane Rita response and recovery activities in Louisiana. Prior to his assignment as Chief of Staff, Admiral Allen served as Commander, Coast Guard Atlantic Area, Fifth Coast Guard District, and U.S. Maritime Defense Zone Atlantic in Portsmouth, Va., where he was the operational commander for all Coast Guard activities in an area of responsibility spanning five Coast Guard Districts, encompassing more than 14 million square miles and involving 26,000 military and civilian employees, and 27,900 Auxiliarists. Admiral Allen led the Coast Guard’s Atlantic Area forces in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. In his other flag assignments, Admiral Allen commanded the Seventh Coast Guard District where he directed Coast Guard operations in South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and throughout the Caribbean. He has also been assigned as the Coast Guard's Director of Resources at Coast Guard Headquarters, where he was responsible for formulating the Coast Guard's budget, developing long range plans and managing the Coast Guard's performance plan.