Dear members and
supporters of the Coast Guard Reserve Force,
We are facing what
may be an unprecedented response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in
the Gulf of Mexico, and our Reserve Force is front and center in the
fight. Thank you all for
your immense contributions to date.
For two decades,
“Another Exxon Valdez” has
been the phrase used to describe the worst-case environmental disasters
we worked to avoid and wrote contingency plans for.
That phrase is
officially out of date. It
has been replaced by “Another Deepwater Horizon” because the Deepwater
Horizon oil spill has dwarfed the
Exxon Valdez in terms of size and duration, technical difficulties
presented by the response, area and people affected, economic costs —
and the need for the Coast Guard Reserve to step up to help the Nation
deal with this massive and enduring catastrophe.
Just as the specter
Exxon Valdez” shaped our
mission concept, doctrine, training, and organization for a generation,
Deepwater Horizon will change how we view our responsibilities and how
we strive to fulfill them for many years to come.
That’s especially true for the Coast Guard Reserve.
We have already
recalled nearly 1,500 Reservists under Title 14, and the operational
commander is requesting ever more as the scope of the response continues
to expand. All Reservists
should expect to be mobilized, and plan accordingly.
In addition, we will be offering voluntary ADOS orders for up to
six months to targeted Reservists as they finish their initial 60-day
recalls. The exact length
of these orders can be negotiated based on operational requirements and individual circumstances, and
serving 90 consecutive days or more (cumulative) in a fiscal year will qualify Reservists for early retirement
credit. Please consider
offers of ADOS orders with an open mind and a Guardian spirit.
As we work to meet
the operational requirements and make sure our policies and procedures
are taking care of our people and their families, I’ve had the following
First, I am
enormously proud of our Reservists for the spirit and skills they have
brought to a grueling and sometimes frustrating mission.
When I became Acting Director of Reserve six weeks ago, I freely
admitted that my familiarity with the Reserve was slight.
I have learned an incredible amount about the Reserve program and
our valued Reservists in that short time.
I offer my thanks to you and your families for your dedicated
Second, I am very
concerned that we provide the requisite training, pay, and benefits to
Reservists and their families.
You can do your part by making sure you are “green” on your
personal readiness factors, by anticipating recalls and seeking relevant
training before hand, and by making sure you don’t perform recall travel
until you have actual orders -- not just the notification, but actual
Direct Access orders with accounting data.
We did have a few glitches with pay, but we’re working through
them, and the system is working pretty smoothly now when everyone
follows the procedures.
Third, I am very
concerned about how we can fully utilize the Reserve to support this
operation without burning out our Reservists — either in terms of
demands and stresses on the individual Reservists, their families and
employers or the statutory caps on our recall authority.
Finally, I want to
make sure we learn everything we can from this incident so that our
long-term strategy for the Reserve and our concepts of employing it are
fully in sync with the realities that Deepwater Horizon has revealed and
I am working closely
with RADM Seward, RDML Day, RDML (sel) Welch, MCPOCG Reserve Force
Allen, and all entities responsible for Reserve mobilization.
We want to answer your questions and ensure you have all the
information and support you need to deploy.
Please check out our Frequently Asked Questions at this link:
I am eager to hear
your ideas on all of this, so please share them in the comments to this
RDML Sandy Stosz