As I prepare to turn over the helm to Vice Adm. Manson Brown, and as Command Master Chief Kevin Isherwood prepares to turn over with Master Chief Shane Hooker, we want to thank each of you for your dedication and outstanding service; you all truly emulate what it takes to be mission support professionals. When the commandant asked me to serve as the deputy commandant for mission support three years ago, my vision was to make the recently established mission support organization more effective, efficient, integrated and standardized. Thanks to each and every one of you, we have made significant progress toward these goals.
During my first year, our support community leaned forward, aggressively responding to the Haitian earthquake and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill response. The Service and Logistics Centers (SC/LC), the first entities established as part of mission support modernization, were tested in both contingencies; not only were they profoundly effective, but they validated the need for a centralized, standard support structure that could adapt to any contingency. Our SC/LCs have since proven to serve us well not only in contingencies, but also in every day support to our operational fleet.
We took modernization a step further, in what we refer to as “DCMS 2.0,” to fully integrate field support delivery and push oversight of mission support out from headquarters to the field. This new concept had three major components: command and control (C2) organizational structures, business process, and career progression. Much progress has been made on all fronts and forged greater collaboration across the entire DCMS organization.
- Command and Control (C2) organizational structures: We are now structured to provide a single point of accountability for support delivery through the Director of Operational Logistics (DOL). The 13 Phase I base commands are working closely with their neighboring district commanders, sectors, and other units within their region. While the DOL/base C2 structure now parallels that of operations, it also preserves the principle of bi-level maintenance and service delivery. These efforts reinstated command unity in field mission support, while moving contingency logistics from headquarters to the field. The new Logistics Support Element (LSE) was also established; LSE members are a deployable element poised to quickly deploy to a contingency area and provide leadership and subject-matter expertise for on-scene support elements.
- Business rules: We have made great strides in establishing consistent processes through compliance and oversight. The DCMS Field Concept of Operations was published to document the “ground rules” for the intersection of work supervised by the SC/LC’s product lines and base commanding officers. A standard definition of technical authority has been adopted across DCMS to ensure lines of authority are clear. The DCMS governance structure was also promulgated to specify how DCMS leadership will work together to formulate and implement strategy, manage resources, establish policy and doctrine, manage organizational change, and assess performance. Its implementation established integration points across DCMS through the DCMS Executive Leadership Council and the DCMS Directors Council.
- Career Progression: We are creating a career progression program to support the future DCMS organization. The forthcoming DCMS Human Capital Strategy will establish greater oversight for our numerous military and civilian competencies, offer sources of support to guide members on career path options that will cultivate future advancement opportunities, and highlight available training and educational venues. We also established a screening process for DCMS command cadre positions, similar to that of the operations ashore and afloat disciplines, to ensure that we preserve DCMS command cadre positions for top-performing mission support professionals.
In addition, we delivered the first DCMS five-year strategic plan – the Mission Support Strategic Blueprint (MSSB). The MSSB will enable us to adapt to fluctuations in budget, large-scale contingencies and changes in leadership, while being sensitive to the short and long-term impacts our decisions imply as they relate to the effective prosecution of our support mission.
As I stated in previous articles, we’ve managed to accomplish all of this, in addition to many other successes such as modernizing our cutter fleet with National Security Cutters and Fast Response Cutters, memorializing the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and improving our worklife programs through additional resources for our Child Development Centers and Ombudsman program. While our successes are noteworthy, there is much left to be done. Our support structure is not fully mature, and we must continue our modernization efforts despite looming budgetary challenges and the demand to identify efficiencies.
Vice Adm. Brown will relieve me as the deputy commandant for mission support May 23, 2012. He is a proven leader both in operations and support. He will be joined by Master Chief Shane Hooker as the DCMS command master chief. Support them as you have supported Command Master Chief Kevin Isherwood and me. Their leadership, combined with your dedication and expertise, will guarantee the continued success of the mission support organization.
Command Master Chief Isherwood and I would like to offer a sincere thanks to Capt. Mike McAllister, Cmdr. Darcie Cunningham, Lt. Paul Miller, Lt. Nikea Natteal, Petty Officer 2nd Class Ryan Morris and all others who helped make these past three years productive.
Coast Guard employees are encouraged to visit the DCMS Unit Page on CG Portal to read the DCMS Accomplishments brief.
Thank you all again; I am excited to continue serving with you as vice commandant.
Vice Adm. J. P. Currier & Command Master Chief Kevin Isherwood