Vice Admiral Dan Abel assumed the duties of the Coast Guard Deputy Commandant for Operations in June 2018. In this capacity, he is responsible for the development of operational strategy, policy, guidance, and resources that address national priorities. This oversight of Coast Guard missions, programs, and services includes: intelligence; international affairs; cyber; the maritime transportation system; commercial regulations and inspections; search and rescue; maritime security; law enforcement; defense operations; environmental response; contingency planning; and the operational capabilities of cutter, boat, aviation, shore, and deployable specialized forces.
Previously he served as the U.S. Southern Command’s Director of Operations leading the U.S. military in the Caribbean, Central and South America including recovery operations after Hurricanes Matthew, Irma, and Maria. He also served as the Commander of 17th Coast Guard District, headquartered in Juneau, Alaska, that confronted an evolving Arctic and was responsible for multi-missioned Coast Guard operations in Alaska, the North Pacific Ocean, Arctic Ocean and Bering Sea.
Additional flag assignments include Command of the 1st Coast Guard District, headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, where he directed Coast Guard operations in the Northeast and led responses to Superstorm Sandy and the Boston Marathon Bombings. His first flag assignment was as Deputy Director of Operations for United States Northern Command.
Other senior-level assignments include Commanding Officer of Air Station Cape Cod and Project Manager for "Rescue 21" that recapitalized the nation's maritime distress alerting and Coast Guard command and control network. He also served as the Coast Guard’s Chief of Aviation Safety.
Prior operational tours include command of Air Station San Francisco, Operations Officer for Air Station Houston, Aviation Training Center standardization/instructor pilot for the H-65 Dolphin helicopter and his initial aviation tour as a search and rescue/law enforcement helicopter pilot in Miami. His initial officer tour was as a deck watch officer aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Dauntless homeported in Miami Beach.
His education includes a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering, with High Honors, from the United States Coast Guard Academy in 1983. He also served as valedictorian of the College of William and Mary’s Master of Business Administration class of 1994. In 2005, he was a distinguished graduate of the Industrial College of the Armed Forces (ICAF) earning a Master of Science in National Resource Strategy. While at ICAF, Vice Admiral Abel completed the Department of Defense Senior Acquisition Corps syllabus, and subsequently earned his Department of Homeland Security Acquisition Program Manager Designation. He has earned qualifications in both the H-65 helicopter and the HU-25 jet.
Vice Admiral Abel’s personal awards include two Defense Superior Service Medals, four Legions of Merit, and two Meritorious Service Medals. Admiral Abel is also an Eagle Scout.