May 19, 2020 —
To the Women and Men of the United States Coast Guard,
I remain proud of your dedication to duty as you continue to place the needs of the Nation and our Service above self during the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic. Your response to this challenge speaks to your commitment, resourcefulness, and perseverance, especially our shipmates deployed at sea operating without routine port calls or liberty ashore; and it speaks to the resiliency of our Coast Guard families. Selfless service has always been a hallmark of our Coast Guard through periods of sustained steady state operations and during times of crisis.
Our Service provides the Nation unique capabilities to protect and defend the Homeland from those that want to do us harm, to enable safe and efficient maritime commerce, and to lead in crisis. While the pandemic continues to inject uncertainty as the Nation begins to ease shelter-in-place and other restrictions, we find ourselves at the threshold of the historically busiest time of the calendar year for Search and Rescue, Fisheries Enforcement, Recreational Boating Safety, and preparatory efforts for Hurricane Season. What is certain is that the country will continue to look to our Service to remain “Always Ready” across our entire mission set, inspiring confidence wherever we serve. We must therefore move towards a posture that will ensure we are ready for the challenges ahead, whether that’s contingency response operations, enforcing regulations that keep our Marine Transportation System and shared-use waterways safe, or thwarting transnational criminal organizations and other illicit activities. We will mitigate as much risk as practical as we enhance our level of operations, training, and the mission support enabling both.
We will accomplish this through a shared commitment to mission and each other. Camaraderie and esprit de corps help define us. Today marks the 100th anniversary of Coast Guard Chief Petty Officers, who continue to lead from the front! Regardless of where you serve, the strength of our workforce and mission performance is grounded in the sharing of knowledge and experience one member to another - it is how we train and how we stay proficient. We work collectively, learn from one another, and overcome challenges. We are physically and mentally stronger together!
We will follow a measured process, balancing mission requirements with individual and local risk factors. Mission support and execution will not look the same in all places nor advance on the same timeline. It will be based on circumstances faced by each locality, and a continued focus on the health and safety of our workforce and families. CGHQ will promulgate guidance for restoring operational capacity and pursuing reconstitution objectives. Leaders must continue to engage and understand the concerns of our workforce and families, taking action to address such concerns when appropriate. Our people remain the foundation of our readiness and enablers of our success.
The Coast Guard has been on the front lines of every national challenge. The Nation needs us now more than ever, and we have never backed down from a challenge. I need you to be agile and engaged in support of each other and of our Coast Guard as we move forward. Semper Paratus!
Admiral Karl L. Schultz
U.S. Coast Guard