Bringing Information Technology to the Coast Guard

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The U.S. Coast Guard is pursuing digital solutions to support its unique set of military, law enforcement, humanitarian, regulatory and diplomatic responsibilities. It is no small feat to provide information technology to its workforce of 87,570, as well as to its cutters, boats, and aircraft that move along the coastline and inland waterways protecting the United States.

The service is one of the five U.S. military forces, as well as a law enforcement agency, a regulatory organization, a first responder, and an intelligence community member, and cannot be swayed by the latest technology. When it rescues citizens from hurricanes or from ships lost at sea, it needs dependable command, control, communications, computers and information technology (C4IT).

“We have to be risk aware,” says Rear Adm. David Dermanelian, USCG, assistant commandant for C4IT (CG-6); and commander, Coast Guard Cyber Command. “We want to leverage state-of-the-market technology. We don’t necessarily want to be at the cutting edge. The cutting edge can be expensive and there’s a fair amount of risk. And the Coast Guard does have limited resources, so we’ve got to be smart about adopting proven technologies and proven capabilities.”