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Department of Homeland Security

Civilianize Significant Portion of USCG Field Unit Positions

The USCG continues to operate on a personnel business model based upon its historic military roots. However, the modern missions that they undertake are vastly different from that of the Revenue Cutter Service. In fact, the majority of the USCG does not operate in that manner. You wouldn't know if from the posters and press releases, but the marine inspectors/investigators, pollution response personnel, oil/chemical facility compliance inspectors, container inspectors, and small vessel response boats are just some of the operations that make up the vast majority of the Coast Guard's population that's not operating on the high seas. Every one of these specialties could be enhanced and performed cheaper if there was partial or complete conversion to a civilianized workforce. Why? Geographic stability would prevent loss of required local knowledge and would enhance relationships with regulated industries, local law enforcement, and other government agencies. It would eliminate significant transfer costs associated with the movement of military personnel. It would go a long way toward preventing the Coast Guard from "shifting" personnel away from their proper duties (i.e. using people that Congress funds for one mission area in others...and oh yeah....it happens a lot).

The USCG is a very flexible organization that has numerous, diverse missions. It operates with a can-do attitude and attempts to complete whatever is thrown at it, doing so with limited resources. However, this is often at the cost of its population, hidden by the military environment in which they operate. It's personnel are over-taxed but they're still pushing to do even more with less. Forcing the USCG to recognize this by shifting the way it's field personnel are organized will create savings and prevent the increase in fatigue/drain in morale.

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Idea No. 2407