Coast Guard Strategy Prioritizes Workforce Development

Adm. Linda L. Fagan, commandant of the Coast Guard, released the Coast Guard Strategy on October 12, which provides a framework for the service’s priorities during the next four years and beyond.

The Coast Guard Strategy positions the service’s workforce as the top priority of Coast Guard senior leaders. It also builds on Fagan’s Commandant’s Intent to generate sustained readiness, resilience and capability to enhance America’s maritime safety, security and prosperity.

Within this strategy, Fagan describes her three priorities as transforming the workforce, sharpening the service’s competitive edge and advancing mission excellence.

Workforce development is an increasing concern of all the service branches. The services are competing against each other and a strong job market for a shrinking pool of applicants interested in military service. The restrictions of the COVID lockdown years also slowed recruitment. 

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At a September hearing of the Senate Armed Service Committee, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) noted that the Army has met only 70 percent of its fiscal year 2022 active duty recruiting goals., or about 30,000 soldiers. The Marine Corps also fell short of its recruiting goals. The Air Force managed to hit its targets, but only by increasing enlistment incentives by $22 million in the past year.

The Coast Guard Strategy document goes into more detail about what changes are necessary. “The fundamental structure of our workforce system was established following World War II, amid a vastly different social and economic landscape. For example, the proportion of dual-income households has dramatically increased since the 1950s, and the costs of housing and childcare have risen while wages remained relatively flat. … We must build and support a more diverse, agile and adaptive total workforce,” it concludes.

“The pace of change in today’s world is accelerating,” Fagan said. “If we do not adapt, this accelerating pace of change will overtake our ability to protect, defend and serve the American public.”

Fagan assumed her duties as the 27th commandant on June 1, 2022. 

The Coast Guard Strategy, Commandant’s Intent and vision statement can be found at the commandant’s Home Page at