OSMS and You: Defense Operations and Readiness

Utilizing unique competencies, capabilities and authorities, the Coast Guard’s Defense Readiness and Operations mission supports the National Military Strategy and operations of the Department of Defense to support combatant commanders worldwide.

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This blog post is the 29th in a series of posts highlighting the various specialties and subspecialties offered by the recently launched Officer Specialty Management System. Stay tuned as we share key information about each specialty/subspecialty in the coming weeks!

Written by Cmdr. Greg Magee, Office of Counterterrorism and Defense Operations Policy


Utilizing unique competencies, capabilities and authorities, the Coast Guard’s Defense Readiness and Operations mission supports the National Military Strategy and operations of the Department of Defense to support combatant commanders worldwide.

The Defense Operations and Readiness subspecialty, CG-OAR12, identifies officers with expert knowledge in how the Coast Guard integrates with the joint force in the execution of Title 10 missions at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels. Officers with this subspecialty have proven success in Coast Guard operational mission areas and are ideally suited for interfacing with the DoD in the planning and execution of both national defense and homeland security missions.

Officers with CG-OAR12 fill critical staff positions at Coast Guard Headquarters, Atlantic and Pacific Areas, Combatant Commands, Naval Component Commands, the Pentagon (Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, and the Navy staff), and in various Navy commands. Reserve officers have opportunities at the Joint Staff, Port Security Units and Combatant Commands.

Officers in these positions support the Defense Operations and Readiness mission through activities such as:

– development and review of joint strategy and policy
– global force management
– planning and execution of joint wargames and exercises

Previous experience working for or alongside DoD does not in itself qualify an officer for this subspecialty. Work in intelligence, human resource management, cyber operations, law, maritime security, and health care administration may involve substantial interaction with DoD, but CG-OAR12 specifically focuses on the competencies and experiences that support the Coast Guard’s Defense Operations and Readiness mission.

Interested? Here are some requirements:

CG-OAR12 is available to officers who have completed one year of a permanent assignment in a Defense Operations and Readiness position and have authorization to wear at least one of the following permanent operational insignia: Cutterman, Surface Warfare Officer, Boat Forces Operations, Tactical Law Enforcement Operator, Aviator, Marine Safety, or Port Security.

To advance within this subspecialty to the journeyman and master levels, an officer must complete additional requirements that vary depending on the officer’s background. These requirements may include assignment to a second Defense Operations billet, serving for at least one year in a command cadre position as an O-3 or above, and completion of Joint Professional Military Education, JPME, Phase 1, journeyman and Phase 2, master.

Other specific training and education will complement the above requirements and may make officers more competitive for assignment to Defense Operations positions. For O-4s and O-4 selects, the command and staff post-graduate program is an excellent opportunity to get your foot in the door or further solidify your CG-OAR12 subspecialty. The program involves attendance at a 10-month resident program at a sister service school, where officers earn a masters degree and JPME-1 credit. Other distance learning opportunities include the Naval War College’s Fleet Seminar Program and Air Command and Staff program, found at the following links:

U.S. Naval War College

Air Command and Staff College

Additional information for this subspecialty can be found at OPM’s website or by contacting the Office of Counterterrorism and Defense Operations Policy (CG-ODO) at Coast Guard Headquarters (202-372-2106).

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