Written by: Rear Adm. Kurt Hinrichs, Director of Reserve and Military Personnel
Anniversaries offer us a convenient opportunity to take a fix on how far we’ve come and to take stock of ourselves to determine if a course correction is necessary before continuing our journey. With this in mind, the 76th anniversary of the founding of the Coast Guard Reserve could not have come at a more opportune time in history. With the inauguration of a new president and the confirmation of a new secretary of Homeland Security, we have the opportunity to highlight our value to our nation and articulate a plan to best utilize our dynamic workforce.
Since February 19, 1941, the Coast Guard Reserve has been an invaluable force multiplier for responses to domestic and foreign contingency requirements. The Reserve has been an indispensable asset to local units by utilizing mobilization related skills and competencies in support of daily steady-state operations. The units awarded the Rear Admiral Bennett “Bud” Sparks Award will certainly attest to the power of a locally trained and ready Reserve.
At the dawning of our 76th year we find ourselves in an austere budget environment where we don’t have the resources to be an “All Threats, All Hazards” workforce. Accordingly, we must be future focused and build the best workforce we can to meet a narrower set of contingency response requirements. The first step in this direction was taken in September 2015, when Coast Guard Commandant, Adm. Paul Zukunft, signed a decision memo defining the Reserve component as “a contingency-based workforce to meet the Coast Guard’s mobilization requirements within the prioritized mission areas of Defense Operations, PWCS, Incident Management and Response, and Mission Support.”
Underpinning this requirements driven workforce is the Reserve Component Force Planning System (RC-FPS). The RC-FPS utilizes time-tested operational planning processes to bringing together Reserve Force Planners and Force Managers to balance the demand and supply side needs. Active and Reserve participation in this process will ensure the needs of all stakeholders are understood and addressed.
While we have been challenged as a component over the past few years, there are a great many opportunities available to us to highlight the value proposition represented by the Reserve and its most important asset – its people. We are actively working on Reserve Mission and Vision statements as well as a multi-year strategy for building the Reserve. Indeed, these are unique and exciting times.
To all members of the Coast Guard Reserve, the Coast Guard Reserve Force Master Chief Eric Johnson and I salute you and extend our hands in gratitude along with a well deserved “Bravo Zulu” to you for your continued commitment and sacrifice. Happy Anniversary and Semper Paratus!