Reservist

ISS1 2019

Reservist Magazine is the award-winning official publication of the United States Coast Guard Reserve. Quarterly issues include news and feature articles about the men and women who comprise America's premier national maritime safety and security

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On June 11, the Coast Guard Reserve underwent its most significant organizational change since integration in the mid- 1990's. Responsibility for the administration of the Reserve Component shifted from the Assistant Commandant for Human Resources (under the Deputy Commandant for Mission Support) to a newly established Assistant Commandant for Reserve, known as CG-R (under the Deputy Commandant for Operations). The move to operations comes with significant benefits. However, before discussing the benefits and details of these impending changes, a little background on how and why these changes came about would be helpful. Prior to 1995, the Coast Guard Reserve operated as an independent entity with stand-alone, collocated commands, at the field level. With Integration, reservists were incorporated into regular units under a single command structure, and while this change was successful in creating a more efficient and operationally- oriented organization, some gaps in the Headquarters structure remained. In the nearly 25 years since Integration there have been numerous, comprehensive evaluations of the Reserve, but many of the identified challenges remained unresolved. The symptoms of a larger gap in the governance structure of the Reserve Component (e.g. reasonable commuting distance concerns, long-term vacant billets in areas without recruiting or training capacity, lack of validated contingency response requirements, etc.) had six common themes: • Reserve Component generally left out of Coast Guard wide policy/initiative making • Decisions made without considering impacts to Reserve and reservist readiness • Gaps in program oversight and resourcing of field commanders necessary to perform assigned functions • Lack of strategic management of Reserve Component to meet mission needs of the service. In order to address these gaps, the Deputy Commandant for Mission Support and Deputy Commandant for Operations chartered the Reserve Governance Integrated Project Team (RG- IPT) in the spring of 2018 to evaluate the current state of Reserve Component governance and make recommendations on improvements, including the right location within Headquarters to place the Director of Reserve. The team, headed by a reservist, Rear Adm. James Kelly, provided the vice commandant of the Coast Guard, Adm. Charles Ray, with a recommended way forward, which included the establishment of an Assistant Commandant for Reserve who will work directly for the Deputy Commandant for Operations. This is not just about reshuffling the Headquarters organization. Ultimately, the value for the average reservist at the deck plate level comes from having confidence that the competencies assigned to their billet make sense and are part of a deliberate plan. Have you ever asked yourself why you are training to a particular competency? In the vast majority of cases, the competencies attached to Reserve positions are the same competencies assigned to active duty members at the same unit. In fact, in the event of a contingency, the Coast Guard is going to need a whole lot more capacity to do the things we already do (e.g. boat operations, law enforcement, etc), not something unrelated. Having a system in place to coordinate between the capability managers in the Assistant Commandant for Capabilities (e.g. Shore Forces, Boat Forces, etc.) and the Areas will ensure assigned competencies are considered within a larger system. This should better address the Service's planned needs while capitalizing on the skills that already exist at the units. This will drive greater return on investment at the unit and allow reservists to more fully embody the "training through augmentation" mantra, adding value on a daily basis, not just in emergencies. What is "governance"? In order to get beyond chasing the symptoms of an inefficient system, the Coast Guard needed to address the underlying gaps in the Headquarters governance structure. But what is "governance"? In business, governance relates to the prosperity of a company based on the success of the management structure. For us, governance references the way the Reserve is managed at the Headquarters level. "We are on the cusp of the most significant change to the structure of the Coast Guard Reserve since Integration. Creation of the Assistant Commandant for Reserve will allow for a more focused approach to building the Reserve Component." – Vice Adm. Daniel B. Abel, Deputy Commandant for Operations 26 RESERVIST � Issue 1 • 2019

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