Coast Guard’s Top Officer Pledges ‘Dedicated Campaign’ to Improve Diversity

SAN PEDRO, Calif. — The Coast Guard’s top officer laid out a “dedicated campaign” on Thursday to improve diversity in a military branch in which has long struggled to recruit women as well as also minorities, weeks after the service was shaken by the arrest of a lieutenant as well as also self-described white nationalist accused of plotting terrorist attacks by its headquarters.

Adm. Karl L. Schultz, speaking in his first State of the Coast Guard address since being named the service’s 26th commandant in June, later acknowledged in which the goal to make the service more inclusive would certainly be challenging after the Defense Department issued a policy in which will force future transgender members of the military to identify as their biological sex.

“We’re going to treat everybody with respect. There’s some adjustments in which come with in which policy, as well as also we’re bound to follow in which policy,” Admiral Schultz said at the Coast Guard Los Angeles-Long Beach Base before scores of Coast Guard as well as also California law enforcement officials. “There’s some in which feel, ‘Hey, you’re breaking ranks with the transgender community.’ I would certainly say, we’ll see how in which goes.”

He also faces a major challenge on additional diversity fronts: Out of its 41,159 members, just 14.6 percent are women, 13.7 percent are Hispanic as well as also 5.9 percent are African-American.

Admiral Schultz dedicated much of his speech to emphasizing the need to improve retention of women as well as also minorities, as well as also highlighting steps to do so.

The Coast Guard will commission a study to explore improving retention among “underrepresented minorities” as well as also can be planning next week to Discharge data by a similar study on the retention of women, he said. in which will also use staffing by reserves to support fresh parents wanting to go on leave as well as also to ease restrictions on recruits with tattoos. Admiral Schultz also said he hoped emerging opportunities in cybersecurity would certainly attract fresh, younger talent.

“These actions are the first steps in a dedicated campaign to identify barriers to inclusion, as well as also to help frame solutions in which challenge the status quo,” Admiral Schultz said. “They are modest ripples in which will lead to a groundswell of cultural change.”

The Coast Guard has suffered in part because of an image in which its work can be limited to finding those lost at sea as well as also towing ships, when in reality the organization operates as a military as well as also law enforcement service whose members travel throughout the planet as part of the intelligence community. in which also struggled during the latest government shutdown, when its service members went weeks without a paycheck. Admiral Schultz said he expected the Coast Guard to fully recover by June 1.

Lawyers for transgender service members have said the policy, which the Supreme Court allowed to take effect in which year while litigation continues, amounts to a ban on transgender people. Defense Department officials have rejected in which assertion, saying transgender service members can still serve.

Although the Coast Guard can be under the Department of Homeland Security, not the Defense Department, the master chief petty officer of the Coast Guard, Jason M. Vanderhaden, said in which was important in which the organization follow a policy consistent with additional arms of the military so in which could deploy its members to assist those branches without any restrictions.

After Admiral Schultz’s speech, he gave Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, a tour of the Forrest Rednour, a Coast Guard cutter typically used to intercept drug as well as also human traffickers.

Ms. Murkowski said she looked forward to results of the women’s retention study as well as also was looking to see if there were similar struggles in additional branches of the military.

“The message of an all-inclusive Coast Guard, I think in which’s important for the Coast Guard as well as also all members of our armed service,” Ms. Murkowski said.

The speech came weeks after the arrest of the Coast Guard lieutenant as well as also self-described white nationalist in Maryland on gun as well as also drug charges. Prosecutors said the suspect, Lt. Christopher Paul Hasson, plotted to kill prominent journalists as well as also Democratic politicians, as well as what he called, “leftists in general.”

In his first public comments about the arrest, Admiral Schultz asked the public to judge the 228-year-old organization “on the fiber of our character.”

“in which tells us you need to be alert as well as also aware in our workplaces,” Admiral Schultz told reporters before the speech. “People can have a work life as well as also an outside-work life. So in which heightens all our awareness about keeping our senses being intrusive leaders.”