The genesis of the Coast Guard’s ports, waterways and coastal security, or PWCS, mission dates back to 1888 when its predecessor agency, the Revenue Cutter Service, was tasked with the movement and anchorage of vessels in New York.
“The Secretary’s Award for Valor is the highest honor to recognize those who have put others before themselves, integrity and duty above all else,” said Secretary Jeh Johnson. “It is an honor to shake their hands today and thank them for their selfless service.”
Today, United States Coast Guard men and women are standing the watch around the world in service to our Nation. Our efforts and mission success depend on reliable and predictable funding.
“Our crew used their unique capabilities and authorities as a military service, law enforcement agency, and member of the U.S. intelligence community to disrupt transnational organized crime networks in the Eastern Pacific and keep drugs from making it to the U.S.,” said Capt. Edward A. Westfall, commanding officer of Coast Guard Cutter Boutwell. “These illegal drug networks are dangerous breeding grounds for all types of trafficking and their immense profits fuel violence and instability.”
This morning Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft signed the Coast Guard Western Hemisphere Strategy. It addresses transnational threats and maritime challenges that threaten the security of our Nation, markets and oceans over the next 10 years. The Coast Guard is globally deployed, but our primary operating area remains in the Western Hemisphere. As we engage future challenges we must think strategically to best position our resources to leverage our unique authorities, capabilities and partnerships to achieve national objectives across the range of Coast Guard missions.
Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson welcomed the U.S. Coast Guard Academy’s Class of 2014 as the service’s newest complement of officers yesterday. Alongside degrees with majors ranging from humanities to engineering, cadets received commissions in the U.S. Coast Guard to officially begin careers in service to the country’s maritime needs.
Yesterday, the U.S. Senate confirmed Vice Adm. Paul F. Zukunft to the rank of admiral and appointed him to be the 25th Commandant of the United States Coast Guard. The confirmation was approved by unanimous consent. Zukunft will assume the role of commandant, currently held by Adm. Bob Papp, at a change of command ceremony May 30, 2014.
Coast Guard crews work year-round to ensure they are ready to support their community in the aftermath of disaster. In keeping with the service’s proud tradition of preserving life, the Coast Guard has plans in place to protect communities from manmade or natural disasters and one of the most important elements of these plans is communication.
Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Bob Papp provided oral testimony before two U.S. House of Representatives subcommittees yesterday on the Coast Guard’s Fiscal Year 2014 budget request. In the morning, the Commandant testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security and in the afternoon testified along with Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard Michael P. Leavitt before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Marine Transportation.
Today I delivered my third State of the Coast Guard Address at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C. As we look back on what we’ve accomplished in the last year and then look forward to the horizon, I have great confidence and optimism about where we are today and where we are headed.