OSMS and YOU: Marine Environmental Response

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



Written by Lt. Cmdr. Jerry Butwid

The National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan, more commonly referred to as the National Contingency Plan or NCP, designates the U. S. Coast Guard as the lead federal agency for directing the removal and mitigation of oils spills and releases of hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminates into or threatening the waters and adjoining shorelines of the coastal zone. It further pre-designates that each Coast Guard Captain of the Port as the Federal On-Scene Coordinator or FOSC in the coastal zone, which requires them to oversee the oil spill and hazardous substance release response effort and ensures the response operations are conducted as per the National Contingency Plan. The Marine Environmental Response subspecialty (OAR-15) supports the FOSC through detection and control of oil and hazardous substances as per the Clean Water Act and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, as promulgated in the NCP, and the National Response System, which is the mechanism for coordinating response actions by all levels of government.


This officer subspecialty is available to officers who have completed one tour at the National Strike Force or at a Coast Guard Sector or Marine Safety Unit, Incident Management Division and have the following Marine Environmental Response competencies.

National Strike Force   Sector/MSU Incident Management Division
  • Response Member (MAREE)
  • Response Officer (MAREH)
  • ICS Division Group Supervisor (DIVS)
  • Pollution Responder (MARED)
  • Federal On-Scene Coordinator Representative (MARET)
  • ICS Division Group Supervisor (DIVS)


Officers wanting to pursue this subspecialty should work with their command and OPM to complete a tour at the NSF or at a Sector/MSU Incident Management Division. Additional information for this subspecialty can be found at OPM’s website or by contacting the Office of Marine Environmental Response Policy at Coast Guard Headquarters (202-372-2263).

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