What kind of system do you
have in place to prioritize
what you need to do?
GROMLICH: Unfortunately, we
don’t have anything we can just
plug stuff into, so it’s us, it’s my
team, sitting down and working on
our priorities. We’ve been talking
very closely with the operational
commanders to get their input as
to what their priorities are. The
bottom line is, we’re mission support and our job is to support the
operational commanders to allow
them to execute their mission. So,
really, they set the priorities.
We tell them what we can do as
far as the resources that we have,
and what can get done and what
can’t get done. That’s certainly
going to be a challenge and, as we
deal with potential budget cuts and
things like that down the road, it’s
going to be even more incumbent
on us to identify truly what those priorities are, to
make sure we’re aligned with the operational partners
out there and moving the Coast Guard forward to execute the missions.
U.S. COAST GUARD
Coast Guard Director of Operational Logistics Rear Adm. Richard T. Gromlich
addresses the audience during the establishment ceremony of U.S. Coast
Guard Base Miami Beach, Fla., Sept. 28.
How is the prospect of budget cuts impacting
what you do?
GROMLICH: We’re trying to identify efficiencies across
the board in dollar savings and, really, I think that’s one
of the things that we can bring to the table. Our mission support network, there’s a lot of money and a lot
of billets associated with that. We need to ensure that
we’re utilizing those most effectively and efficiently.
As we stand up bases, particularly most places where
we’re co-located with other Coast Guard units, like sectors, we’re looking for opportunities to maybe do some
consolidation. The current state of the economy forces
us now more than ever to be innovative and to look for
better, more affordable, efficient ways of doing business.
Base Seattle defined our concept of operations. That
was one of [our] top priorities. And it shows, particularly, the relationship between the base commander
and the director of operational logistics, and the
department heads on the base and the logistics and
service centers. The concept of operations, which was
signed in late October, is a great step forward. Those
were probably two of the biggest things.
What are some lessons learned from the pilot
logistics facility you opened in Seattle last
GROMLICH: I would say it reinforced the fact that this
is the right thing to do. From an operational standpoint, and from the standpoint of the people at the base
being able to say, “That’s my commanding officer
[CO].” Whereas, before, we had COs that were 2,000 or
3,000 miles away. At the waterfront level or deck-point
level, they can point to the person who is their CO.
What type of mission support do you provide
the service during normal, or steady-state,
GROMLICH: [In] steady-state operations, quite honestly, it’s more of an integrator function. We’ve got
folks who are embedded in the Atlantic Area
Operations Center in Portsmouth, Va., 24/7, so they’re
continually getting information from deployed cutters
when they have casualties, need parts or some kind of
support, or somebody gets sick or a family member is
having problems and they need to transport them back
to the states. They’re passing the information back to
the right people in the mission support organization
who can address the problem.
We’re able to get information a whole lot faster than
we were. In the past, it would take a while to come in
through the operations side and then trickle up to the
mission support side of the house. Now, we’re right
there … working with the deployed assets and then the
local logistics and service centers to ensure that the
needs of the operator are being met.