required. Large events like commissioning ceremonies for cutters,
those kinds of things, where there’s
a lot of work that goes in ahead of
time and there is a lot of mission
support planning. Those are the
kinds of things that we need to be
involved in and we try and get in
there as early as possible.
The Arctic drilling could have
huge impacts on our logistics mission support members. We don’t
have much infrastructure, and the
closest Coast Guard units are in
Kodiak, Alaska. Shell Inc. is looking to do some drilling this summer and the Coast Guard is already
looking at plans to make sure that
we’re able to provide support.
Whether it would be a big search-and-rescue event or a maritime
environmental event of some kind,
or pollution spills, whatever it
might be, there’s a lot of work and planning that goes
into these things.
What level of mission support requires the
most planning and what is the most difficult to
provide support for?
GROMLICH: The most difficult, at least what we’re
seeing at this point, is the support with the different
plans that we’re involved in now with the DoD and the
combatant commanders. It’s just because we’re really
still learning a lot about DoD and DoD logistics and
what DoD can provide, and how we plug into their
organizations, if we need to move Coast Guard units
Haiti was a great example. We deployed Coast
Guard port security into Haiti within a couple of days
of the earthquake, but we needed to ensure that we
were plugged into the DoD system. So we got all the
data loaded into their system for all of our personnel
and our equipment and our assets so that, should we
need it, DoD knows what we need and we’re able to get
them to help us move that stuff around.
Quite honestly, we don’t have a whole lot of experts
in the Coast Guard who understand that, and as we
went in and really started looking at the data that was
in the systems, we found out it had not been kept up
very well over the years. It was totally outdated, so
we’ve done a lot of work to ensure that all that information in the DoD systems is accurate, we understand
how DoD works and we’re able to plug in when necessary. It’s been a great partnership.
What type of events would push the limits of
your logistics capabilities?
GROMLICH: [Something like] the Deepwater Horizon
incident. There were large numbers of Coast Guard
personnel that were required to go down there and
provide support. We were operating in a higher tempo,
so we were doing more maintenance trying to get people down there to help relieve the crews, to give them
some time off that they needed.
There was also a lot of work that had to be done with
the oil spill equipment itself, whether it was our skimmers
or cleaning the boom, all that kind of stuff. That was really
a challenge. BP did a lot of that work, so it wasn’t that the
Coast Guard logistics system had to go in and do it all. We
had a lot of work to do, but it could’ve been a whole lot
worse. There was another responsible party to do that. If
there wasn’t a responsible party, it would be a very difficult
thing to deal with and, particularly, an event that took a
long period of time like we experienced down there.
I really feel like, from a contingency response standpoint, the Coast Guard is well positioned to be able to do
what I would call triage. We’ve got crews on duty around
the country 24/7, so we’re able to get in there pretty quickly, but we don’t necessarily have a large bench. Certainly
not what, say, DoD can bring to a contingency, whether it’s
an earthquake or a hurricane or something like that.
We can get in there quickly, assess the situation and
provide the first responder-type care that we can, provide
the support for our Coast Guard assets as long as we’re in
there. But then we need look for others to come in behind,
whether that’s FEMA or DoD or somebody else. ;