In late May, Adm. Thad W. Allen officially took over the reins at the U.S. Coast Guard. He becomes the 23rd commandant of the agency.
Allen, a 1971 Coast Guard Academy graduate, previously served as the Coast Guard chief of staff and commanding officer at Coast Guard Headquarters from May 2002 to April 2006. He also served as the chairman of the Department of Homeland Security’s Joint Requirements Council from 2003 to 2006. In September 2005, Allen was designated the principal federal official for Hurricane Katrina response-and-recovery operations in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He additionally served as principal federal official for Hurricane Rita response-and-recovery activities in Louisiana.
“We in the Coast Guard do our work on the world’s last global commons. We execute our mission at the confluence of great waters and often at the intersection of political and ideological passions,” Allen said in his acceptance speech. “But whether it is among the oil platforms of the Persian Gulf or the rooftops of New Orleans, we strive for mission excellence to provide this country the security, the safety, and the stewardship of our oceans demanded in an uncertain time and an often dangerous world.”
During his speech, Allen also spoke of the agency’s commitment as part of the Department of Homeland Security. “Our challenge is to attack each day and each task with a purpose grounded in who we are, what we have been, and what we must become,” he said. “The Homeland Security Act created the promise. We must keep it.”
Allen also previously served as commander, Coast Guard Atlantic Area, Fifth Coast Guard District, and U.S. Maritime Defense Zone Atlantic in Portsmouth, Va. At that time, he was the operational commander for all Coast Guard activities in an area of responsibility that spanned five Coast Guard Districts and encompassed more than 14 million square miles. Allen led the Coast Guard’s Atlantic Area forces in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
— Ken Hocke