House chairs notified by Coast Guard on its handling of harassment reports

Last week, the chairs of four House committees announced that they had received notice from U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Karl Schultz that he has implemented all of the recommendations contained in the committees’ joint investigatory staff report on how the Coast Guard has handled reports of harassment, bullying, and retaliation.

In his letter, Adm. Schultz wrote that the Coast Guard has implemented these “corrective actions” to address the numerous deficiencies identified in the Coast Guard’s Anti-Harassment and Hate Incident program (AHHI). Over the past 10 months, Schultz said a working group “developed and executed an action plan.”

“We have promulgated revised policies and improved the training and resources available to the Coast Guard’s workforce to greatly enhance the efficacy of our Anti-Harassment and Hate Incident program and procedures,” Schultz wrote in his Oct. 28 letter. ”

“We are very pleased that Coast Guard leadership convened a working group and implemented the institutional reforms our Committees recommended,” said Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, D-Miss., chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, and Rep. Lou Correa, D-Calif., chairman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation and Maritime Security. “As a result of our investigation, we know the Coast Guard faces major climate and cultural challenges and its leadership lacks proper accountability. The significant policy changes the Commandant has directed are a testament to the bravery of Lt. Cmdr. Kimberly Young-McLear and other whistleblowers who have come forward in the face of retaliation. These changes are critical to ensuring that the Coast Guard’s anti-harassment and anti-bullying programs are fair and effective. We look forward to continuing to work with the Coast Guard to ensure that, as the Commandant has stated, implementation of these recommendations will be just the start of the service’s institutional reforms.”

The committees’ investigation was initiated over two years ago by then-Ranking Member Elijah E. Cummings and then-Ranking Member Thompson, in consultation with Rep. Joe Courtney, to examine the handling of complaints of harassment and retaliation in the Coast Guard – including at the Coast Guard Academy, and the Academy’s responses to disparities identified in the Equity Scorecard review. The final report was released in December 2019.

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