How the Coast Guard is planning to boost recruiting after years of shortage

If you want to eat well during your military service, the US Coast Guard may be the military branch to join. And if you join as a cook, you’re in line for one of the Guard’s biggest recruiting bonuses: $50,000.

But bonuses aren’t everything, as Admiral Linda Fagan attempts to address the recruiting shortfall plaguing the Guard – like other branches – In the last few years. This year, the Guard’s first female commandant told a congressional committee in July, the service is projected to miss its 4,200 target by more than 1,000 recruits. The service has missed its recruitment targets for the past four years, falling short by an average of 20% each year.

He told CBS News in a recent interview, “My battle cry looks different tomorrow and we will be different too.”

Last year, the Coast Guard conducted more than 16,000 rescue operations and saved more than 4,700 lives. Many of those rescues happened during natural disasters like hurricanes, which have become strong due to climate change, recently it saved a person who went overboard On a cruise ship and who was near death after walking in the water for hours.

One of the obstacles is that potential recruits have no idea what the Coast Guard does, Fagan said. While the service is best known for its search and rescue work, it also conducts icebreaking, counternarcotics operations in the Arctic to open shipping lanes and economic and national security opportunities, and it engages in maritime practices with allies and Trains partners.

“We are an Arctic nation,” she said “and therefore we have an important task to ensure our own national security and sovereignty in the Arctic.”

At the country’s ports, before allowing boats to enter, the Coast Guard inspects incoming vessels for nefarious activity.

“We’ve always been a military agency,” Fagan said. “We are a law enforcement agency [and] regulatory body.”

To attract new recruits, the service is offering bonuses of up to $50,000.

“One of the incentives is the bonus,” Fagan said. “We have some targeted bonuses. $50,000 if you want to join the Coast Guard as a cook. We have world-class cooks in the Coast Guard. We certainly eat well in this organization.”

But Fagan also said the bonus is a Band-Aid in solving the issues.

“My personal belief is that if we don’t fundamentally change some of the structure and assumptions of how we manage the workforce, then bonuses are a short-term fix,” she said.

The Coast Guard is also offering a new English learning program to help recruits who do not speak it as a first language achieve greater proficiency.

Fagan said, “Language should not be a barrier to service.”

It is also changing the maximum age from 35 to 42, allowing single parents to enlist and reassess loan requirements.

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