President Trump and Texas Gov. Greg Abbot are briefed by Coast Guard Atlantic Area Commander Vice Admiral Karl Schultz during a Hurricane Harvey response update in Corpus Christi, Texas, on Aug. 29, 2017. (Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Patrick Kelley)

Atlantic Commander Schultz Picked to Lead the Coast Guard

President Trump has nominated Vice Admiral Karl L. Schultz to serve as the 26th commandant of the Coast Guard, drawing praise and “complete confidence” from Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

Schultz assumed command of the Coast Guard Atlantic Area (LANTAREA) in August 2016, overseeing operations in five USCG districts and 40 states. He also serves as commander of Defense Force East, provides Coast Guard mission support to the Department of Defense and combatant commanders, and directs DHS Joint Task Force East with a focus on southern border security.

The vice admiral was previously director of operations at U.S. Southern Command. He also served as commander of the Eleventh Coast Guard District on the West Coast and was director of Governmental and Public Affairs at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington.

In a statement, Nielsen said she was “pleased” with the nomination.

“Vice Admiral Schultz has over 35 years of Coast Guard leadership experience, and I have complete confidence in his ability to lead the men and women of the Coast Guard with honor and integrity,” she said. “Vice Admiral Schultz has exemplified the selfless service that defines the U.S. Coast Guard throughout his remarkable career, and I look forward to working closely with him in this new role.”

Trump nominated Vice Admiral Charles W. Ray to serve as Schultz’s vice commandant. Ray currently serves as the Coast Guard deputy commandant for operations, and previously commanded USCG in the Pacific Area.

In his final State of the Coast Guard address last week, Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft noted that “not long ago, our piers were chock-full of tired and aging cutters,” but today “you’ll smell fresh paint and see new National Security Cutters, Fast Response Cutters; on the way are Offshore Patrol cutters.”

“We are building out the Coast Guard of tomorrow and will need 5 percent annualized growth in the operations and maintenance account and a $2 billion floor for acquisitions to continue to do so,” Zukunft said. “It is a small ask for the smallest armed service whose full appropriation is less than one line item on the appropriations of the other four.”

Bridget Johnson is the Managing Editor for Homeland Security Today. A veteran journalist whose news articles and analyses have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe, Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor and a foreign policy writer at The Hill. Previously she was an editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and syndicated nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. Bridget is a weekly columnist for the New York Observer and a senior fellow specializing in terrorism analysis at the Haym Salomon Center. She is a Senior Risk Analyst for Gate 15 and Washington Bureau Chief for PJ Media. She is an NPR on-air contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico, New York Daily News, The Jerusalem Post, The Hill, Washington Times, RealClearWorld and more, and has myriad television and radio credits including Al-Jazeera and SiriusXM.

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