Rear Adm. Andrew M. Sugimoto replaced Rear Adm. Brian K. Penoyer as the Eleventh Coast Guard District commander Friday during a change-of-command ceremony on Coast Guard Island in Alameda.
Sugimoto most recently served as the Coast Guard’s Assistant Commandant for Intelligence at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C., where he was responsible for over 1,100 intelligence professionals who conduct the service’s intelligence programs, including collection activities, analysis and production, geospatial intelligence, counterintelligence, cryptology, and critical IT and security functions.
Before he arrived at Coast Guard Headquarters, Sugimoto served as the Chief of Staff of the Eighth Coast Guard District. He oversaw U.S. Coast Guard operations spanning 26 states, including the Gulf coastline from Florida to Mexico and the adjacent offshore waters of the Gulf of Mexico, including the Outer Continental Shelf and the inland waterways of the Mississippi, Ohio, Missouri, and Tennessee River systems.
A native of California, Sugimoto graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in 1990 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Government. He graduated from the University of San Diego School of Law in 2002 and was conferred a Juris Doctorate. He was previously stationed in Alameda as the commanding officer of the Coast Guard Cutter Stratton.
“It’s a privilege to take the position of district commander for the 11th Coast Guard District,” said Sugimoto. “California is a very powerful maritime nexus for this country, and the women and men of the Coast Guard work to keep our waters safe and secure.”
Penoyer will serve as the Coast Guard’s Assistant Commandant for Human Resources at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C., overseeing personnel management, which oversees recruitment, duty assignments, and retirees’ pay and benefits.
Penoyer assumed command of the Eleventh Coast Guard District on July 23, 2020. He previously served as Coast Guard’s Force Readiness commander in Norfolk, Virginia, where he was responsible for the activity of 41 subordinate units across 17 states, impacting every Coast Guard mission. Force Readiness Command delivers mission-ready forces through training doctrines, leadership development, readiness assessments, and major exercise support.
“The achievements of the women and men of Eleventh Coast Guard District have been nothing short of remarkable, and I take great pride in having served alongside them,” said Penoyer. “I look forward to their continued success under the new command.”
The Eleventh District commander is responsible for Coast Guard roles and missions across 3.3 million square miles of the country, including the states of California, Utah, Nevada, and Arizona and the inland waters of lakes Powell, Tahoe, Meade, Havasu, and Mojave. Responsibilities extend from the Mexico border across the eastern Pacific Ocean, where the Coast Guard counters transnational criminal threats, conducts the majority of its counternarcotics patrols, and coordinates search and rescue.
Established in 1939, the Eleventh District employs approximately 2,400 active-duty, reserve, and civilian employees. It comprises 43 units, including sectors, air stations, buoy tenders, small-boat stations, patrol boats, aids-to-navigation teams, marine safety detachments, and vessel traffic services.
The change-of-command ceremony is a time-honored tradition aboard ships and shore commands. It represents a total transfer of responsibility, authority, and accountability from one individual to another. In addition, the event ensures the continuity of leadership and operations within the district’s area of responsibility.