The U.S. Coast Guard Office of Congressional and Governmental Affairs (CG-0921) is pleased to announce that Mr. Kenneth Schnetzler, the Sector New York GAO, is the awardee of the 2022 “John J. Jaskot Governmental Affairs Officer of the Year Award.” This prestigious annual award recognizes Coast Guard active duty, reserve, civilian, and auxiliary members who excelled in executing GAO responsibilities during the previous calendar year.
Per REF (A), the award is named in honor of CDR John J. (J.J.) Jaskot (1954-2020). CDR Jaskot graduated from the Coast Guard Academy in 1976 and proudly served on active duty for 20 years with service afloat, as a maritime attorney, two tours in Congressional Affairs, as well as a deployment to the Middle East during the Persian Gulf War, earning the Combat Action Ribbon. CDR Jaskot’s final tour was as the Coast Guard’s Liaison to the U.S. Senate, where he set the standard for representing the Coast Guard to the U.S. Congress. After his retirement in 1996, he remained active in the Congressional Affairs Alumni network serving as a good friend and mentor to countless personnel assigned to Coast Guard Congressional Affairs.
As Sector New York’s full-time Governmental Affairs Officer, Mr. Schnetzler expertly balances Coast Guard equities along with the political demands of one of the service’s largest operational units overseeing missions in one of the nation’s busiest and most consequential ports. He manages Sector New York’s external engagements with stakeholders from the international to the local level. During CY 22 he also took on extra duties supporting public outreach and community relations while serving temporarily as the Sector’s Public Affairs Officer during a 6-month positional gap. In these roles, he leveraged New York City’s media market and relationships with leaders of Congress, to directly impact some of the Commandant’s top strategic priories. Furthermore, Mr. Schnetzler distinguished himself through several notable events:
- He adeptly arranged numerous Congressional engagements and prepared Coast Guard Leaders and subunits for strategic discussions with elected officials on the state of aging infrastructure resulting in additional funding for a $140 million housing capital project.
- He deftly coordinated Congressional and staff delegations to witness the Coast Guard’s icebreaking mission which enables the transport of 90% of the home heating oil for the Northeast during the winter.
- Working closely with the District External Affairs office, he facilitated Congressional outreach and engagement regarding impacts to our Marine Transportation System – ranging from managing anchorages and aids to navigations to the impacts of offshore wind and port congestion and the Coast Guard’s synergetic coordination with maritime industry heralding remarkable growth as the port became the busiest port in the United States. Of particular note, he coordinated and hosted key Congressional Members at Sector New York giving them a first-hand look at the maritime operations conducted by Coast Guard members to keep our ports safe and secure during national security events like the United Nations General Assembly and the New York Marathon, which starts at Sector New York on Fort Wadsworth.
- Beyond his extraordinary efforts with Congressional engagements, he supports the Office of International Affairs, coordinating visits for foreign nationals attending the National Defense University, the Defense Institute of International Legal Studies, and Army War College; and a host of other visits to include the India Secretary Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways and the French Secretary of State for the Sea.
Both the quality and quantity of Mr. Schnetzler’s work are exceptional. His diligence and outstanding, ceaseless efforts to communicate the value of the Coast Guard to congressional and governmental entities at all levels make him highly deserving of this award.
The following outstanding GAOs were recognized for honorable mention: LCDR Sam Andriessen, USCGA, and LCDR Jonathan Scott, D8.