The US Coast Guard is exploring the creation of a “part-time” category of military service, according to Commander Admiral Linda Fagan, who outlined a range of changes aimed at attracting new recruits and retaining existing staff. Fagan revealed the Coast Guard is 4,800 people short of its recruitment target, having previously focused on 18-year-old high school graduates. The service is now looking at approaches such as downloading the process for experienced professionals who could be immediately contracted in, or part-time roles, which are yet to be finalised or officially defined.
Fagan is also driving efforts to diversify the recruitment process, including the creation of “side entry” roles for professionals who have already completed certification programmes outside of the military, and seeking recruits from non-traditional job markets. The Coast Guard Academy has seen a major increase in the number of women it recruits, with women accounting for 45% of cadets. In the rest of the Coast Guard, however, Fagan acknowledges there is “a lot of work to do to continue to ensure we reflect the society we serve”.