U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) will convene a nomination hearing at 10:00 a.m. onTuesday, April 17, 2018 to consider the presidents nomination for Coast Guard Commandant.
Completed nomination questionnaires are available at www.commerce.senate.gov/nominations
- Vice Admiral Karl L. Schultz to be promoted to Admiral and to be Commandant of the United States Coast Guard
Thursday, April 17, 2018
This hearing will take place in Russell Senate Office Building, Room 253. Witness testimony, opening statements, and a live video of the hearing will be available on www.commerce.senate.gov.
Chairman Roger Wicker
Today we will consider the nomination of Vice Admiral Karl Schultz to be promoted to Admiral and to become the 26th Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard.
The Coast Guard has had a tremendous year by all accounts. As our nation’s smallest armed service, it has repeatedly shown its value to the American people. The Coast Guard yielded record results last year in its mission to combat the flow of illegal narcotics by transnational criminal organizations. In total, the Coast Guard interdicted more than $6.6 billion worth of cocaine and other drugs before they could reach our shores, while apprehending more than 600 smugglers for prosecution.
This past fall, we experienced one of the most catastrophic hurricane seasons on record. Hurricane Harvey in Texas, Hurricane Irma in the Caribbean and southeastern United States, Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, and Hurricane Nate along the Gulf Coast caused an unprecedented $200 billion in damages. This eclipsed the previous record of $159 billion, which we experienced in 2005 from Hurricane Katrina.
And yet, for every storm that battered our shores, the Coast Guard answered the call, surging personnel from all over the country to provide relief to affected communities. The Coast Guard estimates that the heroic actions by the men and women helped save more than 11,000 lives.
Despite these noteworthy results, there are numerous challenges ahead for the service as it continues to take on more and more responsibility. We are seeing significant increases in vessel traffic in the Arctic as opening waterways offer new commercial opportunities for the maritime industry. The Coast Guard will be relied upon for search and rescue, fisheries management, and environmental enforcement in these hazardous waters.
Currently, the Coast Guard is performing its missions with antiquated equipment and aging ships that are in constant danger of breaking down. The Coast Guard’s sole heavy icebreaker, the Polar Star, was commissioned in 1967 and is a single point of failure for U.S. presence in the Arctic. Other legacy assets, such as the High Endurance Cutters and the Inland River Tenders, are more than 40 and 50 years old.
The Coast Guard is in the midst of a major recapitalization effort. It is Congress’s responsibility to assist in this effort and provide our smallest armed service with adequate resources to meet increasing demands.
I am pleased to report that the Senate will finally be considering the Coast Guard Authorization Act during this work period. Members from both sides of the aisle worked to pass this bill through the Committee last June. After more than 10 months, it is well past time that we move forward with this important piece of legislation. This bill would provide the Coast Guard with the programmatic authorities necessary to address future challenges.
Vice Admiral Karl Schultz is well-qualified to lead the Coast Guard during this critical and challenging time. Throughout his 35 years of service, he has proven to be a trustworthy and capable leader. As the Atlantic Area Commander, Vice Admiral Schultz oversees all Coast Guard operations from the Rocky Mountains to the Arabian Gulf. He also serves as Commander, Defense Force East, where he is responsible for providing Coast Guard mission support to the Department of Defense and the Combatant Commanders. His personal awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, four Legions of Merit, four Meritorious Service Medals, three Coast Guard Commendation medals, two Coast Guard Achievement Medals, and numerous others.
So, Admiral Schultz, we thank you for testifying today and look forward to you continuing to serve our country.
Witness Panel 1
Vice Admiral Karl L. SchultzVice AdmiralU.S. Coast Guard