Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The nation looks to the Coast Guard for leadership

Coast Guard continues to take a leadership role in the Katrina response. Vice Admiral Allen has been send south to provide assistance to FEMA. As reported today:
With Michael D. Brown, the embattled public face of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, taking harsh criticism for the slow federal response to Hurricane Katrina, the secretary of homeland security this week assigned a top Coast Guard official to help bail him out.

Vice Adm. Thad W. Allen, the Coast Guard's chief of staff, was assigned on Monday to be Brown's deputy and to take over operational control of the search-and-rescue and recovery efforts along the Gulf Coast. The unprecedented task of coordinating the massive effort was handed off to a leader and expert who was described by colleagues as unflappable, engaging and intensely organized.

Allen is also familiar with the inner workings of the Department of Homeland Security, where the Coast Guard has landed alongside FEMA as one of the designated main protectors of the United States. Allen has been one of the primary shepherds of change at the Coast Guard since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and has been praised for his ability to reach out to other agencies to develop "big-picture" approaches to homeland defense.
When Admiral Allen was the Atlantic Area Commander, I was a watchstander here at the combined command center & rescue coordination center. He was the balls. One of the finest flag officers I've ever worked for: personable, brilliant, on-the-ball. He'll be a ball of fire down in New Orleans.

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