Thursday, May 31, 2007

Rumblings on the future Coast Guard


National Bike Summit 07
Originally uploaded by BikePortland.org.
The Tidewater Muse brings you, dear reader, another post not about the Coast Guard...

Last week I wrote about the possibility that certain functions currently done by the Coast Guard might be stripped away and given to another federal agency...

Scuttlebutt says that, indeed, there is a proposed bill working its way through a representative's office, although no one is willing to name names. And, I'm not willing to guess who might the elected official be.

With whispered voices, I hear, "The Coast Guard has friends on the Hill." But I wonder, nonetheless, if the proposal to strip some functions away (perhaps to include aids to navigation, port state control, mariner licensing and documentation) isn't a good thing.

Amongst calls to make the Coast Guard "great," I can only think about Jim Collins' book From Good to Great. Among many ideas, Mr. Collins suggests (and I've simplified here) that excellent organizations are excellent, in part, because they focus on one thing, and they do that one thing very, very well.

The Coast Guard prides itself on being "multi-mission," which, if you accept Mr. Collins' research, means the Coast Guard will never be great.

Perhaps stripping away some functions would allow the Coast Guard to be more focused, and perhaps great... or at least greater.

Meanwhile, I ask only this: Can the relationship between an agency such as the Coast Guard, and elected officials, such as the Congressional Representative from Minnesota's 8th Congressional District, be one of mutual respect and admiration?

This has been another post not about the Coast Guard.

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