Tech plays key role prep Coast Guard for the future

Over the past nine months, the Coast Guard made concerted efforts to modernize its workforce -- and technology played a key role in making that happen.

Speaking at the Base Los Angeles/Long Beach in California, Commandant Adm. Karl Schultz gave an overview of the service’s mission, challenges and future goals. Among other themes and topics, he highlighted the personnel facilitating the Marine Transportation System, describing them as “integral to our nation’s prosperity.”

Tomorrow’s MTS will require highly trained Coast Guard inspectors, efficient mobile technology to support supply chains, and well-maintained waterways to transport goods to market, he said. To prepare for the future, the Coast Guard has equipped nearly 600 marine inspectors with tablets, a step Schultz called the first in speeding up the service’s workforce modernization.

Technological innovations also took center stage earlier this year when the service deployed the ScanEagle Unmanned Aerial System across various missions. Now the drone will be used even more, the commandant said.

“ScanEagle is truly a game-changer for our crews,” Schultz said, adding that technology will soon come to every flagships of the Coast Guard’s cutter fleet known as National Security Cutters.

“I’d like to accelerate the fielding of this technology, doubling the delivery of this key mission enabler from two to four systems per year,” he said. “At that rate, by the end of my tenure as Commandant, we will field full ScanEagle capability across our entire NSC fleet.”

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